'Ribble Valley should have been left out of Lancashire Covid restrictions,' council leader says

Ribble Valley residents should be spared the additional coronavirus restrictions that have been brought in across most of Lancashire, because they should be rewarded for helping to achieve a low infection rate in the area.
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That was the call from the leader of the borough council, moments after the government announced that all parts of the county except Blackpool will be subject to new rules from 22nd September to help stem the spread of Covid-19.

They will ban mixing of households in homes and gardens and also require hospitality venues to be closed between 10am and 5am. Pubs and restaurants will also be restricted to table service.

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Meanwhile, residents are being strongly advised to avoid using public transport unless it is essential, not to attend professional or amateur sporting events as a spectator.

Cllr Stephen AtkinsonCllr Stephen Atkinson
Cllr Stephen Atkinson

Cllr Stephen Atkinson said that he could understand that there had to be a uniform position regarding pub closing times – “Otherwise you would get people from more infectious areas travelling in to Ribble Valley to take advantage of later opening hours,” he said.

However, the Conservative leader added: “Ribble Valley is in the lowest 45 percent in the country when it comes to infection rates.

“We don’t believe it’s justified to restrict people’s movements in their homes and gardens. We’d ask the government to review the situation for Ribble Valley next week, because there has got to be a positive upside for areas which have managed to establish low infection rates, in order to encourage compliance with the regulations,” Cllr Atktinson appealed.

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In the week to 14th September, Ribble Valley had the fewest cases of coronavirus recorded in Lancashire – 14 – and the lowest infection rate – 23 positive tests per 100,000 people. However, both measures had increased on the week before.