SWINDON'S MPs warned the people of the town will only be able to enjoy Christmas with their loved ones if they follow the rules over the next month.

Boris Johnson unveiled a tougher three-tier system of Covid restrictions for England this afternoon. The government will announce which regions are in which tier on Thursday.

The 56-page Covid-19 winter plan states that the ‘stay at home’ order will end on Wednesday next week and the 'rule of six' will return.

Non-essential shops, hairdressers, gyms, and leisure facilities are set to reopen across the country and collective worship and wedding can resume.

The previous curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants will be extended to 11pm, but they must remain as takeaway-only services, delivery and drive-through in Tier 3.

In a speech to the House of Commons this afternoon, Mr Johnson said: “I can’t say that Christmas will be normal this year, but in a period of adversity time spent with loved ones is even more precious.”

Following the announcement, South Swindon MP Robert Buckland told the Adver: “Only by keeping the virus under control through December, even when national restrictions fall away, can we be able to see friends and family over Christmas in a relatively safe way.

“Even though vaccinations will start next month, we need to keep some level of restrictions at a local level to control the virus.

“It’s vital that Swindon residents stick to the local rules so we can avoid a national lockdown.”

The rule of six will be the same both indoors and outdoors in tier 1 while such meetings will only be allowed outdoors in tiers 2 and 3.

North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson said: “I am pleased that, as we have made good progress on mass testing and on the vaccine front, we can now move away from national restrictions on December 2.

"We will once again take a localised approach, which will ensure that we keep the virus under control. We should be in no doubt that the virus is still present, so these strengthened local restrictions make sure we don’t risk all our work to date.

“This will be good news for both businesses and individuals. Depending on which tier you are in, hospitality businesses will be able to operate again, and people will be able to return to gyms, sports, public worship and all those other things that make life worth living.

“However, as mentioned above, the virus is still with us and adherence to these tiers is how we avoid another national lockdown.

"We must keep the virus under control through December, as we move to a localised approach. This will ensure that we can see friends and family over Christmas in a relatively safe way. The tier system will then gradually reduce as mass testing increases and vaccines are rolled out through winter and into the spring, allowing life to return closer to normality once again.”

The announcement of the new measures came as the Oxford-AstraZeneca team announced its vaccine had proved 70 per cent effective.

Labour councillor Jim Robbins said: “I’m cautiously optimistic for an end to the pandemic following the vaccine announcements and am keen to see what tier Swindon will be in when the new tiers are announced.

“I was really hoping that the Government would finally get to grips with the Serco test, track and trace system during the current lockdown, but that doesn’t seem to have happened.

“I hope that the people of Swindon will be able to have some sort of Christmas with their families and just hope that that it doesn’t lead to a huge spike in cases in January.”