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More non-essential English retailers to close as Tier 4 restrictions extended

By Huw Hughes

31 Dec 2020

Retail

More non-essential stores across England will be forced to close this week after the UK government announced a swathe of new regions with enter into Tier 4, the strictest level of lockdown restrictions.

From the beginning of Thursday 31 December 2020, areas to be placed in Tier 4 include Leicester City, Leicestershire, Birmingham and Black Country, Greater Manchester, and Swindon.

It means around 75 percent of the population is now under Tier 4 “stay home” restrictions.

Other cities have been moved up from Tier 2 to Tier 3. Non-essential stores in these areas can still operate.

It comes as a spike in cases is seen up and down the country. Between 18 and 24 December, the weekly case rate in England rose to 402.6 per 100,000, a 32 percent increase on the previous week.

75 percent of England now in Tier 4

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “[I] know that Tier 3 and 4 measures place a significant burden on people, and especially on businesses affected, but I am afraid it is absolutely necessary because of the number of cases that we’ve seen.

“But where we are still able to give places greater freedoms, we will continue to do so.”

The number of UK retailers - including both online and bricks and mortar stores - in “significant financial distress” jumped by 24 percent in the fourth quarter, according to research from UK corporate restructuring firm Begbies Traynor.

The data revealed that over 20,000 high street retailers and over 11,500 online retailers said they were in difficulty in the build-up to Christmas - an increase of 22 percent and 27 percent, respectively, in the run-up to Christmas 2019.

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