Great Britain

Coronavirus: England’s national lockdown ends, as country moves into new tier system

England’s second national lockdown has come to an end, with the country moving into a new tiered system of coronavirus restrictions. 

As the clock struck one minute past midnight on Wednesday, nationwide restrictions expired and were replaced by a controversial, localised approach as the government attempts to further stem the spread of Covid-19. 

Around 99 per cent of the population are now under the toughest two levels of restrictions, tier 2 and tier 3, with only three areas in England - the Isle of Wight, Cornwall, and the Isles of Scilly - in the lowest tier 1 level. 

In the highest tier - which currently includes the cities of Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Newcastle - pubs and restaurants will only be able to offer takeaway and delivery services.

Social mixing is limited to outdoor public spaces like parks in Tier 3 areas too.

Meanwhile in tier 2, which covers places such as London and Liverpool, people can have a drink in a hospitality venue if it comes with a substantial meal, and can also not meet people outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting.

Non-essential shops and gyms can reopen in all tier levels.

MPs voted in favour of the strengthened tier system on Tuesday evening by a margin of 291 votes to 78. 

However, Boris Johnson suffered a significant rebellion over the plans, as dozens of backbench Tory MPs chose to vote against the tough new restrictions. 

Labour and the Liberal Democrats abstained from the vote.

England was put into its second national lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic at the start of November, with the government saying the plan was to lift it on 2 December.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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