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Timeline confirmed for decision on updated three-tier coronavirus restrictions and Christmas plans after December 2

Posted on - 22nd November, 2020 - 2:03pm | Author - | Posted in - Fylde News, Health, Politics, Preston News, Ribble Valley News, South Ribble News, Wyre News
Preston's Christmas lights were switched on during Saturday 22 November, but will it be a Merry Christmas this year? Pic: Tony Worrall
Preston’s Christmas lights were switched on during Saturday 22 November, but will it be a Merry Christmas this year? Pic: Tony Worrall

A decision on what coronavirus restrictions will look like after 2 December is imminent.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is understood to be thrashing out the details with cabinet members during Sunday ahead of an announcement to MPs on Monday (23 November).

Preston, and Lancashire, along with the rest of England is in the midst of a second national lockdown.

The city has seen infection rates begin to fall rapidly within the last week – and other areas of Lancashire have seen further falls, to well below the average across England.

LancsLive has reported how Lancaster is lobbying hard to be treated differently to the rest of Lancashire because of it’s low Covid-19 infection rate. South Ribble also has one of the lowest rates in the county, below the average in the rest of the country too.

See the latest coronavirus stats and information for where you live

Reports emerged on Saturday (21 November) evening outlining the timescale for an announcement this week on the return to the three-tiers system of restrictions.

Introduced in October, Lancashire was originally placed into tier-2 but was quickly moved into tier-3 as infection rates rose rapidly.

The BBC has reported the updated tier system will see tighter restrictions in many of the tiers – particularly for the first tier, which has seen questions asked by scientists about the effectiveness of the rule of six.

The Telegraph reported during Saturday a five to six day ‘Christmas break’ with restrictions loosened to allow a number of households to mix indoors between 22-28 December.

Read more: Watch back Preston’s virtual Christmas lights switch on

The government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) is publishing research on Monday and is due to say the previous three-tier restrictions were not strict enough.

A full announcement to the country on Thursday (26 November) will give detail about the Winter Covid Plan and which areas are to see the tightest restrictions.

There are suggestions the tighter restrictions will run throughout December and January, as the trade-off for the relaxation at Christmas to allow families to meet.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak appeared on the Andrew Marr Show during Sunday morning to repeat the line that ‘Christmas is not going to be normal this year’.

He also said the 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants was being looked at being relaxed as part of the new three-tier system.

Read more: Preston Community Hub collecting shoeboxes for Christmas appeal

What were the tier-three restrictions previously?

Preston went into tier-three restrictions on October 17, when the city had one of the 20 highest Covid-19 infection rates in the country. Before this the city had seen enhance measures since early August.

Under tier-3 there was no household mixing indoors or in the majority of outdoor spaces.

Pubs and bars not-serving meals had to close and a number of other facilities, such as soft-play centres also had to close.

Lancashire was due to receive a £42m cheque for additional funding to help it through tier-three restrictions from the government, but Blog Preston understands this is still being negotiated and no payments from the tier-three funds have yet to be paid to individuals, communities or businesses since tier-three restrictions came in.

Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines

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