Skip to page content
Projects Map


Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business briefing – 21 December 2020

Non-essential retail closes as Tier 4 imposed on London and South East

A new Tier 4 level of COVID restrictions – equivalent to a full lockdown – came into force on Sunday 20 December.

In a dramatic move, prompted by fears over a new strain of coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that all those areas currently in Tier 3 in the South East, including Kent and parts of of Essex will move to the new Tier 4 on Sunday.

The Tier 4 measures see all non-essential shops, gyms, and hairdressers close, with people ordered to stay home apart from limited exceptions such as work (if people cannot work from home) education, childcare and exercise. In addition, people in Tier 4 areas are no longer allowed to form “Christmas bubbles” with other households.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, the Prime Minister said: “It is my duty to take the difficult decisions, to do what is right to protect the people of this country. So I know how disappointing this will be, but we have said throughout this pandemic that we must and we will be guided by the science. When the virus changes its method of attack, we must change our method of defence.

“I sincerely believe there is no alternative open to me. Without action, the evidence suggests infections would soar, hospitals would become overwhelmed and many thousands more would lose their lives.”

All tiers will continue to be regularly reviewed, with the next formal review point taking place on 30 December.You can read the Prime Minister’s statement in full here.