Essex County Council is aiming to bring the county into Tier 1 restrictions "as quickly as possible".

Today it was announced the county would be place in Tier 2 when the national lockdown ends on December 2.

Essex finds itself in the same banding it entered lockdown on November 5, despite council leader David Finch claiming earlier this month he was "confident" the county was "well placed" to emerge from lockdown in Tier 1.

Under the updated Tier 2 restrictions, social mixing outside of individual households will not be allowed indoors and the rule of six will still apply outdoors.

Pubs and bars and restaurants can open but only serve alcohol with substantial meals.

Businesses including shops can open, in a Covid-Secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs.

Cllr John Spence, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care or Health, said: “In October, council leaders across Essex unanimously made the decision to request Essex be placed into Tier 2 restrictions due to the exponential growth in cases of coronavirus across the county.

“When we recommended entry into tier two, national lockdown had been ruled out as an option. Subsequently it re-emerged, so actually, the impact of our recommendation on Essex was short lived.

"However, the decision had a positive impact. In the weeks following entry to Tier 2 there was a significant flattening of the upward curve and regionally, Essex’s case rate reduced, from being in the top three council areas to the bottom two."

He added: “We recognise that there is still work to be done. We understand that going back into Tier 2 will be hard for many, but we must all work together, follow the restrictions in order to save further lives and continue to protect our NHS.

“We have a clear incentive. Our aim is to bring the rate of transmission and covid hospital occupancy down so that Essex can be placed in the lowest tier of restrictions as quickly as possible.

"With the help of everyone who lives and works here we can achieve this. Now more than ever, we need people to follow the rules of hand, face, space, work from home if possible, and always socially distance”