The relaxation of Covid restrictions around Christmas will be limited to just Christmas Day.
Speaking at Downing Street Boris Johnson also revealed some places in London and the South East will enter into a new Tier 4.
London and the South East will face new restrictions similar to those of the national lockdown last month.
Swindon and Wiltshire will remain in Tier 2.
Tier 4 restrictions include:
- People must stay at home, apart from certain exceptions
- Non-essential retail, indoor gyms and leisure facilities and personal care services must close
- People must work from home if they can, unless it is not possible
- People should not enter or leave Tier 4 areas and people living in Tier 4 must not stay overnight away from home
- They can only meet one person from another household in an outdoor public space
- Communal worship can continue
Any households in Tier 4 should not mix at Christmas.
Elsewhere in the UK up to three households can meet, but this will be limited to Christmas Day only rather than the five days previously allowed.
Mr Johnson told a Downing Street news conference that he was making the changes with a very heavy heart.
He said: “I know how much emotion people invest in this time of year, and how important it is, for instance, for grandparents to see their grandchildren, for families to be together.
“So I know how disappointing this will be. But we have said throughout this pandemic that we must and we will be guided by the science.
“When the science changes, we must change our response.”
People throughout England are advised to stay local and avoid overseas travel, while those in Tier 4 will only be able to go abroad for essential business.
The new Tier 4 restrictions will apply in all Tier 3 areas in the South East – covering Kent, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey (excluding Waverley), Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings.
It will also apply in London (all 32 boroughs and the City of London) and the East of England – Bedford, Central Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough, Hertfordshire and Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring).