Prime minister Boris Johnson this afternoon announced a new three-tier lockdown system that will see some hospitality businesses in the North-West forced to close from Wednesday.
Under the new system, different rules for regions will be classified as being on ‘medium’, ‘high’ or ‘very high’ alert depending on the rate of Covid-19 infection in individual areas.
The majority of the UK population will be placed on the medium tier, where restrictions will remain at the current levels, including stipulations such as the rule of six and the 10pm curfew.
However, in regions moved to the ‘very high’ level, residents will be required to not mix households, and all hospitality businesses will be forced to close. Retail businesses will be exempt from the restrictions.
The Liverpool City region, home to 1.5m people, faces the tightest restrictions with pubs and gyms closing, and further measures on household mixing being introduced on Wednesday.
In his statement to the House of Commons, the PM said: “We must act to save lives, to not would be unforgivable.”
Johnson confirmed that the restrictions will be reviewed after one month, and if cases have reduced, then businesses may be able to resume trading. He also promised to offer further financial support to businesses forced to close under these new circumstances.
It follows an announcement made earlier today by deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, who said the infection rate is “heating up across the country”.
Last Friday Scotland also implemented new measures to curb the spread of the virus by closing pubs and restaurants.
Johnson will again address the nation with reference to the new measures at a Downing Street conference at 7pm.