Christmas coronavirus gathering rules change in Southampton

SOUTHAMPTON will remain in tier 2 restrictions but other areas of the county will be placed into tier 4, Hampshire County Council has confirmed.

Boris Johnson’s u-turn last night put millions of Christmas plans into chaos with new restrictions brought into areas of the county including Portsmouth, Havant and Gosport.

But while Southampton remains in Tier 2, the rules around gathering at Christmas have still changed.

Three households will be allowed to mix, but only on Christmas day, and these gatherings must not involve people from a Tier 4 area.

The Prime Minister announced that from Sunday areas in the South East currently in Tier 3 will be moved into a new Tier 4 – effectively returning to the lockdown rules of November.

Non-essential shops, gyms, cinemas, hairdressers and bowling alleys will be forced to close for two weeks – while people will be restricted to meeting one other person from another household in an outdoor public space.

Sir Keir Starmer has said Labour supports the latest coronavirus restrictions but he accused Boris Johnson of “gross negligence” in failing to act earlier.

“Yet again, the Prime Minister waited until the 11th hour to take this decision,” the Labour leader told an online press conference.

“It was blatantly obvious last week that the Prime Minister’s plan for a free-for-all over Christmas was a risk too far.

“And yet, rather listening to concerns and taking them seriously, the Prime Minister did what he always does: dismissed the challenge, ruffled his hair and made a flippant comment.

“We have known about rising infections and the NHS reaching capacity in many parts of the country for weeks.”

Extra police officers are to be deployed in London to enforce travel rules and stop people going in and out of the city without permission, and the public is being urged to adhere to Government guidance.

Keith Mans, leader of Hampshire County Council and chair of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board, said: “Central Government has confirmed that the local authority areas of Havant Borough and Gosport Borough will come under COVID-19 Tier 4 restrictions from tomorrow.

“This new Tier will be broadly the same as the national restrictions in place in November. The rest of the Hampshire County Council local authority area will remain in Tier 2 (High).

“As well as outlining these new tighter restrictions, the Prime Minister also announced changes to previous plans for the festive period. People now living in Tier 4 areas should not mix with anyone outside their own household at Christmas, although support bubbles will remain in place for those at particular risk of loneliness or isolation.

“While the announcement just days before Christmas may understandably come as a disappointment to many, it’s crucial that we all take the necessary steps to protect the public’s health – particularly those who are elderly or clinically extremely vulnerable. It’s the right thing to do.

Daily Echo | News