Greater Manchester has remained in Tier 3, with just two areas moving down a tier.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the decision on Thursday 17th December, as part of his address regarding the COVID-19 situation in the UK.
The announcement dashed hopes that Greater Manchester would be moved to Tier 2 after infection rates decreased to levels lower than many other parts of the country.
Hancock also announced that Bristol and North Somerset would move into Tier 2 and Herefordshire to Tier 1 at 00:01 on Saturday, 19th of December.
Tier 4 was introduced on Sunday, 20th December in response to rising infections in London, the South East of England and East of England.
This is believed to be largely due to a mutant strain of COVID-19 which scientists say could be 70% more transmissible.
Those three areas were placed into Tier 4, just days after London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire were elevated to Tier 3.
Several parts of the south of England that entered Tier 3 at 00:01 on Saturday, 19th of December joined Tier 4 the next day.
The areas that have entered the highest level of restrictions are:
Surrey (excluding Waverley)
The boroughs of Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings
All 32 London boroughs and the city of London
Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough
Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring)
What are the Tier 3 rules?
In Tier 3, household mixing is not permitted in homes or private gardens and hospitality is closed except for takeaway and delivery. The rule of six applies in outdoor public spaces and indoor entertainment venues are closed. There is also guidance against travelling in and out of any Tier 3 areas.
What are the Tier 4 rules?
In Tier 4, hospitality is closed except for takeaway and delivery. Non-essential retail, gyms, indoor entertainment and hairdressers are closed. Exercise is allowed but individuals cannot do so with multiple households. Travelling in and out of Tier 4 areas is discouraged and people are advised to stay at home.
What are the rules for Christmas?
Up to three households can mix indoors only on Christmas Day, a dramatic change from the previous five-day relaxation of rules. However, residents of Tier 4 areas can only celebrate Christmas with their households or support bubbles and cannot mix with individuals outside of these groups.
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