The Prime Minister has written to Members of Parliament, setting out how the Government will implement the COVID Winter Plan and safeguard Parliament’s role.
While infection levels have started to fall, they are still at a high level, and the pressure on hospitals remains severe. A tougher tiered system is necessary if we are to keep the virus under control, avoid overwhelming the NHS or prevent another national lockdown which is more damaging and restrictive than the tiered system.
On 2 December, national restrictions will end, and we will return to strengthened tiers set out in the COVID-19 Winter Plan, subject to parliamentary approval the day before.
The Prime Minister has confirmed:
- Parliament will have the opportunity to confirm its support for these measures after we review their impact at the end of January.
- There will be an opportunity to review all tier allocations at the first review point on 16 December.
- The Government will set out publicly the circumstances that need to change in each region for it to be considered to move down a tier.
- The Government will update the COVID-19 public data daily dashboard to include all available relevant data.
- Ahead of the vote on the strengthen local tier system, the Government will publish further analysis of the health, economic and social impacts of COVID and the measures taken to suppress them.
- The Government will continue to support hospitality and hard-hit businesses, including a temporary relaxation in shop opening hours this Christmas and throughout January, allowing extended hours for shoppers on every high street Monday to Saturday.
Only by keeping the virus under control through these local measures will we be able to see friends and family over Christmas in a relatively safe way while managing the threat the virus still poses. As mass testing and vaccines are rolled out through winter and into the spring, the need for even localised restrictions will gradually reduce – and life can once again return closer to normality.