Mohammad Yasin, MP for Bedford & Kempston, writes: The news that Bedford and Kempston will be in Tier 4 measures from midnight tonight is a huge blow to all of us. All the Christmas plans that now won't be possible and all the disappointment and anxiety that this news brings is heart-breaking.
A new variant of the Covid-19 virus which spreads more easily is a cause for real concern so the top restrictions have been put in place in London, the South East and parts of the East including Bedfordshire.
From midnight ....
Residents in tier four must stay at home, with limited exceptions
Non-essential retail, gyms and personal care centres must close.
Hospitality venues are already closed under tier three rules
Household mixing indoors is banned - people can meet one other person from another household in an outdoor space only
Travel into and out of tier four is not allowed, unless essential
The "support bubbles" for adults living alone will continue
The planned relaxation of Covid rules for Christmas has been scrapped for tier four areas.
The Prime Minister's desperation to be popular has led the public down the garden path, promising them a normal Christmas when the reality is, infection rates have been on the rise for weeks in our area, the pandemic is still very dangerous and the strain on the NHS is concerning. The 5 day relaxation plans were a dangerous fantasy.
The public and businesses just want the truth not endlessly confusing messages that its safe one day and not the next.
Its's devastating for businesses who have just hours to plan for Tier 4 closure and go into Christmas with the worst possible news. The Government must announce a support package immediately.
This must be one of the lowest moments of the whole pandemic but please remember we can get through this. It's going to be a very difficult Christmas but the vaccine is on its way. Brighter times are ahead and we can only hope for a better year next year.