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Wed 23rd Dec 2020 - Pubs and restaurants to shut across swathes of south as government imposes new restrictions
Pubs and restaurants to shut across swathes of south as government imposes new restrictions: Pubs and restaurants are to shut across swathes of the south of the country after the government moved more of England into the highest level of restrictions. From Boxing Day, Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, those parts in Essex not already in tier four, Waverley in Surrey, and Hampshire – including Portsmouth and Southampton but with the exception of the New Forest – will be escalated to tier four. These areas had been under tier two restrictions, which allowed pubs and restaurants to open for dine-in. However, the new restrictions mean they will now have to shut. Meanwhile, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset – including the North Somerset area – Swindon, the Isle of Wight, the New Forest and Northamptonshire, as well as Cheshire and Warrington, will be escalated to tier three. It means hospitality venues in these areas will also have to close. Cornwall and Herefordshire will be escalated to tier two. Health secretary Matt Hancock said cases have risen by 75% over the past week and hospital admissions are at 1,909 a day – the highest figure since mid-April. He said: “Just as we have got a tiered system in place, we have discovered a new more contagious virus, a variant which is spreading at a dangerous rate. Tier three is not enough to control the new variant. I know how hard 2020 has been for everybody. We mustn't give up now – we must suppress the virus until a vaccine can make us safe. There are brighter skies ahead.” Hancock also said two cases of a new, “more transmissible” covid-19 variant linked to South Africa have been identified in the UK. Prime minister Boris Johnson announced the creation of tier four on Saturday – the toughest level of regional restrictions intended to clamp down on covid-19 hotspots.

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