Residents of our region will be among three quarters of the English population facing the toughest measures to curb the spread of covid-19.
Non-essential stores will close as the area reverts to a lockdown similar to the nationwide lockdown in November.
Here we have looked at some of the key questions
What is happening?
Teesside is set to enter the highest level 4 containment after the government announced that large areas of the north and midlands would join London and the south-east under the strictest restrictions.
It follows an increase in the number of cases in recent weeks after the emergence of a new variant of covid-19.
50,023 new cases of covid were recorded in the UK on Wednesday, along with 981 more deaths within 28 days of a positive test – more than double the total on Tuesday.
Teesside infection rates have remained stable in recent weeks, except in Hartlepool, which has suffered a spike in cases.
It will be the 10th different form of lockdown for Teesside since the start of the pandemic.
The area has been subject to some form of additional local or national restrictions since the beginning of October.
Where does it take place?
Tier 4 applies to the entire Tees Valley
This means they will need to be tracked by residents and businesses of Middlesbrough, Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland, Hartlepool and Darlington.
North Yorkshire will be upgraded to level 3 from level 2, meaning hospitality venues in areas such as Great Ayton and Stokesley are to close except for take out.
When does this happen?
The new restrictions will take effect Thursday at midnight.
Why does Teesside enter level 4?
The government said more regions were moving to level 4 to limit the spread of the virus as the rate of cases increased across the country.
The Midlands, the North East, parts of the North West, and parts of the South West are among those upgraded to level 4, with almost all remaining areas upgraded to level 3.
The spread of the new strain of covid-19 is on the rise in the southwest, the Midlands and parts of the northwest, the government said, and there are concerns that it is gaining a foothold in areas such as Teesside .
Teesside infection rates, although well below the November peak, remain a concern and declines in early December have eased.
There are also continuing reports of pressure on hospitals in Teesside due to the high number of patients with covid-19 and normal winter pressures.
What are the rules for level 4?
If you live on level 4 you must not leave or be outside your home or garden unless you have a ‘reasonable excuse’ – see below for the full list.
All non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, gymnasiums and recreation centers, and other entertainment venues (such as theaters and cinemas) must close at level 4.
As in previous lockdowns, there are exemptions – if you have to leave your home for essential shopping, schooling, childcare, work (if you can’t work from home), and unlimited exercise. Outdoor sport can also take place.
The public is advised not to leave or enter a Level 4 area, and Level 4 residents should not spend the night anywhere other than their home.
You can read the full list of rules and exceptions HERE
Where will close?
It has been a tough year for retailers and the next one will start under tough circumstances as Tier 4 will force them to close.
Government Level 4 guidelines state that non-essential retailers – which include clothing and home goods stores – must close, as well as betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vaping stores, electronics and mobile phone stores, auction houses (except for livestock farm equipment auctions) and market stalls selling non-essential goods.
Restaurants, cafes and pubs are to remain closed, although take-out, drive-thru, collection and delivery services are permitted.
Indoor gymnasiums, recreation centers, swimming pools, entertainment venues and tourist attractions must also close at level 4.
However, outdoor facilities – such as golf courses and playgrounds – can remain open as long as they are operating under Covid-secure guidelines.
Where will remain open?
Essential services, such as stores selling food, are some of the places and businesses that can open.
The list of businesses and places authorized to open at level 4 also includes:
supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centers, building dealers and suppliers of construction and non-licensed products
market stalls selling essential retail products can also remain open
companies providing repair services can also remain open, where they mainly offer repair services
gas stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and roadworthiness services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle rental companies
banks, real estate companies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer companies
laundromats and dry cleaners
medical and dental services
veterinarians and pet stores
animal rescue centers, boarding schools and groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather than cosmetic purposes)
farm supply stores
mobility and disability aid stores
storage and distribution facilities
car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
outdoor gym, swimming pools, sports fields and facilities
archery / driving / shooting ranges (outdoors)
outdoor equestrian centers
places of worship
crematoriums and cemeteries
How long will it last?
The new level measurements will take effect at 12:01 p.m. on Thursday.
The next tier review is expected to take place in two weeks, which means tier 4 restrictions will be in place until at least January 13.
What happens if I break the rules?
The police can take action against you if you get together in larger groups. This includes stopping illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty notice).
You can receive a fixed penalty notice of £ 200 for the first offense, doubling for other offenses to a maximum of £ 6,400. If you organize or are involved in an illegal gathering of more than 30 people, the police can impose fines of £ 10,000.
What about schools?
Schools will remain open but there will be a phased return of the Christmas holidays.
Primary is expected to reopen fully on Monday in most areas, while high school students in grades 11 and 13 will return on January 11.
All other students are expected to return on January 18.
What about the vulnerable?
All clinically extremely vulnerable people will be asked to protect themselves if they live in level 4 areas.
People will receive a letter or email with advice and support details.
In the meantime, they should follow the protection advice listed on GOV.UK.