Lancashire has been added to the list of regions categorised as Tier 3 under Boris Johnson’s three-tier lockdown system.
While the rate of Covid-19 infections is rising rapidly across the whole of the UK, infection rates in Lancashire are among the highest in the country and continuing to soar.
Announcing the emergency measures for Lancashire on Oct 16, the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “An unrelenting rise in cases in Lancashire means we must act now, and we have worked intensively with local leaders to agree on additional restrictions.
“I know how heavy these additional challenges will weigh on everyday life for the people of Lancashire – but they are critical in bringing this virus under control.”
The region, which includes Burnley, Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Chorley, Fylde, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Pendle, Preston, Ribble Valley, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire and Wyre, moved to Tier 3 at midnight on Saturday 17 Oct 17.
These measures will be reviewed every 14 days to consider whether they are still appropriate.
Under Tier 3 restrictions, or the very high alert level, all social mixing indoors and in private gardens is prohibited, and pubs and bars must close unless they are serving substantial meals .
People must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue. In addition to these measures, gyms and leisure centres, betting centres, adult game centres and casinos will also close.
People are advised to avoid travelling outside the very-high alert level or entering a very-high alert level area, other than for work, education or for caring responsibilities or to travel through as part of a longer journey
What is the three-tier system?
Local lockdowns are automatically triggered by a three-tier Covid alert level system, which divides the country into different areas based on local infection rates, which dictates the severity of local lockdowns.
It works alongside the NHS Test and Trace app, where people scan a special QR code to enter and exit pubs, restaurants and bars. The app sends a message to the user about lockdown conditions when the coronavirus risk profile changes.
In England, there are currently zero areas in the UK that are considered low risk by the new app.
England has been divided into one of three tiers, each of which will have predetermined restrictions.
Tier one, or medium alert level, covers most of the country and consists of the current national measures, such as the rule of six and the closure of hospitality at 10pm.
Tier two, or high alert level, bans households or support bubbles from meeting each other indoors. However separate households can meet outdoors and in public gardens providing that the rule of six is followed.
Tier three, or very high alert level, bans social mixing indoors and in private gardens altogether, and bars and pubs will be closed as a baseline. However, the Government will decide with local authorities on whether further measures, including further restrictions on the hospitality, leisure, entertainment and personal care sectors. Retail, schools and universities will still remain open in these areas.
Can I travel in the lockdown areas?
You should try not to share a car with those outside your household or social bubble. If you need to, the Government advises you to:
Share the transport with the same people each time. Keep to small groups of people at any one time Open windows for ventilation Travel side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them. Face away from each other. Consider seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle. Clean your car between journeys using standard cleaning products – make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch. Ask the driver and passengers to wear a face mask.
Can I visit my family in one of the lockdown areas?
Those who are in Tier 3 then cannot mix between households in any indoor setting. Households outside Tier 3 cannot visit you. However, you can meet other households outdoors and in private gardens providing that the rule of six is followed.
People living in the Tier 3 lockdown zones must not meet anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. The “Rule of Six” applies in open public spaces like parks and beaches
Should I shield?
Millions of people who shielded during first lockdown will not be told to stay home this time, as health officials admit policy caused “harm” and “left people feeling imprisoned”.
But more than 2 million people who are considered “clinically extremely vulnerable” will be told to take practical steps to reduce exposure to the virus – such as only meeting others outdoors if possible.