London will reportedly enter the third and highest tier of England’s coronavirus restrictions as of 00.01 GMT on Wednesday (December 16) amid a surge in cases of the virus.
London currently has the fifth-highest rate of infections in the country, with 506 per 100,000 people infected.
The imposition of the strongest possible restrictions on the capital means that audiences will no longer be allowed in any capacity at live events. These restrictions will also apply to parts of Essex and Hertfordshire.
The tier system’s next review is believed to be planned for December 23, meaning all socially-distanced shows scheduled between now and then will have to be postponed or cancelled.
Pubs, bars and restaurants must now remain closed apart from for takeaway orders, while indoor entertainment centres such as cinemas must remain closed.
Stephen Hammond, the Conservative MP for Wimbledon, said that he and other London MPs had been briefed by health secretary Matt Hancock about the restrictions.
London’s Clapham Grand venue, which had a number of events scheduled over the coming days, released a statement concerning the announcement.
“This isn’t how we wanted to end teh year and we’ve worked tirelessly to make this December season possible. We are really proud of our staff who have been staging physically distanced shows since August,” they said.
“It’s been truly wonderful to have done so, bringing our team back to work stage by stage and supporting the arts and live entertainment at such a critical time for our industry. It has meant the world to us to have you all back here again – 2020 has been such a journey and without your support it wouldn’t have been possible.
A message from us about the most recent Government announcement…
Love Team Grand ❤️ pic.twitter.com/oupKa34dFC
— The Clapham Grand (@TheGrandClapham) December 14, 2020
A review of the tier system was scheduled to take place on Wednesday (December 16), but the decision was taken earlier due to the severity of the spike in cases.
Speaking to the BBC, he said that the decision was “justified” by the figures showing rising cases in the capital, but added, “no-one wanted this to happen.”
A government spokesperson said there are “no plans to review the Christmas guidelines” which effectively suspend the tier system of restrictions and allow more households to mix.
London mayor Sadiq Khan told Sky News: “My understanding is that Covid-O is meeting as we speak – that’s the subcommittee of the cabinet that makes the recommendations. We will have to wait and see what the government decides – it’s a government decision, not my decision or London leaders’ decision.”
England’s current three-tiered system was introduced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in November.
In tier 1, the rule of six is the same indoors and outdoors, while in tiers 2 and 3 household mixing will only be allowed outdoors.