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Greater London and most of Essex moving into Tier 3 COVID-19 restrictions

The restrictions come in from 12.01am on Wednesday

The whole of Greater London and most parts of Essex are moving into Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions from Wednesday, following a rise in cases of COVID-19.

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, made the announcement in parliament today.

The restrictions will be in place from 12.01am on Wednesday, 16 December. 

But the government has said restrictions will still be relaxed over Christmas, despite the increase in infections. 

Among the area being moved to Tier Three are all 32 London Boroughs, including Havering, Redbridge, and Barking and Dagenham, the City of London, and Thurrock, Brentwood, Basildon, and Epping Forest in Essex.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “This is incredibly disappointing for our businesses who have suffered so much already this year. But it’s clear that the virus is accelerating in the wrong direction once again across London and the lives of Londoners are at risk. It would be such a tragedy to lose even more people to this disease when the vaccine is now being rolled out across our city.

“We know from bitter experience that when cases start to rise quickly, it’s much better to act early, rather than too late. This is how we can avoid even tougher restrictions, for longer, further down the road.

“The worst thing for London’s businesses and our economy would be yet another full lockdown in the new year. That’s why I urge Londoners to follow the Tier 3 rules that the Government is putting in place very closely so that we can drive down infection rates as much as possible.”

Denise Rossiter, the Chief Executive of Essex Chambers of Commerce, said: “It is very disappointing that the Government has had to make this announcement as we know that businesses across the county have been working hard to adhere to the Government’s regulations and do their bit to ensure the safety of staff and customers alike.

“We know that this will hit some businesses particularly hard and we would once again urge everyone in the county to continue to do their bit to help contain this disease by keeping at a safe distance, using face masks and washing their hands regularly. We have Christmas coming up and we want to see everyone keep as safe as possible so we can get back to normal sooner rather than later.”

The leader of Thurrock Council, Cllr Rob Gledhill, said it was “most disappointing” that he had not been consulted by the government over the decision to move the borough into Tier 3.

“This is not the decision any of us were hoping for,” he said. “But the increasing rate of community transmission across the south east has led to some of the highest positive test rates in the country, which has meant the government has taken the decision to place Thurrock, as well as most of Essex and all of London, into Tier 3 restrictions.

“This was not the most desirable outcome to say the least and it will be a big blow to many including to our hospitality sector and the supply chain. I will be working with partners in our local area to move out of tier 3 as quickly as possible.

“We must now all play our part at all times and do everything we can to drive the rate of infection back down again as we have done before. The actions we must take are to follow hands, face, space advice, stay alert for symptoms and be ready to self-isolate if we feel any of them or are told to by NHS Test and Trace. By following these simple rules and acting responsibly, we can reduce the risk to ourselves and to others and halt the spread of the virus.”

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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