By Joe Talora, Local Democracy Reporter
London is to be placed into Tier 3 restrictions from Wednesday as Covid-19 infections soar in the capital, with pubs and restaurants set to close.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock will announce the change in a Downing Street briefing shortly, with parts of Essex and Hertfordshire also expected to be placed in England’s highest tier of restrictions.
Earlier today, London Mayor Sadiq Khan warned of the “catastrophic impact” that Tier 3 restrictions would have on London’s businesses, with hospitality venues forced to close over the festive period.
Mr Khan said: “If the Government does decide to introduce further restrictions in London this week, the economic impact on businesses could be catastrophic, with hundreds of thousands of livelihoods at stake.
“I am asking ministers urgently to put in place a compensation scheme for all lost income for any businesses affected by any further restrictions during this crucial festive period based on last year’s returns.”
Ministers were expected to meet on Wednesday to discuss regional tier allocation, but a sharp rise in cases in the capital has prompted immediate action.
Figures revealed almost 24,000 new Covid-19 cases in the past week, with a “significant” rise in cases among secondary school age children.
This comes just days after City Hall announced a raft of new measures designed to reduce cases and prevent London moving into Tier 3, including new rapid test units and greater community engagement from Covid marshals and the Met.
Mr Khan added: “2020 has been a dismal year for our once-thriving hospitality sector and world-famous cultural scene, which both contribute billions to our economy and attract millions of visitors. Without protecting them, there can be no meaningful recovery.”
Pictured top: Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to formally announce the changes shortly
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