Essex could potentially move into a new tier of coronavirus restrictions before Christmas.

Minister announced today the county would be placed in Tier 2 of the Government’s revamped Covid system when it emerges from the national lockdown on December 2.

Under Tier 2 rules, the ‘rule of six’ will be enforced, meaning no more than six people can gather to socialise in outdoor spaces but not inside.

Pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants, and hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with “substantial” meals.

However, there is a chance the county finds itself placed in a new tier before Christmas.

Allocated tiers will be reviewed on Wednesday, December 16.

Essex County Council will have two weeks to bring down infection rates and make its case for less stringent rules.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice made by people up and down the country, we are able to move out of national lockdown and into more targeted local, tiered restrictions.

“I know for those of you faced with tier three restrictions this will be a particularly difficult time but I want to reassure you that we’ll be supporting your areas with mass community testing and extra funding.

“By following the rules together we can get out of these tough measures.