// Tier 4 restrictions have been extended which will affect most of England
// Non-essential retailers have shut stores in affected areas
// Birmingham, Greater Manchester and Nottingham are among the retail destinations where Tier 4 rules have come into force
Non-essential retailers have been forced to shut their stores from Thursday in regions where Tier 4 restrictions have been extended to, which covers three-quarters of England’s population.
Birmingham, Greater Manchester and Nottingham are among the retail destinations where Tier 4 rules have come into force, while London and much of East and Southeast England were already in Tier 4.
Almost all areas of England not in Tier 4 have moved up to Tier 3, where shops can remain open but where there are restrictions on meeting socially indoors and on hospitality businesses.
The Liverpool city region and York are among the retail locations that have gone into Tier 3.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said the latest measures were “a significant burden on people” but “absolutely necessary” to stop the transmission of Covid-19, particularly after the emergence of a faster-spreading variant strain.
Most recently, new research from Springboard found that overall footfall on Boxing Day in Tier 4 areas – where all non-essential retail stores are closed – dropped by 75.9 per cent compared to the same day in 2019.
Shopping centres were the worst hit, with footfall down 65.4 per cent year on year, while high streets saw a 63.3 per cent decline.
Meanwhile, retail parks fared better, with a 45 per cent drop compared with 2019.
Footfall in Tier 4 regions declined 75.9 per cent compared with Boxing Day last year, while footfall in Tiers 2 and 3 fell by 33.1 per cent and 38.5 per cent respectively.
Tougher rules have also been introduced in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales in recent days.