Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, said: “It is incredibly important that people follow the guidance, stay at home and do not attempt to travel. Our focus must be stopping the spread of this virus, protecting lives and our NHS.
“If you are in Tier 4, the law means you must stay at home and you cannot stay overnight away from home. Across the rest of the country, you must stay local.
“Follow the guidance and please do not come to a station unless you are permitted to travel. Extra BTP officers are being deployed to ensure only those who need to take essential journeys can travel safely.”
Police chiefs are still planning a “softly” approach to minor breaches of the “household bubble” rules in Tiers 1-3 to focus flagrant abuses through raves or house parties, but expect to take a tougher approach at New Year, say sources.
Nick Adderley, Northamptonshire chief constable, said: “None of us want to see overzealous policing, in any context. Of course, if people play their part and do the right thing, they won’t even see an officer this Christmas.”
But he urged the public: “Please don’t lambast the cops on the ground for the changes, they don’t make the rules and most are in the same boat re restrictions.”
Thousands of passengers who booked rail tickets to leave Tier 4 areas before the restrictions will not be refunded.
Travellers with advance single tickets have been invited to re-book on another date, as those living under Tier 4 restrictions are not allowed to travel except for essential reasons.
Rail refund policy is set by the Rail Delivery Group, the industry’s governing body, which is effectively controlled by the Government. One user accused rail companies of “profiteering from the pandemic”.