The government has revealed today which areas will be moved into different tiers at the end of the national lockdown on 2 December. And as expected, Boris Johnson has decided to take a hard-line approach to the new restrictions, before the regulations are relaxed over the Christmas period.
Only three areas in England have been kept in the lowest Tier 1, two of which are not on the mainland. Only the Isle of Wight, the Isles of Scilly and Cornwall have been spared tighter restrictions.
The vast majority of the country will be kept in Tier 2 at the beginning of December, which means that mixing between household bubbles will be banned indoors, and hospitality venues that do not serve a ‘substantial meal’ will be closed.
In the end, all areas in London will also be kept in Tier 2. Prior to the announcement some Tory MPs had been trying to make the case that London should be dealt with on a borough-by-borough basis, as infection levels are substantially lower in some areas. Boris Johnson, however, argued this week that the capital’s dense mass-transit system meant that transmission could not be prevented between different areas of the city.
One of the few areas to escape relatively lightly from the latest restrictions is the Liverpool City Region, which will be moved into Tier 2. Prior to the national lockdown, the city had faced some of the highest levels of infections in the country, and the harshest restrictions. The government have made the case that Liverpool’s willingness to enter into Tier 3, combined with the ‘moonshot’ mass testing programme, have driven infection rates down in the area. As this graph shows though, case numbers have been dropping rapidly in Liverpool since the beginning of October:
In contrast, the Greater Manchester region has been dealt a tougher hand by the government. The entire city region will be kept in Tier 3 for the foreseeable future. Additional restrictions have been in place in Greater Manchester since July.
Matt Hancock had suggested this week that Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham’s negotiations with the government about adopting tougher restrictions in October had been bad for public health, implying this was why the area would have to be kept in Tier 3 now. Cases have been dropping in Manchester since the Tier 3 restrictions were put in place. This is why Number 10 decided when introducing the new tiers to no longer negotiate with local areas over the level of restrictions.
Overall, the vast majority of the areas in Tier 3 are once again in the North and Midlands, with only five areas in the South facing the toughest restrictions. This may well reflect the spread of the virus across the country, but it deals a bitter blow to Boris Johnson’s attempts to level up the ‘Red Wall’. Once again it is exactly the same voters the PM is trying to win over before the next election, who will face the toughest economic sanctions in the country.
The full list of Tiers is here:
Tier 1: Medium alert
- Isle of Wight
- Isles of Scilly
Tier 2: High alert
- Liverpool City Region
- Warrington and Cheshire
- North Yorkshire
- Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin
East of England
- Cambridgeshire, including Peterborough
- Essex, Thurrock and Southend on Sea
- Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes
- all 32 boroughs plus the City of London
- East Sussex
- West Sussex
- Brighton and Hove
- Bracknell Forest
- Windsor and Maidenhead
- West Berkshire
- Hampshire (except the Isle of Wight), Portsmouth and Southampton
- South Somerset, Somerset West and Taunton, Mendip and Sedgemoor
- Bath and North East Somerset
- Wiltshire and Swindon
Tier 3: Very High alert
- Tees Valley Combined Authority:
- Redcar and Cleveland
- North East Combined Authority:
- South Tyneside
- Newcastle upon Tyne
- North Tyneside
- County Durham
- Greater Manchester
- Blackburn with Darwen
Yorkshire and The Humber
- The Humber
- West Yorkshire
- South Yorkshire
- Birmingham and Black Country
- Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
- Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull
- Derby and Derbyshire
- Nottingham and Nottinghamshire
- Leicester and Leicestershire
- Slough (remainder of Berkshire is tier 2: High alert)
- Kent and Medway
- South Gloucestershire
- North Somerset