The region will move up a tier.
Following months of restrictions here in Birmingham, it has been confirmed that the entire region will move into Tier 4 – the newly created, stricter tier which previously included London, Hertfordshire, areas in the East of England and a number of areas in the South East, including Kent. The news comes following a huge announcement that the Oxford Coronavirus vaccine has now been approved.
Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, the Health Secretary said it was “absolutely necessary” that these changes were implemented, adding: “Today is a day really of mixed emotions. The joy of the vaccine, the sorrow of deaths and suffering this virus has caused. The determination we must stick at it.”
Attempting the soften the blow to millions this afternoon, the Health Secretary said he believes “there will be brighter future ahead”, and that the vaccine could “save us”.
The Shadow Health Secretary added that “the virus is out of control” and that “In England, there are now more patients in hospital. Hospitals are close to or at surge capacity.”
The new tiering system will take effect from 00.01 GMT on Thursday 31st December. Birmingham will be joined by a number of West Midlands areas including Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Coventry, Solihull, Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent and Warwickshire, who will also be moving into the stricter tier.
Tiers were determined based on a multitude of factors, including virus rates, rates of hospitalisation, the rate of growth, and more. The city’s cases have continued to rise since leaving the November lockdown, with 311 cases per 100,000 reported in the region last week, leading the health secretary’s decision to move Birmingham into Tier 4.
Here’s what Tier 4 means:
In tier 4, residents must stay at home – with few exceptions.
- Travel is not advised
- Overnight stays are banned
- Non-essential retail stores
- Cafes, pubs and restaurants should operate as takeaway only for food
- Hotels and accommodation must close, unless providing essential services (i.e. for the homeless, key workers, or for those who live there)
- Leisure facilities and gyms must close
- Entertainment venues must close
- Indoor attractions and landmarks must close (except for outdoor gardens)
- Salons/personal care businesses must close
- People should work from home unless unable to do so
- Schools will remain open
- Care home visits can still take place
- Places of worship can remain open
- Essential businesses (such as supermarkets, pet stores, banks and repair businesses) can remain open
- You may only meet with one other person outdoors
- It is advised to ‘minimise’ time spent outside of the home