Moving more areas into the toughest Tier 4 restrictions from Boxing Day to combat a fast-spreading mutant coronavirus strain will take the entire number of non-essential shops, hairdressers and gymnasiums closed across the country to around 220,000, data shows.

Retail and hospitality chiefs have urged ministers to increase a business rates holiday beyond April next year, and to hurry up the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Josh Hardie, CBI deputy director general, said: “The rapid rise in infections is alarming, so it’s only right the govt is taking measures to bring the amount of cases right down to protect public health.

The figures from land adviser Altus Group came as business and union leaders expressed concern at the widening crackdown and demanded increased support to stop firms going bust and jobs being lost.

“While some retailers and entertainment venues have already taken precautionary measures by deciding to shut , many others will lose out from one among the busiest periods of the year which brings in billions of pounds.”

“However, with more areas getting into higher tiers even more businesses face insurmountable pressure after such a troublesome year.

By Joseph

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