THE LEADER of Buckinghamshire Council said he is “desperately concerned” for local businesses following news the entire county will be placed into Tier 3.

Cllr Martin Tett vowed to step in and support various sectors across Buckinghamshire as residents learned this morning the county will be placed into the highest alert category before Christmas.

In a statement in the House of Commons, secretary of state for health, Matt Hancock, said infection rates in the South East were up 46 per cent – and to ‘prevent the NHS being overwhelmed and to protect life’, the county would leave tier two and enter the ‘very high’ tier.

READ MORE: COVID: Bucks put into Tier 3 amid fears for ‘overwhelmed’ health service

The new, tougher restrictions are due to come into force at 00.01am, on Saturday, December 19.

“So, confirmed that Buckinghamshire now going into tier three. Very disappointing,” wrote Cllr Tett on Twitter.

“I reluctantly accept that the infection rates and other criteria are moving in the wrong direction. We need to follow the rules to protect each other.”

READ MORE: COVID Christmas rules – the ‘dos and don’ts’ over a festive five days

Buckinghamshire has seen its weekly rate of confirmed cases per 100,000 residents climbing since October.

In just over a week, Cllr Tett said he had witnessed the infection rates per 100,000 people rise from 118 to 142 for ‘all ages across Buckinghamshire’.

The current weekly rate now stands at 211, according to Buckinghamshire Council’s COVID-19 Dashboard.

Confirmed cases in Buckinghamshire, as of December 16, stands at 9,790.

When questioned on social media whether “greater precision would have been applied had we four distinct administrative areas” rather than a single, unitary authority, Cllr Tett replied: “No. The infection rates have risen across all the former district areas. Also, all use Bucks hospitals.”

Cllr Warren Whyte added: “Unlikely as we are surrounded by tier three too – Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Berkshire and London.”

Cllr Tett went on to say of the tier three news he is “desperately concerned” about local businesses throughout the county.

Adding: “This includes the hospitality, events and transport (taxis, coaches etc) sectors. I have asked officers to look at what we are able to do with Gov support to help these sectors.”

Another Twitter user demanded the leader include small, limited companies. Adding: “We get no holiday pay, no sick pay, no pension contributions, if we don’t work a day we don’t get paid, we have had no meaningful support, there are 1000s of Bucks businesses on a cliff edge.”

Aylesbury MP Rob Butler added: “The worst news – Buckinghamshire goes into tier three COVID restrictions. I will be asking @MattHancock about this @HouseofCommons in the next hour.”

What are the rules under tier three?

  • No household mixing in or outdoors, in gardens, or hospitality venues
  • Rule of six outdoors
  • Pubs and restaurants should be closed, except for delivery and takeaway services
  • Indoor entertainment venues should close
  • People should avoid travelling in and out of the area
  • Hairdressers can continue to operate