- Boris Johnson announces details of the new three-tier system for local lockdowns in England.
- Areas in the most serious tier — ‘very high’ — will see pubs and bars closed, household mixing banned, and people advised not to travel outside of their areas.
- Pubs will be allowed to stay open if they can operate as restaurants.
- Household mixing will also be banned under the second tier known as ‘high.’
- Areas in the least serious tier — ‘medium’— will continue with national rules on social distancing, the rule of six, and the 10pm hospitality curfew.
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Households will be banned from mixing indoors and pubs and bars will be closed from Wednesday, in large parts of England, under a new system for local lockdowns announced by Boris Johnson.
The UK prime minister on Monday afternoon unveiled details of the new “local COVID alert levels,” under which areas of England will be put into one of three categories depending on their rates of coronavirus infections and hospitalizations.
Johnson said that he took “no pleasure” in announcing the restrictions, but insisted that “we must act to save lives.”
The tiers will be “medium,” “high,” and “very high,” he told Members of Parliament.
Areas in the “very high” tier will have the strictest rules imposed on them.
Household mixing will be banned and people will be advised not to travel outside of their area unless for essentials like work or for health reasons. Pubs and bars will be closed — although pubs that can operate as restaurants will be allowed to stay open as long as they only serve alcohol with meals.
“In these areas the Government will set a baseline of prohibiting social mixing indoors and in private gardens and, I’m sorry to say, closing pubs and bars,” Johnson told MPs.
Schools, universities, and retail outlets will remain open, however.
Areas in the “high” tier will see a ban on household mixing while those in “medium” will be asked to follow no more than the current national rules of regular hand washing, the wearing of face masks, and rule of six, and 10pm curfew on hospitality settings. Areas already under local restrictions will automatically go into the “high” level.
The restrictions will be a baseline with local authorities allowed to impose further restrictions themselves if necessary.
The UK government is expected to reveal a full list of areas and the tiers they will be put into later on Monday.
The prime minister will set out the new system to the public in a televised press conference this evening where he will appear alongside his scientific advisors and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Johnson’s opponents accused him of losing control of the pandemic.
“I am now deeply sceptical whether the government has got a plan to gain control of this virus,” Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said.
“We tried to give the prime minister the benefit of the doubt, but it increasingly feels like the Prime Minister is several steps behind the curve and running to catch up with the virus that he has lost control of long ago.”
Andy Street, the Conservative mayor for the West Midlands, said he was “disappointed” by the UK government’s decision to put the region in the “high” tier and urged it to “review this decision as soon as possible.” He said the region’s “main problem” was transmission of the virus in households and that closing hospitality businesses “will not solve” it.