WINCHESTER and the majority of Hampshire will move to tighter Tier 4 restrictions from Boxing Day, the Government has announced.

This includes Southampton, but not the New Forest, which will be moved to Tier 3 instead.

The county was place into Tier 2 following the end of the national lockdown on December 2.

Currently, just Portsmouth, Havant, and Gosport are in Tier 4.

Following the announcement, Winchester and Chandler's For MP Steve Brine said: "I can’t say I am that surprised and I doubt any of my constituents will be either. However, when vast parts of my constituency continue to have really low rates – and some areas in the north of the district and in Chandler’s Ford are so low the Covid dashboard can’t even show data for fear of revealing individual identities – I feel it’s pretty harsh to be honest.

“If this is about getting ahead of the curve, as the health secretary claimed today, then why not just lockdown the entire country now. That is, after all, what most people expect to happen before the leftovers from Christmas lunch are even polished off. It is imperative Parliament sits again as soon as possible and I have made my view on that very clear to the Chief Whip.”

The new rules

Non-essential shops, gyms, cinemas, hairdressers and bowling alleys will be forced to close for two weeks – while people will be restricted to meeting one other person from another household in an outdoor public space.

People in Tier 4 will be told they should not stay away from home overnight and people from outside will be advised not to visit Tier 4 areas.

Tier 4 residents are also advised not to travel abroad unless essential.

Exemptions to the “stay at home” message which applied in the November lockdown, will also apply in the new Tier 4 – including support bubbles, childcare bubbles and children whose parents are separated.

People will be allowed to travel for education, childcare and to go to work if they cannot work from home and they will be permitted unlimited outdoor exercise.