THE AREA is back in a full lockdown after Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed new national measures.
Schools, many of which reopened today, will close again and switch to remote learning.
People are told not to leave their houses, unless it is absolutely essential and non-essential shops will remain closed.
And it looks like the situation will remain until the February half-term holidays, with exams likely to be rescheduled.
Mr Johnson said the increase in regulations is down to the new variant of the Covid-19 virus that has spread, particularly in the south-east of England.
He said: “There was no doubt in fighting the old variant that our collective efforts were working but we have a new variant and it’s frustrating and alarming to see the speed at which the new variant is spreading.
“It’s clear we need to do more together to bring this new variant under control while the vaccines are rolled out.
“You can leave your home to shop for essentials, if you absolutely cannot work from home, to exercise, to seek medical assistance and to escape domestic abuse.
“Schools across England must move to remote provision from tomorrow, except for vulnerable children and children of key workers.
“I completely understand the inconvenience and distress this will cause millions of parents and pupils up and down the country.
“But the simple answer is we’ve been doing everything in our power to keep schools open as we now how important each day in education is to children’s life choices.
“The problem is schools may act as vectors for transmission, causing the virus to spread between households.”
Nurseries will stay open while schools and colleges close and playgrounds are also set to remain open.
Team sports in parks is not allowed but elite sport – best exemplified as football down to National League North level – will be able to continue.
But Mr Johnson showed optimism in the rollout of two vaccines.
He added: “By February we expect to have offered vaccines to the top four priority groups.
“That’s all residents in care homes and their carers, people over the age of 70, all frontline health and social care workers and everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.
“If our understanding of the virus doesn’t change dramatically and if the rollout of the vaccination program continues to be successful, plus if everyone plays their part by sticking to the rules, I hope we can start to move out of lockdown after February half term.
“Now more than ever we must pull together. The weeks ahead will be the hardest yet but I really do believe we’re entering the last phase of the struggle.”
FOR MORE DETAILS: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home