What Tier 4 means for Orpington
After the Prime Minister's announcement, Orpington will move into the new Tier 4 rules from tomorrow morning.
A new variant of coronavirus may be up to 70% more transmissible than the old variant. It is thought to be behind the rapid rise in coronavirus cases across Greater London, the South East, and in Orpington.
Although the new variant spreads faster, there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness or higher mortality.
This alarming spread of coronavirus, which we are experiencing locally, risks overwhelming the NHS and could lead to thousands more deaths.
To stop the spread of this new coronavirus variant, a fourth tier will be created with rules similar to the national lockdown in November.
All non-essential shops, gyms, and hairdressers will close, with people ordered to stay home apart from limited exceptions such as work - if people cannot work from home - education, childcare and exercise.
People in Tier 4 areas will no longer be allowed to form "Christmas bubbles" with other households.
Only one person from a household can meet with another person from a different household outside, although exemptions will continue for support bubbles and childcare bubbles.
Schools will still reopen after the Christmas holidays.
This is bitterly disappointing news, but we will get through this together. Hope is on the horizon, and more than 350,000 people have received their first vaccine dose. However, the vaccination programme will take time.
Until then, we must control the virus, and sadly, once again, we must stay home to save lives.