England’s second national lockdown has ended as the country switches to a new tiered system of coronavirus restrictions.
As the clock struck one minute past midnight on Wednesday, nationwide restrictions expired and were replaced with a controversial and localized approach as the government attempts to further curb the spread of Covid-19.
About 99% of the population is now subject to the two most severe levels of restrictions, Levels 2 and 3, with only three areas in England – the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – at the lowest level of level 1.
At the highest level – which currently includes the cities of Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Newcastle – pubs and restaurants will only be able to offer take-out and delivery services.
Social mixing is also limited to outdoor public spaces like parks in Level 3 areas.
Meanwhile, on level 2, which covers places such as London and Liverpool, people can have a drink at a reception venue if it is accompanied by a heavy meal, and also cannot meet people outside their homes or support a bubble in an indoor setting.
Non-essential stores and gyms can reopen at all levels.
The deputies voted Tuesday evening in favor of the level system reinforced by a margin of 291 votes against 78.
However, Boris Johnson has suffered a major rebellion over the plans, as dozens of backbench Tory MPs have chosen to vote against the tough new restrictions.
Labor and Liberal Democrats abstained in the vote.
England was placed in its second nationwide lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic in early November, with the government saying its intention was to lift it on December 2.
Additional reports from the Press Association