Portsmouth moves to Tier 4 COVID-19 alert level

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement, Portsmouth has now moved to Tier 4 from midnight on Saturday, as part of changes affecting London and the South East.

Tier 4 restrictions and guidance must be followed from Sunday 20th December, in a bid to reduce the spread of the virus.

This means that you cannot meet other people indoors, including over the Christmas period, unless you live with them, or they are part of your existing support bubble. Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household. These rules will not be relaxed for Christmas.

The Tier 4 regulations instruct people to stay at home, which means Portsmouth residents must not leave or be outside of their homes, except where they have a specific purpose or a ‘reasonable excuse’. Exceptions include work, where people cannot work from home, education and childcare, and essential activities such as shopping for food or medicine, and for exercise. Full details, www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-4-stay-at-home.

Where people are going out for valid reasons they should try to stay local as much as possible and avoid travelling out of Portsmouth. Plan your journey, walk and cycle where ever possible and if using public transport try to avoid busy times and routes. Avoid car sharing with people not in the same household or support bubble.

The Government has made these changes because the virus is spreading more rapidly in London and the South East, spread they believe is being driven by the new variant of the virus.

This decision means that Tier 4 restrictions and guidance should be followed from Sunday 20th December in a bid to reduce the spread of the virus. This is particularly important as the number of people needing hospital care is increasing, and pressure is mounting on the NHS.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council says: “The council had no warning of these new restrictions and is sharing information as soon as it is available from government. We haven’t been told anything about how prevalent the new strain is in Portsmouth and will urgently seek this information from government.

“These new restrictions are going to mean a different Christmas for everyone and while people had been looking forward to celebrating with loved ones unfortunately that won’t be possible now.

“It is extremely important Portsmouth residents and businesses follow the new rules and carefully consider everything they do, making sure they stay local and minimise travel wherever possible.

“Local businesses are going to find this latest set of closures particularly hard and I would urge people to support Portsmouth businesses by shopping online with them wherever they can.

“The council will continue to deliver the essential services people rely on and if we all pull together and remember to follow the guidance we will get through this together.”

Tier 4 Very High coronavirus restrictions, which apply in Portsmouth from Sunday 20th December include:

  • Stay at home. You must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a specific purpose, or a ‘reasonable excuse’ such as work, education and childcare, medical reasons, and shopping for essentials such as food and medicine
  • To help contain the virus, everyone who can work effectively work from home should do so
  • Schools and colleges will remain open in Tier 4 areas, as will early years settings and childminders
  • In general, you must not meet with another person socially or undertaken any activities with another person. However, you can exercise or meet in a public outdoor place with people you live with, your support bubble, or with one other person
  • If you need to travel, you should stay local, meaning avoiding travelling outside of the part of the city where you live, and look to reduce the number of journeys you make overall
  • The regulations require some businesses to close, including non-essential retail, personal care, including hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons
  • Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs must remain open only as take-aways, click-and-collect and drive-through or delivery as they were in Tier 3.
  • Businesses that can remain open include: essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies and garden centres; petrol stations, vehicle repair and MOT services ; banks, building societies and post offices
  • The majority of public services will remain open, and you can leave home to visit them, including: NHS and medical services, like GPs and dentists; Jobcentre Plus sites ; courts and probation services

Helen Atkinson Director of Public Health for Portsmouth City Council says: “I recognise that this government announcement will be disappointing and upsetting for many residents, including some business owners. I know that people were looking forward to being able to see a limited number of family or friends over Christmas but we’ve been put into Tier 4 restrictions as the rate of the infection is increasing rapidly in the city and we can’t put any further pressure on the NHS. Making these sacrifices now could prevent an even larger spike of cases in January and February, keeping us all safer until we can get vaccinated.

“For single adult households the support bubbles remind in place so that these residents can still connect with another household, which we recognise is so important for wellbeing.

“I know that this news is another blow at the end of a difficult year but with the vaccination programme rolling out, we should be able to end 2021 in a much better place and I hope that this positive thought helps residents to continue to adhere to the rules as they’ve done so well to date.”

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