Tier decision: Carry on shopping as decision is revealed on Harrogate's Covid status
Millions more people in England are to join Tier 4 Covid restrictions from Boxing Day in a new Government announcement which leaves North Yorkshire unaffected.
Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock said today that Tier three was not enough in parts of the South to control the new variant of coronavirus.
But Harrogate businesses and residents breathed a sigh of relief when the North was left unchanged in the Government's Tier system for countering the pandemic.
Areas including Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, those parts in Essex not already in tier four, Waverley in Surrey, and Hampshire with the exception of the New Forest - will join Tier four from Boxing Day.
Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Swindon, the Isle of Wight, the New Forest and Northamptonshire, as well as Cheshire and Warrington, will be escalated to tier three.
Cornwall and Herefordshire will be escalated to tier two.
But North Yorkshire, including the Harrogate district, will remain in Tier 2 meaning shops, bars and restaurants can stay open for the moment and social mixing is still possible.
Fears remain, however, that stronger restrictions will be introduced in the New Year in more places in the country.
The Government says it is still trying to keep a more local approach but is not ruling out a return to full lockdown nationally.
Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock said during today's Covid briefing to the nation that he was "highly confident" things would be back to normal before 2022" and that the speed of the vaccine roll-out was now accelerating.
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