Covid: What restrictions have been imposed in Preston?
Preston has been added to the areas where households are banned from mixing indoors and in gardens due to a rise coronavirus cases.
But what restrictions have been imposed and what will it all mean for people living here?
– What has the Government announced?
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said on Friday that Preston will become the latest place to be included in a ban on households gathering in homes and gardens.
It follows restrictions being imposed on Greater Manchester and parts of East Lancashire and West Yorkshire the previous week.
Similar restrictions also apply to Leicester, which saw the first so-called “local lockdown” imposed on June 29.
The DHSC said that restrictions in those areas will remain in place for another week.
– Which areas are affected?
The new restrictions come into force in Preston from midnight on Friday.
Restrictions will continue to apply in Greater Manchester, including the City of Manchester, Trafford, Stockport, Oldham, Bury, Wigan, Bolton, Tameside, Rochdale and Salford.
They also apply to Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle and Rossendale in Lancashire, and Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees in West Yorkshire.
– Why have restrictions been imposed in Preston?
The DHSC said that Preston was added to the list of areas under restriction at the request of the local authority.
It has been added to Public Health England (PHE) and the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s watch list as an “area of intervention”.
The rate of new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 population in Preston has jumped from 21.7 in the seven days to July 28 to 42.6 in the week up to August 4, according to new PHE data.
It has reported 61 new case in the seven days to August 4.
Lancashire’s director of public health, Sakthi Karunanithi, said the “two main reasons” for the rise in infections were people meeting others in their houses and households coming together in venues such as pubs.
– What does this mean for the people living in Preston?
The Government said that people from different households – those who do not live together – will not be permitted to meet in a private home or garden, unless they are part of a support bubble.
– Does this mean two households cannot meet up at all?
People will still be able to meet in groups of two households, or six people from any number of households, in “outdoor public spaces” – but not in people’s gardens.
Guidance issued for Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire said people should continue to socially distance from anyone they do not live with and avoid physical contact.
– Have shops, bars, restaurants and other local businesses had to close down?
No, unlike the Leicester lockdown this has not happened.
While these places remain open, people are urged only to go with members of their own household and to maintain social distancing from others.
But the DHSC said that in Leicester, Blackburn with Darwen and Bradford, indoor gyms, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor sports courts and facilities and indoor swimming pools, including indoor facilities at water parks must remain closed.
– What about if I have been shielding, can I stop on August 1 with the rest of England?
The DHSC said that shielding continues for people living in Blackburn with Darwen in the North West and Leicester city.
– How will the restrictions be enforced?
The Government has passed new laws to enforce the changes in areas of Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire, which mean people who break the rules can be issued a £100 fine.
Lancashire Police said extra officers would be deployed to Preston following the introduction of new restrictions, which come into force at midnight on Friday.
Its Deputy Chief Constable Terry Woods said the force would be working with other agencies to go into pubs and bars, check CCTV and speak to customers to ensure households were not mixing together.
The DHSC said that guidance “will make clear that people should not be gathering with other households anywhere indoors”.
– Why have the new restrictions been kept in place on the other areas?
The DHSC said that the latest data did not show any evidence of a decrease in the number of cases per 100,000 people in the area.
Therefore Health Secretary Matt Hancock, in close collaboration with local leaders, has agreed that the rules must remain in place, it added.
– How long will the restrictions be in force?
The restrictions on gatherings will be reviewed again next week with any changes to be announced by August 14, the DHSC said.