Large crowds of desperate shoppers crammed into Bluewater shopping centre last night as people tried to grab last-minute presents and supplies.
Hundreds of people were spotted inside the large north kent shopping centre, and lines of traffic built up on the A2 outside after Boris Johnson announced that London and Kent were to be plunged into Tier 4 restrictions Saturday afternoon (December 19).
Bluewater tweeted out earlier today confirming that in line with government guidance, non-essential stores are now closed, along with all season events at the centre.
Essential stores, including the John Lewis Foodhall and M&S, are allowed to remain open, as are takeaways, but the vast majority have been hit by the restrictions.
And shoppers were pictured packing out the Greenhithe complex, making the most of their last chance to buy presents and supplies ahead of Christmas.
One worker said this was surely a “clear example of how the tier system isn’t working and the failure of Boris/the Conservative government.
#bluewater in #Kent , soon to be #tier4 ! Surely this should be a clear example of how the #tiersystem isn’t working and the failure of @BorisJohnson @Conservatives government. (Btw I was LEAVING work, not shopping) pic.twitter.com/N7w3decXK3
— Aphra Gluck (@GluckAphra) December 19, 2020
Another posted on Twitter said she had “never seen it so busy.”
“Traffic was mental. The world and his wife headed out for last-minute shopping.
“And people wonder how we have been put in Tier 4.”
And hundreds also used yesterday evening to flee the capital and north Kent, with pictures showing major train stations packed out with desperate passengers.
It comes after Boris Johnson made the shock announcement that large parts of eastern and south-east England, including London, would be placed under Tier 4 restrictions.
Tier 4 – which is the highest possible level in England – effectively returns residents to the rules in place during the national lockdown.
Mr Johnson told a Downing Street press conference at 4pm on Saturday that the rules would come into effect at midnight.
By 7pm on Saturday evening, there were no trains available online from several London stations including Paddington, Kings Cross and Euston.
In line with government guidance non-essential stores at Bluewater are now closed. Our essential stores (including John Lewis Foodhall and M&S), takeaway food options and our car park are still open. Some brands will be offering click and collect. Stay safe! pic.twitter.com/nNRekVwS15
— Bluewater (@TweetBluewater) December 20, 2020
In his speech yesterday, Boris Johnson explained: “These areas will enter a new Tier 4, which will be broadly equivalent to the national restrictions in place in England in November,” the Conservative leader explained.
“That means residents in those areas must stay at home, apart from limited exemptions set out in law.
“Non-essential retail, gyms and leisure facilities, and personal care services must close. People must work from home where they can.
“People should not enter or leave Tier 4 areas, and Tier 4 residents must not stay overnight away from home.
“Individuals can only meet one person from another household in an outdoor space.”