he end of the lockdown in England on 2 December was never going to be a cause for much celebration. Boris Johnson had already warned that returning to a three-tier system of coronavirus-related restrictions would bring in a tougher regime than existed before the four-week national shutdown.
Ministers had come under intense lobbying from MPs, council leaders and mayors to put their areas in the lowest tier possible to protect businesses. But the government has rewritten the old saying that “you can’t please all of the people all of the time”; when it comes to Covid-19, it really cannot please anyone.
Inevitably, there was an outbreak of nimbyism when Matt Hancock, the health secretary, made a Commons statement on the new map, which will see only 1 per cent of England in the lowest Tier 1 – a huge drop from the pre-lockdown figure of more than half. Some 57 per cent of England’s population will be in Tier 2 and 42 per cent in Tier 3. Only Liverpool moved down a level, from Tier 3 to Tier 2, where London will remain for now.