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What Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire’s coronavirus restrictions are under the new Local COVID alert level

Posted on - 12th October, 2020 - 7:39pm | Author - | Posted in - Health, Politics, Preston Council, Preston News
Walking across the Flag Market in Preston city centre Pic: Tony Worrall
Walking across the Flag Market in Preston city centre Pic: Tony Worrall

Preston and South Ribble, along with the rest of Lancashire, will see amended coronavirus restrictions from Wednesday (14 October).

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The government today confirmed the introduction of its ‘three tier system’ of the Local COVID alert level.

Starting at medium, the three-tier system goes to high and then very high for local areas.

Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire have all been judged to be in the ‘high’ category.

The city is to see a slight loosening of the restrictions, as the rule of six now applied to gatherings in private gardens or outdoor spaces.

Previously Prestonians were told to avoid mixing with anyone outside of their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting. These restrictions had been in place, and slowly toughened up, since early August.

What are the new restrictions?

Below, from Wednesday (14 October), are the restrictions for the city and the county:

  • you must not socialise with anybody outside of your household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other spaces like beaches or parks (other than where specific exemptions apply in law)
  • businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law
  • certain businesses are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and must close between 10pm and 5am
  • businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
  • schools, universities and places of worship remain open
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees, weddings to 15 and funerals to 30 people
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with, or for youth or disability sport
  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but should look to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible

In addition you must wear a face covering in areas where it is mandated

Those who can work from home, are being told to do so.

Anyone using public transport is advised to plan ahead and avoid busy times, walking or cycling is encouraged instead.

See the latest coronavirus stats and figures for your area by entering your postcode below

What did the Prime Minister say?

Boris Johnson said: “The “high” alert level reflects the interventions in many local areas at the moment.

“This primarily aims to reduce household to household transmission, by preventing all mixing between different households or support bubbles indoors.

“In these areas, the Rule of Six will continue to apply outdoors, where it is harder for the virus to spread, in public spaces as well as private gardens.

“Most areas which are already subject to local restrictions will automatically move into the “high” alert level.”

How did Preston city council’s leader respond?

Councillor Matthew Brown said: “We are pleased we have remained in Tier 2 regulations for the time being, after lots of negotiations this weekend.

“Government appear to adopt a very restrictive approach, which won’t tackle the pandemic based on our own public health evidence.

“We will consider further restrictions but feel this must be evidence based and be accompanied by proper support for effective test and trace and local people and businesses.”

Cllr Brown has been calling for councils to play a more active role and receive more funding to tackle localised outbreaks.

Read more: Two Preston ‘food outlets’ handed ‘closure’ notices for breaching curfew rules

What did Lancashire’s leader have to say?

Lancashire County Council along with the county’s two unitary authorities – Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen – as well as all 12 unitary authorities – such as Preston – spent the weekend locked in negotiations with Whitehall.

County Council leader Geoff Driver said: “The stark truth is that Lancashire has some of the highest infection rates in the country and it is highly likely that more restrictions are on their way. Our job is to make sure that we get the best possible package of support for Lancashire people and, as our talks with government continue, we will fight for that on your behalf.”

What do health experts say?

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi

Director of public health for Lancashire, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, said: “We have had restrictions on our lives since March and we are all tired, but with infections on the rise it is now more important than ever that we play our part to prevent its spread.

“Lives are at stake here, and it could be the lives of the people closest to you.

“The most important thing you can do when you interact with people you don’t live with is to keep your distance. Combined with regular handwashing and wearing a mask this vastly reduces your risk of getting infected or passing it on if you have it.

“I’ve got a simple message – hands, face, space actually works. Please follow it to protect you and those you love.”

Read more: Preston’s MP warns thousands of Prestonians face ‘cliff edge’ when furlough ends

What would a very high level alert mean?

The very high alert level for coronavirus would see pubs and bars closed, and a call for those within high alert areas to avoid travelling out of the area.

The Liverpool City region is the first place in England to be classed as ‘very high’ by the government when the new restrictions start on Wednesday.

Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines

What do you make of the government’s announcement? Let us know in the comments below

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