Today (26 November) the Government will announce which areas of England will fall under the revised three-tier system that will replace the current national lockdown when it ends on 2 December.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice made by people up and down the country, we are able to move out of national lockdown and into more targeted local, tiered restrictions."
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Mr Hancock will make the announcement in Parliament, after the Government set out its Covid-19 “winter plan” earlier this week.
Each area of England will be placed into one of three tiers – the system is similar to the one in place ahead of the lockdown that was imposed in early November, though the restrictions under each band have been toughened from the previous regime.
Here is everything you need to know.
Which areas will get the toughest restrictions?
Reports ahead of the announcement suggest there will be very few areas in England placed into Tier 1, the most lenient of the three bands of restrictions.
The Times reported that parts of eastern England and remote areas in Cornwall and Cumbria are expected to be allocated the lightest measures, while London is expected to go in Tier 2 along with the majority of the country.
The Government will decide which tier each region is placed in based on the number of cases in each area, particularly in people aged over 60.
How quickly case rates are rising or falling will also be taken into account, as will local pressure on the NHS, including current and projected capacity.
The final decisions will be made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Covid Operations Committee, the Government said.
Earlier this week, Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M) which advises the Government, said he expected a lot of areas of England to emerge from lockdown into the highest tier.
He told BBC Breakfast: “We have fairly good evidence from [the previous] Tier 3 that it was probably sufficient to take the R number below 1, the lower tiers it seemed that that wasn’t the case and so I would expect that probably initially quite a lot of regions may find themselves in Tier 3.”
What happens if I am in Tier 3?
Mr Hancock said: “I know for those of you faced with Tier 3 restrictions this will be a particularly difficult time but I want to reassure you that we’ll be supporting your areas with mass community testing and extra funding.
Areas placed in Tier 3 will be offered support from NHS Test and Trace and the Armed Forces to deliver a six-week rapid community testing programme, making use of rapid lateral flow tests which give results within an hour.
Matt Hancock is expected to announce the tier locations in a Commons statement at around 11.30am, and his announcement will be delivered alongside a written ministerial statement (Photo: Trevor Adams - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
How will the announcement affect Christmas?
The reimposition of the tier system comes as scientists warned easing coronavirus restrictions over Christmas could lead to a third wave of the pandemic and another lockdown.
The Prime Minister has urged the public to “think carefully” over the festive period after it was confirmed that three households will be able to form a Christmas “bubble” from December 23 to 27.
The first review of the tier allocations is due to take place by 16 December, and areas which make progress in slowing the spread of the virus could be moved down a tier before Christmas.
What time is the Government’s announcement?
The full announcement is expected later today, and Mr Hancock is expected to announce the tier locations in a Commons statement at around 11.30am.
His announcement will be delivered alongside a written ministerial statement, in which he will announce the tiers into which local authorities in England will be placed until mid-December.
It is also understood that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold a press conference setting out the allocations this afternoon.
What are the new Tier 1, 2 and 3 measures?
Across all tiers:
People can leave their homes for any purpose and can socialise in outdoor places, subject to the rule of sixCollective worship and weddings can resumeShops and wider leisure facilities including gyms can reopen
New Tier 1 measures:
People should work from home wherever possibleLast orders at hospitality venues at 10pm, with curfew extended to 11pm
New Tier 2 measures:
Alcohol can only be served at hospitality venues as part of a substantial mealLast orders at hospitality venues at 10pm, with curfew extended to 11pm
New Tier 3 measures:
Bars, restaurants and all hospitality venues will remain closed, except for takeaway and deliveryIndoor entertainment and hotels will remain closed
A version of this article originally appeared on our sister title, the Yorkshire Evening Post