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This afternoon the Prime Minister announced that Lincolnshire as a whole which is currently in Tier 3 would enter the new Tier 4: Stay at Home alert level from 00:01 Thursday 31st December 2020.

This means residents in Tier 4 areas cannot meet other people indoors, including over the New Year period, unless they live with them, or they are part of their existing support bubble. Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household.

The decision follows a rapid rise in infections attributed to the rapid spread of a new variant of COVID-19.

Tier 4 restrictions mean all non-essential businesses, indoor gyms, hairdressers, entertainment and leisure venues and hospitality must all close.

Boston Borough Council will continue to provide essential services for its residents, as well as support for the most vulnerable members of the community.

I understand that residents will be extremely downhearted that Boston will be in Tier 4: Stay at Home from midnight and moving into the New Year with so much uncertainty. However, it has never been more critical that we all continue to abide by the government guidance.

Despite infection rates coming down in Lincolnshire the Government have decided Tier 4 restrictions are needed here. By staying at home we will all be protecting our loved ones from the spread of this deadly virus. Stick to the hands, face, space guidelines, and, if you develop any symptoms, however mild they may be, then please self-isolate and get tested.

We will as a council continue to provide essential council services for our residents and support the most vulnerable members of our community. It is critical that as a community we all pull together once more to protect each other from the spread of coronavirus.

Councillor Paul SkinnerLeader - Boston Borough Council

Despite infection rates coming down in Lincolnshire, the government has decided Tier 4 restrictions are needed here.

We realise this will be difficult news for some, particularly those shops and businesses that will have to close, and we'll continue to press for them to receive the necessary support.

However, we can't ignore the increasing pressure on hospitals, and I urge everyone to stick to the new restrictions. Keep to the hands, face, space guidelines, and, if you develop any symptoms, no matter how mild, then please self-isolate and get tested.

Today's approval of the new vaccine means we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, let's not be complacent and let things slip, as we aren't out of the woods yet.

I'd like to wish you all a happy New Year, and remind everyone to be safe and stick to the rules on New Year's Eve.

Councillor Martin HillLeader - Lincolnshire County Council