Almost all of England will be under Tier 3 and 4 restrictions from tomorrow morning, health secretary Matt Hancock announced this afternoon following the latest review.
Remaining areas in the south-east and large parts of the Midlands, north-west, north-east and south-west, including Nottingham, Birmingham, Lancashire, Cumbria and Greater Manchester, will enter the highest level of restrictions from one minute past midnight. Areas including Liverpool, Devon, Cornwall and North Yorkshire will move up to Tier 3.
Hancock said he understood that restrictions would place a "significant burden" especially on businesses, however the expansion of restrictions was "absolutely necessary because of the number of cases that we've seen".
He said the new strain of coronavirus, which is understood to be more infectious, is spreading across most of England and "cases are doubling fast", meaning suppressing the virus has "got a whole lot harder" and "difficult decisions" have to be made. Although, he added that the rollout of the vaccine in January will give the country a "route out of the pandemic".
Hospitality businesses must close under Tiers 3 and 4 apart from takeaway and delivery services.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "From tonight, nearly all of England will be in Tiers 3 or 4, with hospitality returned to the conditions at the end of March – effectively shut down. We have consistently pleaded for the government to reassure hospitality businesses and allow them to plan for survival, by announcing an extension to the 5% VAT rate and to the business rates holiday, and to urgently detail new support grants. Without these steps, businesses cannot plan for any future at all, meaning hundreds of thousands of job losses.
"With the vast majority of the country's hospitality now unable to trade, we cannot deliver this message to government loudly enough. The sector has suffered more than any other under Covid and without urgent action we will witness a hospitality bloodbath, losing thousands of venues for good."