More English regions enter Tier 4, non-essential stores must close
Thousands more non-essential retailers in South and East England will be forced to close from Boxing Day (26 December) as coronavirus cases continue to escalate.
Tighter Tier 4 restrictions will be imposed in eight more areas in England, health secretary Matt Hancock announced late Wednesday.
For non-essential retailers in those additional areas it now means the final shopping day this year will be restricted to Thursday (Christmas Eve).
From 00.01 Saturday, regions including Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, most of Sussex and parts of Hampshire and Essex will join London and the South East in moving into the highest restricted areas, which all include a 'stay at home' order. London and many South Eastern non-essential retailers were forced to close from last Sunday.
But if cases continue to spread, other areas in England currently in Tiers 1, 2 and 3 will also be forced to adopt the highest restrictions and there's widespread speculation of country-wide lockdown within weeks.
The wider restrictions come as a major blow for a retail industry already reeling in a year of several lockdowns and public reluctance to shop in physical stores.
Tier 4 restrictions will be in place for an initial two-week period before a review but are likely to be in place for much longer, certainly if Covid-19 cases continue to rise, which they look like doing for the foreseeable future as the virus mutates and becomes easier to pass on.
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