With our minds no doubt still full of the various measures that have dictated daily life at different times since the national lockdown was first imposed – and gradually lifted – this is our guide to exactly what is permitted in Preston right now.
Where do the new rules apply?
It might sound like a daft question, but the partial lockdown only covers the area served by Preston City Council. People living in other districts - like South Ribble, Ribble Valley and Wyre - are not affected. That means that not even all households with a Preston postcode fall within the restricted zone.
If you’re unsure which council area you live in, you can find out by entering your postcode at gov.uk/find-local-council - or check the local authority logo on your wheelie bin.
Some villages and towns lie only partly within Preston’s borders, meaning the rules will apply in some areas, but not others.
Although people outside the Preston City Council area are not directly affected by the restrictions, they will still dictate what you can do in Preston and what Prestonians can do in your area (see below).
What are the main things you cannot do in the lockdown zone?
***If you live in the Preston City Council area, you must not meet people you do not live with inside their home or garden, nor allow them to visit you in your own home or garden. People who have previously formed a so-called ”support bubble” – where a single adult joins up with another household - are exempt and can continue to mix. Other exceptions to this rule include visiting someone who may be dying, providing care or assistance to a vulnerable person or escaping the risk of injury, illness or harm.
***You must not visit someone else’s home or garden even if they live outside of Preston, in places like South Ribble and Chorley.
***You must not socialise with people you do not live with in other indoor public venues – such as pubs, restaurants, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions. If you run a business or organise events, you should take steps to ensure people do not interact with people they do not live with.
What about going to work?
People living in Preston can continue to travel out of the city for work – and people living outside Preston can continue to travel in for the same purpose.
Can I visit someone in a care home?
Sadly not - you must not visit friends or family in care homes at the moment - except in exceptional circumstances, as determined by the care home operator.
Can people still look after my children?
While people living in Preston can continue to use childminders and nannies, they are not permitted to allow people into their home as part of an informal childcare arrangement – say, between family members who do not live with you or neighbours. People who have formed a support bubble are exempt from that restriction.
Children whose parents are separated or do not live together can still travel between households to continue to allow each parent access.
What if I was previously on the shielded list?
The national shielding advice was “paused” on 1st August, meaning that people who are extremely clinical vulnerable to coronavirus were allowed to return to more normal activities such as going to work and the shops - if they chose to do so.
That situation is unaltered by the new restrictions in Preston, but Lancashire’s director of public health last week warned former shielders in the city to be extremely cautious when going about their business, urging them to “maintain two-metre social distance, wash their hands and avoid crowded places”.
Can people come into my home to carry out work?
Yes, people can come inside for a “specific purpose”, such as to carry out repairs – but they should follow Covid safety guidance at all times.
Can I go to a place of worship?
Yes, but you should maintain social distance from people you don't live with.
Are pubs and restaurants staying open and can I go there with people?
They are remaining open, but you can only visit with members of your own household or support bubble. You should not arrange to meet with members of other households at such venues and if you do see anybody you know once you are there, you should not interact with them. Enforcement teams from Lancashire Police and Preston City Council are carrying out patrols and, as the Post reported, people were sent home last weekend after being found to have flouted the rules.
Are non-essential shops staying open?
Yes, but you must not meet others from outside your household there and should maintain social distancing and wear a mask, as now required by law, unless you have a medical reason or disability that means you are unable to do so.
Can we meet up outside?
Yes, but only in public spaces like parks, not private gardens. No more than six people can meet from multiple households but more than six people are permitted to meet up if the gathering consists of only two households and their support bubbles. Social distancing should be maintained at all times.
Can people travel outside of Preston?
There is nothing stopping Prestonians from travelling outside of the city – providing it is not to visit people in their homes or gardens or other indoor public spaces. You can also travel elsewhere to go on holiday, but only with members of your own household or support bubble.
Can I attend a wedding or funeral?
Yes, but the nationwide rules on such events continue to apply – there must be no more than 30 people attending, it must be in a Covid-secure venue and wedding receptions are not currently permitted.
Prestonians cannot meet others from outside their household in a private house or garden as part of any wedding or funeral – whether in the city or elsewhere. People living in Preston can travel outside the city for weddings and funerals, but the same rule about indoor mixing of households still applies to them. They can meet up to six people from different households outdoors, while socially distanced.
What will happen if I break any of the rules?
The police can issue fixed penalty notices of £100, which are halved if paid within 14 days – but can double for subsequent offences up to a maximum of £3,200.
WHAT SHOULD WE ALL BE DOING TO STOP THE SPREAD OF COVID?
Whether in Preston or elsewhere, the basic guidance remains:
***Maintain two-metre social distancing wherever possible – or at least one metre with extra precautions such as a face mask.
***Regularly wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds in soap and water – or use hand gel with at least 60 percent alcohol content.
***Get a test if you experience even mild possible symptoms of Covid – a new, persistent cough, a high temperature or loss of taste and/or smell.