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Cambridgeshire will be in Tier 2 from December 2, as Boris Johnson brings England out of national lockdown

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Cambridgeshire has escaped the toughest post-lockdown restrictions from next week, and will be in Tier 2.

The government has announced what areas are going into each tier from December 2 - but its website crashed as people rushed to find out.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock spoke in the House of Commons about what life would look like across the country as a result.

Covid Tier 2 restrictions
Covid Tier 2 restrictions

What does it mean for Cambridgeshire?

Under the Tier 2 rules, non-essential shops and gyms will be able to reopen and outdoor sports will be able to return from December 2.

Exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with those they do not live with or share a support bubble with.

Hairdressers and personal care services will be allowed to reopen, alongside entertainment venues such as cinemas, theatres and bingo halls.

Restaurants will be able to reopen, but pubs and bars not offering a substantial meal with have to remain closed.

Hospitality businesses will be allowed to remain open until 11pm, but must take last orders at 10pm.

Collective worship and weddings will also be able to continue and will be subject to social distancing.

Spectators will be allowed to attend some sporting events across England, and large outdoor events will be limited to 50 per cent capacity.

Public health warning

Dr Liz Robin, director of public health for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: “As we now know we will be moving into Ttier 2 restrictions from December 2, it is vitally important that we now work as hard as we can to reduce our rate of infection to protect those we love ahead of some limited relaxation over Christmas. This means reducing contact with anyone you don’t live with, working from home wherever possible, keeping to well ventilated rooms, washing your hands often and regularly and wearing a mask whenever you are in indoor public places.

“Our infection rates are stabilising or coming down across most areas, so we do know how to respond to this pandemic. We have good plans in place to continue to drive down our infection rates, working with our communities and supporting people to take the right steps to protect themselves and others.”

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor James Palmer said he accepted the Tier 2 restrictions, but added: “I understand the frustration and disappointment of so many households and businesses who have worked tirelessly to follow the government guidelines and go above and beyond to keep families and customers safe.

“The Combined Authority and Business Board will continue to support business via our Growth Hub and for those businesses concerned about the impact of tier two restrictions please do email hello@cpcagrowthhub.co.uk for the support of a dedicated advisor.

“As we think ahead to Christmas, it is vital that we listen to the advice of Liz Robins, director of public health for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and reduce contact with anyone you don’t live with, work from home wherever possible, keep to well ventilated rooms, wash hands regularly and wear a mask wherever possible when you are in indoor public places.”

MP says pubs and restaurants are ‘desperately worried’

Responding to the news of Cambridgeshire being placed in Tier 2, Cambridge’s Labour MP Daniel Zeichner said: “The threat from the virus remains very real and it will be important that everyone in the city takes care to protect one another. Now we know the additional restrictions to protect public health, it is important that the government provides an appropriate package alongside to provide economic support. I know there are many Cambridge pubs, bars and restaurants who are desperately worried as we enter the crucial Christmas period.

“Once again, this incompetent government managed to mess up the announcement. Unsurprisingly a lot of people wanted to know which tier they were in – and of course the government hadn’t thought about that – so the website crashed. Typical, and hopeless.”

What does each tier mean?

The tier system in full
The tier system in full

Indoor events will have a maximum limit of 1,000 people or half the usual capacity, whichever is lower.

Educational settings such as universities, colleges and schools will remain open across England regardless of the local tier status.

The Rule of Six will return for tier one and two areas, meaning you will be able to meet both inside and outside households with people in your bubble.

The government are also allowing support bubbles to be expanded - if you are the only adult in your household you can form a support bubble with another household.

You will also be able to form a support bubble if you have a child under one or a child under five with a disability that needs continuous care.

Public buildings, such as libraries, community centres and halls will remain open across all three tiers, as well as allotments, recycling and waste centres, public toilets and car parks.

The government have described Tier 2 as a ‘high alert’. It is reserved for areas ‘with a higher or rapidly rising level of infections, where some additional restrictions need to be in place’.

What areas are in each tier?

Tier 1: Medium alert

South East

  • Isle of Wight
  • South West
  • Cornwall
  • Isles of Scilly

Tier 2: High alert

North West

  • Cumbria
  • Liverpool City Region
  • Warrington and Cheshire


  • York
  • North Yorkshire

West Midlands

  • Worcestershire
  • Herefordshire
  • Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin

East Midlands

  • Rutland
  • Northamptonshire

East of England

  • Cambridgeshire, including Peterborough
  • Suffolk
  • Hertfordshire
  • Norfolk
  • Essex
  • Thurrock and Southend on Sea
  • Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes


  • All 32 boroughs plus the City of London

South East

  • East Sussex
  • West Sussex
  • Brighton and Hove
  • Surrey
  • Reading
  • Wokingham
  • Bracknell Forest
  • Windsor and Maidenhead
  • West Berkshire
  • Hampshire (except the Isle of Wight)
  • Portsmouth and Southampton
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Oxfordshire

South West

  • South Somerset
  • Somerset West and Taunton
  • Mendip and Sedgemoor
  • Bath and North East Somerset
  • Dorset
  • Bournemouth
  • Christchurch
  • Poole
  • Gloucestershire
  • Wiltshire and Swindon
  • Devon

Tier 3: Very High alert

North East

Tees Valley Combined Authority:

  • Hartlepool
  • Middlesbrough
  • Stockton-on-Tees
  • Redcar and Cleveland
  • Darlington

North East Combined Authority:

  • Sunderland
  • South Tyneside
  • Gateshead
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • North Tyneside
  • County Durham
  • Northumberland

North West

  • Greater Manchester
  • Lancashire
  • Blackpool
  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Yorkshire and The Humber
  • The Humber
  • West Yorkshire
  • South Yorkshire

West Midlands

  • Birmingham and Black Country
  • Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
  • Warwickshire
  • Coventry and Solihull

East Midlands

  • Derby and Derbyshire
  • Nottingham and Nottinghamshire
  • Leicester and Leicestershire
  • Lincolnshire

South East

  • Slough (remainder of Berkshire is tier 2: High alert)
  • Kent and Medway
  • South West
  • Bristol
  • South Gloucestershire
  • North Somerset

CBI says mass testing can work

Richard Tunnicliffe, CBI regional director of East of England, said: “For many businesses in the East of England going into toughened tiers while waiting for a vaccine will feel like suspended animation.

“Some parts of the economy, such as retail, can begin to re-open and look towards a recovery. It gives our high streets a chance to rescue some of the vital festive trading period.

“But for other businesses the ongoing restrictions in tiers 2 and 3 will leave their survival hanging by a thread. Hospitality will remain frozen. And supply chains that cross regions in different tiers will be hit even if they don’t face direct restrictions.

“It’s vital that these firms receive the financial support they need to make it through to the Spring. Clarity about ongoing employment support, including the Job Retention Bonus, will help protect as many jobs as possible. Businesses need to know what support will be there through to March and beyond in advance, rather than taking it down to the wire.

“Lessons must be learned from previous local lockdowns. Boundary lines between different tiers need to work on the ground. Trigger points for exiting the higher tiers must be transparent.

“Those decisions will need to be clearly communicated each fortnight and taken collaboratively between local, regional and national leaders. Most importantly, evidence must be open and transparent – the cost to jobs is only justifiable if it has a material impact on health.

“Liverpool’s shift to tier 2 is clear evidence that mass testing can make a real difference on the ground.

“So there is encouraging news on mass rapid testing and vaccines, and it’s vital to protect jobs and businesses with an end in sight.”

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