Coventry will be placed into Tier 3 of England’s new tiered system of COVID-19 restrictions from 2 December, it has been announced.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is to make a statement in the House of Commons shortly, but prior to the announcement the government launched a postcode checker.
Within minutes of launching, the website crashed.
In Tier 3, people cannot meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody they not live with, or who is not in their support bubble, including in private gardens and most outdoor venues.
In outdoor public spaces, such as parks and public gardens, people from different household will be able to meet, but most adhere to the rule of six.
Hospitality venues must remain closed, but takeaway, drive-through and delivery services will continue to be allowed.
Indoor entertainment venues, such casinos, bingo halls and theatres, will also remain closed, with people urged to avoid travelling outside of Coventry other than where necessary for work, education, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities.
Non-essential retail, hairdressers and gyms will be able to reopen from 2 December.
Organised outdoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes can continue, however higher-risk contact activity will not be allowed.
Early year settings, schools, colleges and universities will remain open; and with university students preparing to return home for Christmas in the coming weeks, the University of Warwick is to use mass testing of its students before they travel to ensure none spread COVID-19 to their parents and family.
Places of worship will be allowed to reopen, but those who wish to observe prayer must not interact with those outside of their household or support bubble.
Anyone who can work from home is encouraged to do so under Tier 3 restrictions.
The news comes as cases, deaths and patients admitted to hospital in Coventry all show a downwards trend over the past seven days.
In a bid to soften the blow, the government has promised increased access to rapid-result lateral flow tests to help bring down infections, as well as additional funding.
Tier 3 will be an especially big blow to the hospitality sector, which replies especially on the Christmas period – this year more than any.
Trish Willet, from the Coventry Business Improvement District, expressed her “incredible disappointment” at the news, but insisted that “while we may question [the] decision, we must continue to obey the rules in order that we can return to normality as soon as possible.”
Neighbouring Birmingham, Solihull and Warwickshire are all also heading into Tier 3.
The Coventry Conservatives group shared its disappointment on Twitter, saying “Tier 3 for Coventry is tough to justify” and claiming Coventry has been “lumped in with Birmingham needlessly.”