Europe

England's Lockdown to end on December 2 with tougher tier 3 system put in place

England will go back into a three-tier system of restrictions when lockdown ends on December 2, but with stricter rules in place.

Downing Street said that while some measures will be the same as those in the previous system, some tiers will be strengthened to safeguard the gains made during the four-week shutdown.

Boris Johnson is expected to lay out his plan for winter, which includes details on how families can see their loved ones at Christmas, to MPs on Monday.

The Prime Minister is expected to say that he knows the measures are difficult but will make clear they are not to last longer than is absolutely necessary and will take into account the need to support the economy.

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Ahead of his announcement, No 10 confirmed that more areas are expected to be placed in the higher tiers to ensure further restrictions are not needed in the new year.

It is not clear how different the revised three-tier system will.

According to the Mail on Sunday the PM intends to extend opening hours of pubs and restaurants until 11pm on December 2. While last orders will still be called at 10pm, people will get an extra hour to finish drinks and meals.

The previous 10pm curfew was widely criticised after images regularly showed streets and stations packed with crowds making their way home at the same time.

Sources told the Mail that No 10 is determined to show it can both listen to its backbenchers and learn lessons when measures are unsuccessful. 

The Cabinet is expected to discuss and sign off the plan on Sunday before Mr Johnson announces it to Parliament the following day.

The plan will set out how people will be able to spend their Christmas amid warnings from scientists that easing the rules for too long could result in another lockdown and people ‘burying their loved ones’ in the new year.

Ministers have made clear that the festive season will be different to normal, with some restrictions expected to remain in place.

However they have hinted that households could be allowed to mix for a number of days between Christmas and the New year.

Earlier, a report in The Telegraph suggested families could mix indoors from December 22 to December 28, but the country may have to live under tough restrictions both before and after the festive period to make this possible. 

The Government will set out what tier each area will be placed into on Thursday, with MPs being given the promised vote to approve the tiering system before it comes into force.

It is understood that the new framework will run until the spring, while work continues on approving and rolling-out vaccines for Covid.

A No 10 spokeswoman said: ‘Everyone’s efforts during the current national restrictions have helped bring the virus back under control, slowed its spread and eased pressures on the NHS.

‘But the Prime Minister and his scientific advisors are clear the virus is still present – and without regional restrictions it could quickly run out of control again before vaccines and mass testing have had an effect.

‘That would put in jeopardy the progress the country has made, and once again risk intolerable pressure on the NHS.’

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