POLITICIANS would not be drawn on which tier of coronavirus restrictions BCP and Dorset Council areas would go into but warned of the potential economic damage of stricter measures.

The Government is tomorrow expected to detail a breakdown of which parts of England will face the toughest restrictions when the national lockdown ends next week.

The wait on tiers comes as it was reported families will be reunited for up to five days over Christmas after ministers from across the UK agreed to relax coronavirus restrictions.

Up to three households will be allowed to mix from December 23 to 27, Government sources indicated.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said tier decisions would be made based on analysis of cases in all age groups, especially the over-60s; the rate by which cases are rising or falling; the percentage of those tested in a local population who have covid; and the current and projected pressures on the NHS.

Before the second England lockdown was announced at the start of November, there was speculation the BCP area was set to go into Tier 2.

As residents and businesses await information from government, Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood said stricter restrictions would be another blow for key industries across the conurbation.

“We are lobbying really hard to make the case about the economic damage that would herald if we end up in Tier 2,” he said. “Also from the hospitality perspective we are pleased that the 10pm closing has been removed but ultimately the decision will be made on the latest data.

“We can’t make a judgement on that today, we are unlikely to know until right up until December 2 as to where we sit. But it is a reminder the more we are all socially distancing in our lives impacts on the local R rating and therefore it is in everybody’s interest to ensure we continue to follow rules so we can avoid being in the higher tiers.

“I do hope by December 2 we can make sure we get on top of these numbers. I am aware, having spoken to many in the hospitality industry, how difficult this period has been, therefore we need to be extra vigilant so our economy can open up.”

The coronavirus case rates for BCP and Dorset Council areas remain significantly different, with the latest seven-day rate per 100,000 people standing at 174.8 and 85.6, respectively. The local response to coronavirus in both council areas is largely being led by Public Health Dorset.

Sam Crowe, director of Public Health for Dorset and BCP Councils, said: “Central Government will be determining which tier local authorities areas will be in when the national restrictions are lifted on 2 December. We expect this to be announced on Thursday.

“We are still working hard to bring our infection rates down across the Dorset Council and BCP Council areas. The public have all been doing their bit to support this work and we’d urge them to continue following the guidance and help us stop the spread.

“Through our Dorset Health protection Board we are continuing to improve access and provision of testing, supporting people with self-isolating and working closely with communities to tackle transmission of Covid-19 as quickly as possible.”

While North Dorset MP Simon Hoare would not be drawn on which tiers he thought regions would be placed in, he believed a county-wide assessment was appropriate.

“It is probably sensible to view it as a county issue rather than council areas given the exchange of people living in one or the other,” he said.

“What I can say with some degree of confidence, if you look at lockdown one and two, certainly my constituents appear to have been incredibly abiding by the rules and regulations and understanding of their necessity.”

Mid Dorset and North Poole MP Michael Tomlinson said he would press the case for both councils to go in the lowest tier possible, while Poole MP Sir Robert Syms said he would not give his support to the government’s winter plan until he knew which tiers local authorities were placed in.