The Prime Minister today revealed the new toughed three-tier system that will be introduced on December 3 when the current lockdown ends.
Speaking in the Commons, the PM explained each area will be placed into tiers 1, 2, or 3 with the level reviewed every fortnight.
He said: “So we’re not going to replace national measures with a free for all, the status quo anti-Covid, we’re going to go back instead to a regional tiered approach – applying the toughest measures where Covid is most prevalent.
“And while the previous local tiers did cut the ‘R’ number, they were not quite enough to reduce it below one.
“So the scientific advice, I’m afraid, is that as we come out our tiers need to be made tougher.
“I’m sorry to say we expect that more regions will fall at least temporarily into higher levels than before but by using these tougher tiers and by using rapid turnaround tests on an ever greater scale to drive R below one and keep it there, it should be possible for areas to move down the (tier) scale to lower levels of restrictions.”
In tier 2, pubs and restaurants can only serve alcohol alongside “substantial” meals, while only delivery and takeaways will be allowed in tier 3.
The 10pm strict curfew for pubs and restaurants will also be scrapped, with last orders cut off at the same time, but venues allowed to stay open til 11pm.Mr Johnson explained the new rules would give the public back some freedoms, but be much tougher than some measures seen in the past.He said: “From next Wednesday people will be able to leave their home for any purpose and meet others in outdoor public spaces, subject to the rule of six, collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume, and shops, personal care, gyms and the wider leisure sector can reopen.
“But without sensible precautions, we would risk the virus escalating into a winter or New Year surge.
“The incidents of the disease is, alas, still widespread in many areas.”
The PM claimed vaccine breakthroughs showed the “scientific cavalry is in sight”, but warned “the hard truth is we’re not there yet.”
He said: “We know in our hearts that next year we will succeed.
“By the spring these advances should reduce the need for the restrictions we have endured in 2020 and make the whole concept of a Covid lockdown redundant.”
These measures are not expected to apply over the Christmas period, with rules likely to be relaxed.
Mr Johnson explained: “I can’t say that Christmas will be normal this year, but in a period of adversity time spent with loved ones is even more precious for people of all faiths and none.
“We all want some kind of Christmas, we need it, we certainly feel we deserve it. But what we don’t want is to throw caution to the winds and allow the virus to flare up again, forcing us all back into lockdown in January.
“So to allow families to come together, while minimising the risk, we’re working with the devolved administrations on a special time-limited Christmas dispensation, embracing the whole of the United Kingdom.”