The New Forest is moving to a higher coronavirus tier - moving to Tier 3 from Boxing Day.

However, other areas in Hampshire are moving to Tier 4 (Stay Home) restrictions where people should not visit Tier 4 areas unless it is for an essential reason like work, caring responsibilities, or medical appointments.

Tier 3 restrictions:

  • No household mixing indoors, or most outdoor places, apart from support bubbles. Maximum of six in some outdoor spaces (parks and public gardens)
  • Everyone who can work from home should do so
  • Bars, pubs, restaurants are closed, with the exception of takeaway, drive through or delivery
  • Overnight stays are advised against
  • Avoid travelling outside your area, other than where necessary such as for work or education, or medical necessity
  • Indoor leisure is open, but group activities and classes should not take place
  • 15 guests are allowed for weddings, civil partnerships and wakes; 30 for funerals. Wedding receptions are not permitted
  • Places of worship are open, but you cannot interact with anyone outside your household or support bubble
  • You can visit relatives in care homes with Covid-secure arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pod, and window visits
  • Large events should not take place. Drive-in events are permitted.

Click here to review the full Tier 3 restrictions.

A post on the New Forest District Council's website said: "The announcement that the district will move up a tier comes as the government continues to review a new strain of coronavirus.

"Whilst there is no evidence the variant causes more severe illness or higher mortality, it does appear to be passed on significantly more easily.

"We must all work together and stick to the rules to #KeepampshireSafe and to protect our family, friends, communities and the NHS.

"Our essential services, like waste collections, benefit payments and homelessness support, will continue."

Councillor Keith Mans, the leader of Hampshire County Council and Chair of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board, said: “Central Government has confirmed that all areas of Hampshire will be placed under Covid-19 Tier 4 restrictions from Saturday, 26 December, with the exception of the New Forest.

“While this announcement may come as a surprise, given that many will have been expecting the next statutory Tier review to take place on 30 December, it is a reflection of rapidly rising infection rates across our county and the impact on local hospitals. Therefore, it is crucial that we all take the necessary steps to protect the public’s health – particularly those who are elderly or clinically extremely vulnerable. It’s the right thing to do. 

“We must continue to work together, follow the rules for our Tiers and protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities, especially with the threat of a new Covid-19 variant spreading much faster in Tier 4 areas, and the ongoing rise in transmission in general across the country.”