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Tier 4 restrictions for entire North East from New Year’s Eve

THE North East of England has been slapped with Tier 4 restrictions from midnight this evening after a rise in coronavirus cases across the region.

Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, Health Secretary Matt Hancock set out the areas moving into higher restrictions.

Among a large percentage of the country being hit with the clampdown, Sunderland, Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, County Durham, North Tyneside, Northumberland and South Tyneside will all face their highest tiers yet as they move into Tier 4 from 00:01am tomorrow morning.

Mr Hancock said: “Unfortunately this new variant is spreading across most of England and cases are doubling fast.

“The new variant means that three quarters of the population are now going to be in Tier 4 and almost all of the country in Tiers 3 or 4.

“I know that Tiers 3 and 4 measures place a significant burden on people and especially on business affected, but I’m afraid it’s absolutely necessary because of the number of cases we’ve seen.

“Where we are still able to give places greater freedoms, we will continue to do so.

“The NHS is under very significant pressure, there are over 21,000 people in hospital with coronavirus right now and we can see the impact that this is having.

“The threat to life from this virus is real and the pressures on the NHS are real too.”


Tier 4 includes a ‘stay at home order’, which means you must not leave or be outside of your home or garden except where you have a reasonable excuse.

A reasonable excuse includes:

Work and volunteering

You can leave home for work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home, including if your job involves working in other people’s homes. You can also leave home to provide voluntary or charitable services.

Essential activities

You can leave home to buy things at shops or obtain services from a business which is permitted to open in your Tier 4 area, but you should stay local. For instance you can leave home to buy food or medicine, or to collect any items – including food or drink – ordered through click-and-collect or as a takeaway, to obtain or deposit money (for example, from a bank or post office), or to access critical public services (see section below).

Fulfilling legal obligations

You may also leave home to fulfil legal obligations, or to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property, or where it is reasonably necessary for voting in an election or referendum.

Education and childcare

You can leave home for education related to the formal curriculum or training, registered childcare, under-18 sport and physical activity, and supervised activities for children that are necessary to allow parents/carers to work, seek work, or undertake education or training. Parents can still take their children to school, and people can continue existing arrangements for contact between parents and children where they live apart. This includes childcare bubbles.

Meeting others and care

You can leave home to visit people in your support bubble, or to provide informal childcare for children aged 13 and under as part of a childcare bubble, to provide care for vulnerable people, to provide emergency assistance, attend a support group (of up to 15 people), or for respite care where that care is being provided to a vulnerable person or a person with a disability, or is a short break in respect of a looked after child.

Exercise and recreation

People can also exercise outdoors or visit some public outdoor places, such as parks, the countryside accessible to the public, public gardens or outdoor sports facilities. You can continue to do unlimited exercise alone, or in a public outdoor place with your household, support bubble, or with one other person if you maintain social distancing. You should follow the guidance on meeting others safely.

Medical reasons, harm and compassionate visits

You can leave home for a medical reason, including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies, to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse),or for animal welfare reasons – such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment.

You can also leave home to visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home (if permitted under care home guidance), hospice, or hospital, or to accompany them to a medical appointment.

If you are planning to visit, or accompany someone to, a care home, hospice, hospital or other healthcare setting, you should check that this is permitted by the facility.

Communal worship and life events

You can leave home to attend or visit:

  • a place of worship for communal worship
  • a funeral or event related to a death
  • a burial ground or a remembrance garden
  • a wedding ceremony

*Tier 4 restrictions will be in effect until at least January 13 when the government is due its next review.