Parts of the district to enter Tier Three coronavirus restrictions

Coronavirus in Essex. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Coronavirus in Essex. Picture: GETTY IMAGES - Credit: Archant

Parts of district to enter Tier Three coronavirus restrictions

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that parts of the district will go into Tier Three coronavirus restrictions from 00.01 on Wednesday.

In a House of Commons statement he told MPs that Braintree district, as well as Basildon, Brentwood, Harlow, Epping Forest, Castle Point, Rochford, Maldon, Chelmsford, Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea, London, and parts of Hertfordshire will move from Tier Two into the higher bracket.

Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring will remain in Tier Two for the time-being but will be reviewed on Wednesday (December 16).

Mr Hancock said there has been very large exponential growth in the virus in Essex, as well as London and Kent, and that it is not just spreading in younger people, but in all age groups including the over 60s.

He also told MPs that a new variant of the virus has been identified which could be growing faster than existing variants, with 1,000 cases already identified, mainly in the south of England.

Denise Rossiter, chief executive of Essex Chambers of Commerce, said: “It is very disappointing that the Government has had to make this announcement as we know that businesses across the county have been working hard to adhere to the Government’s regulations and do their bit to ensure the safety of staff and customers alike.

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“We know that this will hit some businesses particularly hard and we would once again urge everyone in the county to continue to do their bit to help contain this disease by keeping at a safe distance, using face masks and washing their hands regularly.

“We have Christmas coming up and we want to see everyone keep as safe as possible so we can get back to normal sooner rather than later.”

Leader of Essex County Council, Cllr David Finch said: “I am of course very disappointed with this news.

“We have worked tirelessly to reduce the spread of infection in our county, but unfortunately the numbers continue to go in the wrong direction, especially in those areas that the government have decided should move to Tier 3.

“We know that for these areas, moving to Tier 3 will inevitably impact businesses, particularly in the hospitality trade at what would normally be their busiest time of the year. We will lobby the Government to ensure our Essex businesses have all the support they need, during this very challenging time.”