Saturday, 23 January 2021
CHRISTMAS plans for people across Berkshire and Buckinghamshire are in disarray tonight (Saturday) after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the counties would move into tier 4 from midnight, banning households from mixing to celebrate the festive season.
Meanwhile, across the rest of the country the proposed five day festive period has been cut to just one day.
The introduction of tier 4, which affects areas including Wargrave, Remenham, Sonning, Charvil, Hurley, Fawley, the Hambleden valley and Medmenham, is in response to the spread of a mutant variant of covid-19 across the south-east of England which scientists believe is spreading more quickly than the previous form.
Speaking at a hastily-convened press conference, Mr Johnson said he was altering the Christmas arrangements with 'a heavy heart' but that it was necessary in light of the discovery of the mutation, saying: "When the facts change you have to change your approach."
He added: “Yes Christmas this year will be different, very different. We’re sacrificing the chance to see our loved ones this Christmas so that we have a better chance of protecting their lives, so that we can see them at future Christmases.
“And as sure as night follows day we will beat this virus, we’ll defeat it and reclaim our lives.”
The introduction of the new tier comes just two days after the introduction of tier 3. Under the restrictions of the now-highest tier pubs, restaurants and cafes remain closed and are joined by all non-essential retail, hairdressers, gyms, leisure facilities, indoor entertainment and tourist venues. These measures will stay in place until December 30 at the earliest, when the situation will next be reviewed.
Since the start of the pandemic, Buckinghamshire has had 474 coronavirus deaths while Reading has had 198 and Wokingham has had 183.
Henley, which remains in tier 2, has had 170 new cases of the virus in the last week.
* What do YOU think about the last minute changes to Christmas plans and the introduction of Tier 4? Email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this story.
19 December 2020
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