Gloucestershire placed in tier two of new restrictions
By Rob Freeman | 26th November 2020
Gloucestershire has been placed in tier two of the coronavirus restrictions which will replace the national lockdown in England when it ends next week.
From December 2, Gloucestershire will be classified as high alert which is for "areas with a higher or rapidly rising level of infections, where some additional restrictions need to be in place".
It will mean a relaxation of some restrictions with non-essential shops, gyms and hairdressers among those businesses able to reopen, while limited number of spectators will be allowed at sports events.
Restaurants will be able to reopen under certain conditions while pubs will be allowed to open only if they serve "substantial meals" and can only serve drinks with meals.
In the last week of August there were 46 cases in the county and there were no Covid-related deaths.
Earlier this month, there were 1,045 cases - 245 in Cheltenham 207 in Gloucester, 179 in Stroud 147 in The Cotswolds and Tewkesbury and 106 in the Forest of Dean.
The Office for National Statistics has recorded 23 Covid-19 related deaths in the county from November 18-24.
Gloucestershire County Council leader Councillor Mark Hawthorne said: "We need to keep up the fight against Covid, for ourselves, for our families and for people across our county.
"The national restrictions have helped us to begin to turn the corner, but we need to do the rest. Please stick to the new rules and remember Hands, Face, Space.
"We can see vaccines are coming - we need to play our part to keep everyone safe until it can be rolled out."
Only a few areas with low infections rates are in the medium alert tier one - Cornwall, Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.
But both Bristol and South Gloucestershire have been placed in the highest level of tier three along with large parts of the north of England.
Sarah Scott, director of Public Health for Gloucestershire, said: "These new restrictions, whilst not what we would have wanted, will help us to bring down the number of cases in the county and protect those most at risk.
"While the number of cases reduced to around 960 last week and likely to fall again this week, this trend will not continue when restrictions are eased, if the guidance and new restrictions are not followed."
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said people should see the restrictions "not as a boundary to push" but a limit as to what they can do.
The latest levels will be reviewed for possible changes from December 16 so they could alter before Christmas.
The decision will depend on a number of factors, including an area's number of cases, available capacity within the NHS and the level to which people are following the guidance, including getting testing and isolating, if they test positive.
Deborah Fraser, CBI regional director for the South West of England, said: "For many businesses in the South West of England going into toughened tiers while waiting for a vaccine will feel like suspended animation.
"Some parts of the economy, such as retail, can begin to reopen and look towards a recovery. It gives our high streets a chance to rescue some of the vital festive trading period.
"Liverpool's shift to tier two is clear evidence that mass testing can make a real difference on the ground."
Government advice for tier two says:
- You must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting.
- You must not socialise in a group of more than six people outside.
- Businesses and venues can continue to operate in a Covid-secure manner other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs.
- Pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals.
- Hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to provide table service only, close from 11pm-5am (except hospitality venues in airports, ports, transport services and motorway service areas) and stop taking orders after 10pm.
- Venues selling food and drink 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.
- Early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm to conclude performances that start before 10pm.
- Public attendance at outdoor and indoor events, spectator sport and business events is permitted, limited to whichever is lower - 50 per cent capacity or 2,000 people outdoors/1,000 people indoors.
- Places of worship remain open but you must not socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while you are indoors, unless a legal exemption applies.
- Weddings and funerals can go ahead - 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events.
- Organised outdoor sport and physical activity and exercise classes can continue
- Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with). There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing.
- You can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible,
- You must continue to follow tier two rules when you travel to a tier one area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier three areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment or because of caring responsibilities.You can travel through a tier three area as a part of a longer journey.
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