The changes to the county's coronavirus restrictions were made today (August 21) following a review by the Government. This is everything you need to know about how lockdown has changed and how it might affect you and your family.
Darwen and Rossendale brought out of lockdown
It's welcome news for Darwen and Rossendale, with the two districts being brought out of local lockdown from today. This move was first revealed by Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen, following a phone call from health secretary Matt Hancock this morning. You can watch the video announcement from Mr Berry here.
Lancashire Resilience Forum, who are leading the county's response to the pandemic, said Rossendale and Darwen are no longer deemed "areas of intervention" due to low and reducing levels of coronavirus cases in recent weeks.
This means that all restrictions have been removed from the following areas: All of Rossendale, Blackburn South & Lower Darwen, Blackburn South East, Darwen East, Darwen South, Darwen West, Ewood, Livesey with Pleasington, Mill Hill & Moorgate and West Pennine.
But the other districts – Blackburn, Pendle, Burnley, Preston and Hyndburn – will remain "areas of intervention" and will continue to face restrictions on socialising.
Even stricter lockdown imposed in Blackburn and Pendle
The situation has become worse for Blackburn, as well as Pendle, with additional measures brought in to help drive down infections.
The measures will come into force from midnight tomorrow (Saturday, August 22) and are as follows:
- A ban on socialising with anyone you don't live with
- Public transport only to be used for essential travel such as to work or school
- Attendance at major family events, such as weddings and funerals to be restricted to close family and friends, and limits on religious gatherings
- Local restaurants will be encouraged to halt walk-ins, and only seat people who make reservations in advance, up to a maximum of six people
These measures will be underpinned by a significant increase in testing, including at schools and colleges as they prepare to reopen.
Each area will develop a plan for how the changes will be enforced, with central government pledging to provide additional resources.
*The areas of Blackburn and Darwen and Pendle that now face stricter lockdown are listed at the bottom of this report.
And it could have been even worse for Blackburn as plans for a full economic lockdown are avoided
The county's chief coronavirus strategists said a full economic lockdown had been proposed for Blackburn and Pendle, but a decision was made not to take this forward. But Lancashire County Council's chief executive has warned that a "more severe economic lockdown" remains a future option if infections rates do not go down.
Angie Ridgwell, chair of the Lancashire Resilience Forum, said: "These measures are being brought in in parts of Blackburn with Darwen and Pendle to avoid a more severe economic lockdown.
"At this stage, we do not believe that such a blunt instrument would be effective, but be in no doubt that if infections rates do not go down, it is likely that more stringent measures will be brought in.
"I appreciate how difficult it is and how much of an imposition this is to so many people's lives, so I want to thank everyone who is playing their part to reduce infections in Lancashire by abiding by the rules, and ask you please to keep it up as we seek to bring coronavirus under control."
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi said: "The vast majority – more than 80% - of coronavirus transmission in these areas is as a result of households mixing. That's why we are putting out a very clear message – do not socialise with people you don't live with.
"This will prevent you giving coronavirus to your loved ones, putting them at risk of serious illness or even death.
"If you don't live in these specific areas, it is still important for you to abide by the rules. That means that in Preston, Hyndburn and Burnley you should not socialise with others indoors or in your gardens.
"For everyone in Lancashire, you can help control the virus by adhering to social distancing, washing hands regularly, wearing a mask when you should and, if contacted by NHS Test and Trace, self-isolate and provide the details for follow-up."
Areas of Blackburn with Darwen now under stricter lockdown measures:
- Audley & Queen’s Park
- Bastwell & Daisyfield
- Billinge & Beardwood
- Blackburn Central
- Little Harwood & Whitebirk
- Roe Lee
- Shear Brow & Corporation Park
- Wensley Fold
Areas of Pendle now under stricter lockdown measures:
- Clover Hill
The rest of Pendle, and all areas of Hyndburn, Preston and Burnley remain in the area of intervention and are subject to the additional restrictions on indoor socialising.