Lockdown rules eased across swathes of northern England
Local lockdowns across large parts of northern England are set to be eased further, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced.
It means a whole host of businesses will finally be allowed to reopen in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire.
The new rules apply in all areas except Bolton, which was on the cusp of coming out of lockdown this week only for the Government to U-turn at the last minute after the town recorded the highest number of new infections in Britain.
Casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres and indoor play areas will be able to reopen on Tuesday, bringing these areas in line with the rest of the country.
Socially distanced indoor performances will also be able to resume, and restrictions will be lifted on close contact beauty treatments such as eyebrow threading.
However a ban on people from different households meeting indoors will remain in place in many areas for at least another week.
The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: ‘We have been asking the Government to consider easing restrictions on business opening across Greater Manchester and welcome the Secretary of State’s positive announcement today.
‘There is no evidence that these businesses are causing the spread of the virus and we know that these premises are making arrangements to operate in a safe way.
‘It is understandable that this won’t apply in Bolton for the time being, but we will be working hard with Bolton Council and partners to move to a position where the restrictions on business opening can be eased as soon as possible.
‘However, it is important people continue to follow the rules on no social gatherings in the home and the public health advice on washing hands, face coverings and social distancing.’
Elsewhere, swimming pools, gyms and sports facilities will be allowed to open from Tuesday in Leicester and the remaining areas of Blackburn with Darwen and Bradford where the restrictions were still in place.
This will bring these locations in line with the national rules brought in on July 25 and means every pool, gym and sports facility across the country has been given permission to reopen.
In Leicester, there will still be a series of restrictions that will be reviewed next Friday, including on indoor gatherings.
Casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys and other businesses opening up elsewhere will remain shut in Leicester. Socially distanced indoor performances will not be allowed and restrictions on certain close contact services will remain.
The changes come after discussions with local leaders, NHS Test and Trace, the Joint Biosecurity Centre and the Chief Medical Officer for England.
Mr Hancock said: ‘I’m very glad we’ve been able to make this change, working with local councils, because local lockdowns are working to control the virus.
‘We are seeing improvements in the rates of infection thanks to the huge efforts made by local communities and authorities working alongside our effective Test and Trace system.
‘We must stay alert and I continue to encourage everyone to play their part by following local rules, self-isolating and requesting a free test as soon as they get any symptoms.’
The Government’s also announced that Leeds, South Tyneside, Corby, Middlesbrough and Kettering have been added to the Government’s Covid-19 watchlist as ‘areas of concern’.
Norfolk, Rossendale and Northampton will be classed as ‘areas of enhanced support’, meaning the Government will work with local authorities to provide additional resources – such as testing or contact tracing.
Newark and Sherwood, Slough and Wakefield were removed from the watchlist.
What’s changing next?
Local lockdown restrictions are to be lifted in large parts of England following a reduction in coronavirus infection rates, the Government has confirmed.
On Friday Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced a range of changes to restrictions and confirmed which ones will remain in place:
Which restrictions have been lifted?
- Casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres and indoor play areas can reopen on Tuesday in Lancashire, West Yorkshire and in Greater Manchester apart from Bolton.
- Socially distanced indoor performances will also be able to resume in these areas, along with remaining restrictions on certain close contact services.
- Indoor swimming pools, including water parks, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor gyms and sports courts and facilities will be able to reopen from Tuesday in Leicester, and the remaining parts of Blackburn with Darwen and remaining parts of Bradford.
Which restrictions will remain in place?
- In Oldham, residents will still be advised to avoid mixing with anyone from another household anywhere.
- In Bolton, casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres and indoor play areas (including soft play areas), will remain closed. Socially distanced indoor performances will remain banned, and restrictions on certain close contact services will remain.
- A ban on two households mixing indoors will continue in City of Manchester, Salford, Rochdale, Trafford, Oldham, Bury, Bolton, and Tameside.
- A ban on two households mixing indoors will continue in Preston, Pendle and parts of Blackburn.
- In parts of Blackburn and parts of Pendle residents will continue to be advised to avoid mixing with anyone from another household anywhere.
- Casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres, and indoor play areas (including soft play areas), will remain banned in Leicester.
- Socially distanced indoor performances will remain banned, and restrictions on certain close contact services will remain.
- In urban areas of Bradford, the ban on indoor household gatherings will remain in place.
- In Kirklees, the ban on indoor household gatherings will continue in Dewsbury and Batley.
- The ban will also continue in parts of Calderdale.
What has happened with the Government’s watchlist?
- Based on the latest data, Newark and Sherwood, Slough and Wakefield will be removed as areas to watch.
- Leeds, South Tyneside, Corby, Middlesbrough and Kettering have been added to the watchlist as areas of concern.
- Norfolk, Rossendale and Northampton will be added as “areas of enhanced support”, meaning the Government will work with local authorities to provide additional resources, such as testing or contact tracing.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected]
For more stories like this, check our news page.
Source: Read Full Article