Have Christmas visitors flocked to Suffolk coast?
- Credit: Archant
Suffolk's coastal resorts have reported differing levels of Christmas visitors after pictures emerged of thousands of Londoners leaving the capital before Tier 4 restrictions came into effect.
London, along with many other parts of the south-east, has been placed under strict new Tier 4 lockdown measures as coronavirus cases begin to surge.
The government made the decision to introduce a harsher tier after a new strain of Covid-19 - called VUI-202012/01 - was found to be spreading among the population.
The new strain, which has been identified in Ipswich by Suffolk health bosses, is believed to be more contagious and spreads more easily.
Residents living in Tier 4 areas are not permitted to travel, unless it is for essential reasons, and will not be allowed to mix households during the Christmas period, with the exception of support bubbles.
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Pictures emerged on Saturday evening of London railway stations full of passengers, sparking fears the virus could be spread to other parts of the country.
Suffolk coastal towns, such as Southwold and Aldeburgh, are popular second home destinations for affluent Londoners.
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Southwold - which consists of around 60% second homes - has experienced a surge in visitors over the last few days, according to mayor Ian Bradbury.
He said: "We are rammed. I think people are taking the mick a little bit.
"Probably 80% of people are paying attention to the rules, but you will always have mavericks.
"We are back to where we were at the first lockdown. We are in a pincer movement here - we can't go to the east, so we are waiting to be inundated.
"These decisions ought to have been taken earlier."
But in Aldeburgh, the situation is much different.
Mayor Sara Fox said her business, The Aldeburgh Market, had not become busier in the last few days - but said the town could experience an increase in visitors closer to Christmas.
She said: "I don't think there has been a big exodus to Aldeburgh, frankly. We are certainly getting cancellations for Christmas.
"I haven't as yet seen any indication that it's busy at the moment.
"But Monday may be the day we find out."