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England will reportedly be divided into three different lockdown tiers from next week as the Government desperately tries to get rising coronavirus infections under control.
The strictest tier, to be imposed in parts of the North, will see pubs, restaurants and leisure facilities closed once more, Sky News reports.
It's understood a financial compensation package will be introduced to support the businesses forced to shut.
Tier three also means all household mixing will be banned according to a source familiar with the plan.
Meanwhile tier two will mean much the same restrictions as those currently in place in the North East and Merseyside – no household mixing in homes or gardens, and no household mixing in hospitality settings.
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Tier one is the least strict, with the public having to follow the rule of six and maintain social distancing.
Sky News reports nothing has been signed off yet but the Government originally planned to announce the new tiering system today, and are now set to announce it next week.
The three-tier system bears some similarity to the Government's much-maligned Covid Alert System, which was introduced in May to monitor the UK's progress in bringing infection levels down.
After being mockingly compared to the Nando's spice-measuring "Peri-ometer", the system was quietly dropped.
The tier system news comes as local officials express anger at feeling shut out of Whitehall's pandemic plans.
On Wednesday Health Secretary Matt Hancock briefed public health officials and local resilience teams on the Government's proposals, but regional leaders weren't included in the call.
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