London, Essex & Hertfordshire to enter tier 3 on Wednesday

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matt hancock
Matt Hancock

London, Essex & Hertfordshire to enter tier 3 on Wednesday

London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire go into Covid Tier 3 from Wednesday morning after data showed infection rates increasing exponentially.

Tier three restrictions could turn central London into a “ghost town”. Londoners will only be able to meet outdoors. Pubs and restaurants must close except for takeaway services.

The cultural sector has faced unprecedented challenges due to the previous lockdown. Tighter restrictions could leave parts of the industry even further in danger.

Socially distanced performances to smaller audiences had been allowed in London since the last national lockdown ended. Yet, the Society of London Theatre / UK Theatre said the move would cause “catastrophic financial difficulties” for venues, producers and thousands of workers.

matt hancock
Matt Hancock

London, Essex & Hertfordshire to enter tier 3 on Wednesday

Businesses in London, Essex and Hertfordshire understand that rising infection rates must be controlled, and tougher restrictions are necessary to save lives and protect against longer-term economic scarring.

However, the financial impact of moving into tier 3 will be stark. Businesses – particularly those in sectors like retail and hospitality – will have been counting on a festive fillip to help mitigate months of hardship, and further restrictions now will come as a devastating blow. Thousands of jobs and livelihoods could be at risk.

It’s vital that any tightening of measures anywhere across England is shaped by clear evidence, consistently applied, and accompanied by increased support for businesses in the worst-hit sectors.

If there is one thing we need now, is to come together and support those who need it most. Vaccinations are now underway and offer tangible reasons for optimism in 2021 – the government must do everything possible to help businesses survive until risks recede and trade returns.