Cumbria has been moved into Tier 4 coronavirus restrictions, the Government announced.
Restrictions came into force at midnight last night.
It was thought in the days leading up to Christmas that the county would be placed into Tier 4 from Boxing Day, but Mr Hancock did not mention Cumbria.
Around 40 per cent of England was previously in Tier 4, now three quarters of the population are in Tier 4.
However, as infection rates soar in lower tier areas and concerns deepen over the new variant that has emerged across the country, Mr Hancock announced more areas will be designated as Tier 4 to help supress the spread of the virus.
He said that the new variant has made suppressing the virus more difficult.
He began by paying tribute to the scientists who developed the second vaccine.
He said: “The approval of the vaccine this morning is a world first and another huge stride.”
But, he added: “We need to vaccinate as quickly as supply allows. We have 100 million doses on order.
“Everyone who wants a vaccine can have a vaccine.
“But we must act to suppress the virus now. We also have to take some difficult decisions. There are over 21,000 in hospital with coronavirus now.
“The new variant is spreading across the country.”
Yesterday, 53,135 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in the UK, the highest single day rise since mass testing begun.
Two new coronavirus deaths have been recorded at North Cumbria Integrated Care Trust in the latest 24-hour period, the latest official figures show.
NHS England figures show 262 people had died in hospital at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust as of 5pm yesterday.
That was an increase of two compared to Monday, when there were 260.
It means there have been 10 deaths in the past week, up from nine the previous week.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will address the nation in a press conference at 5pm and an announcement about schools is due in about an hour.
Cumbria’s director of public health Colin Cox, said: “The very latest data indicates that the number of new infections is increasing in all of our six districts, especially in Eden and Carlisle.
“The rate of spread as a result of the new strain is exceptionally quick and this is why decisive and immediate action is required.
“As a result of the spike in numbers hospitals across the country remain under intense pressure and it is simply not sustainable for numbers in hospital to remain at these levels so it’s vital that action is taken now to try and reduce the spread.
“The new restrictions will have an impact on some of the things we have been able to do under the Tier 2 level and I would encourage people to familiarise themselves with the latest guidance.
“Tier 4 is not dissimilar to the first lockdown where people must stay at home and only travel for work, education or other legally permitted reasons.
“I would also encourage people to remain vigilant and follow the rules.
“Keep doing the simple things that really do make a difference – maintain social distancing, wear face coverings and wash your hands.”
Plans are also in place for Cumbria to receive the new Oxford vaccine in the new year.
Decisions on tiers are made by Government ministers informed by the following factors:
- Case detection rate (in all age groups and, in particular, amongst the over 60s);
- How quickly case rates are rising or falling;
- Positivity in the general population;
- Pressure on the NHS – including current and projected (3-4 weeks out) NHS capacity – including admissions, general/acute/ICU bed occupancy, staff absences; and
- Local context and exceptional circumstances such as a local but contained outbreak.
If these indicators are not improving, an area may be moved up a tier and if the trajectory improves, the area may move to a lower tier.
What does Tier 4 mean?
Tier 4 means tighter restrictions for those living in the area.
It means you cannot leave or be outside the place you are living without a reasonable excuse.
Work and volunteering
You can leave home for work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home, including if your job involves working in other people’s homes.
You cannot meet other people indoors, unless you live with them or they are part of your supporrt bubble.
You can leave home to buy things at shops or obtain services from a business which is permitted to open in your Tier 4 area, but you should stay local.
For instance you can leave home to buy food or medicine, or to collect any items – including food or drink – ordered through click-and-collect or as a takeaway, to obtain or deposit money (eg from a bank or post office), or to access critical public services.
Fulfilling legal obligations
You may also leave home to fulfil legal obligations, or to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property, or where it is reasonably necessary for voting in an election or referendum.
Education and childcare
You can leave home for education related to the formal curriculum or training, registered childcare, under-18 sport and physical activity, and supervised activities for children that are necessary to allow parents/carers to work, seek work, or undertake education or training. Parents can still take their children to school, and people can continue existing arrangements for contact between parents and children where they live apart.
Meeting others and care
You can leave home to visit people in your support bubble, or to provide informal childcare for children aged 13 and under as part of a childcare bubble, to provide care for vulnerable people, to provide emergency assistance, attend a support group (of up to 15 people), or for respite care where that care is being provided to a vulnerable person or a person with a disability, or is a short break in respect of a looked after child.
Exercise and recreation
People can also exercise outdoors or visit some public outdoor places, such as parks, the countryside accessible to the public, public gardens or outdoor sports facilities. You can continue to do unlimited exercise alone, or in a public outdoor place with your household, support bubble, or with one other person if you maintain social distancing.
Medical reasons, harm and compassionate visits
You can leave home for a medical reason, including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies, to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse),or for animal welfare reasons – such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment.
You can also leave home to visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home (if permitted under care home guidance), hospice, or hospital, or to accompany them to a medical appointment.
If you are planning to visit, or accompany someone to, a care home, hospice, hospital or other healthcare setting, you should check that this is permitted by the facility.
Communal worship and life events
You can leave home to attend or visit:
- A place of worship for communal worship
- A funeral or event related to a death
- A burial ground or a remembrance garden
- A wedding ceremony
- Weddings, funerals and religious, belief-based or commemorative events linked to someone’s death are all subject to limits on the numbers that can attend.
Travelling within a Tier 4 area
If you live in a Tier 4 area, you must not leave your home unless you have a reasonable excuse (eg for work or education purposes).
If you need to travel you should stay local – meaning avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live – and look to reduce the number of journeys you make overall.
The list of reasons you can leave your home and area include, but are not limited to:
Work, where you cannot work from home
Accessing education and for caring responsibilities
Visiting those in your support bubble – or your childcare bubble for childcare
Visiting hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
Buying goods or services from premises that are open in Tier 4 areas, including essential retail, but these should be within your local area wherever possible
Outdoor recreation or exercise. This should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel a short distance within your Tier 4 area to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space)
Attending the care and exercise of an animal, or veterinary services.
If you need to travel, walk or cycle where possible, and plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practice social distancing while you travel.
Avoid car sharing with anyone from outside your household or your support bubble.
Travelling out of a Tier 4 area
You must stay at home and not leave your Tier 4 area, other than for legally permitted reasons such as:
Travel to work where you cannot work from home
Travel to education and for caring responsibilities
Visit or stay overnight with people in your support bubble, or your childcare bubble for childcare purposes
Attend hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
To provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm (such as domestic abuse)
Staying away from home overnight
You cannot leave your home or the place where you are living for holidays or overnight stays unless you have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed.
This includes staying in a second home or caravan, if that is not your primary residence. This also includes staying with anyone who you don’t live with unless they’re in your support bubble.
You are allowed to stay overnight away from your home if you:
- Are visiting your support bubble
- Are unable to return to your main residence
- Need accommodation while moving house
- Need accommodation to attend a funeral or related commemorative event
- Require accommodation for work purposes or to provide voluntary services
- Are a child requiring accommodation for school or care
- Are homeless, seeking asylum or a vulnerable person seeking refuge
- Are an elite athlete or their support staff or parent, if the athlete is under 18 and it is necessary to be outside of the home for training or competition
Businesses and venues which must close
- Non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods – these venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services
- Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and drink for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery
- Accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
- Leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and indoor gyms, indoor swimming pools, indoor sports courts, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor riding centres, and indoor climbing walls
- Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, zoos and other animal attractions, water parks and theme parks
- Indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open
- Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people’s homes
- Community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities, as set out below. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services – for example for people who do not have it at home – and for click-and-collect services
Some of these businesses and places will also be permitted to be open for a small number of exempt activities, including:
- education and training – for schools to use sports, leisure and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision
- childcare purposes and supervised activities for children
- hosting blood donation sessions and food banks
- to provide medical treatment
- for elite sports persons to train and compete (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), and professional dancers and choreographers to work (in fitness and dance studios)
- for training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls)
- for the purposes of film and TV filming
Businesses and venues which can remain open
- Essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
- market stalls selling essential retail may also stay open
- businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services
- petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses
- banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
- funeral directors
- laundrettes and dry cleaners
- medical and dental services
- vets and pet shops
- animal rescue centres, boarding facilities, and animal groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather than aesthetic purposes)
- agricultural supplies shops
- mobility and disability support shops
- storage and distribution facilities
- car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
- outdoor playgrounds
- outdoor gym, pools, sports courts and facilities
- golf courses
- archery/driving/shooting ranges (outdoors)
- outdoor riding centres
- places of worship
- crematoriums and burial grounds
Going to work
To help contain the virus, everyone who can work effectively from home should do so.
Where people cannot do so – including, but not limited to, people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction, or manufacturing – they should continue to travel to their workplace. This is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting sectors and employers.
Public sector employees working in essential services, including childcare or education, should continue to go into work.
Where it is necessary for you to work in other people’s homes – for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople – you can do so.
Otherwise, you should avoid meeting for work in a private home or garden, where COVID-19 Secure measures may not be in place.
There are several ways that parents and carers can continue to access childcare in Tier 4 areas:
- early years settings and childminders remain open, and you can continue to use these settings as normal
- you can access other childcare activities (including wraparound care) where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, seek work, attend education or training, a medical appointment or respite care
- nannies will be able to continue to provide services, including in the home
- parents are able to form a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under
- some households will also be able to benefit from being in a support bubble
Some youth services are able to continue, such as one-to-one youth work and support groups, but most youth clubs and groups will need to cease for this period.
Visiting relatives in care homes
Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed.
You should check the guidance on visiting care homes during COVID-19 to find out how visits should be conducted.
Sports and physical activity
Indoor gyms and sports facilities will close. Outdoor sports courts, outdoor gyms, golf courses, outdoor swimming pools, archery/driving/shooting ranges, riding centres and playgrounds can remain open for individual exercise, and for people to use with others within your household, support bubble, or with one person from another household.
Organised outdoor sport for under-18s and disabled people will be allowed.
You can still move home. People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.
Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work. If you are looking to move, you can go to property viewings.