From midnight tonight Gillingham and the rest of Dorset will move from the current Tier 2 to the Tier 3 level of Covid restrictions.
Under the new government announcement, Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch will move to the top Tier 4, as will Somerset apart from north and north-east Somerset.
Wiltshire will also move to Tier 3.
In Tier 3 people must not mix indoors or outdoors in hospitality venues or private gardens, the rule of six applies in outdoor public spaces. Restaurants, cafes and bars must also close and can only provide a take-away service.
For full details of what the Tier change means, see the government’s website for Tier 3 restrictions.
Gillingham mayor Barry Von Clemens said: ‘I think it is really important at this stage in the pandemic that we follow the new advice for Tier 3 and also the advice on travelling into other tiers. It’s even more important than ever to support our local economy wherever we can.’
Sam Crowe, Director of Public Health for Dorset and BCP Councils said: ‘The number of positive cases of Covid-19 across the Dorset Council area has risen rapidly over the last week. Tier 2 measures are not enough to stop the virus spreading.
‘Our infection rates have risen in people over the age of 60 which is putting increased pressure on already stretched NHS services. Making sacrifices now means we could prevent an even larger spike in January.
‘It is essential, now more than ever that everyone follows the rules for Tier 3 to help drive infections down. Until the vaccine is rolled out wider, we must do all we can to supress the virus by staying at home as much as possible. Remember; hands, face, space and ventilating your home are simple measures we can all do that will make a difference.’
Councillor Spencer Flower, Leader of Dorset Council said: ‘With case numbers rising rapidly, further action now will help to contain the spread of the virus here in Dorset. I’m afraid there’s no room for complacency here, we all need to continue to play our part to protect people’s lives and our NHS.
‘As ever, I’d like to thank people for all they are doing as a very difficult and unprecedented year draws to a close. I know moving into Tier 3 will be hard for many residents and local businesses but, with the vaccine now being rolled out, I sincerely hope it won’t be too long before we can return to some form of normality.’