North Somerset to move into tier 3 after end of nationwide lockdown

Health leaders are urging people to follow Covid advice as cases rise above the regional average in

Health leaders are urging people to follow Covid advice as cases rise above the regional average in North Somerset. - Credit: Archant

North Somerset will be placed in tier 3 next week when England's national lockdown ends.

The Government announced the area will go into a 'very high level' of alert – known as tier 3 – at the end of England’s national lockdown on Wednesday. Tiers will be reviewed every 14 days.

Health leaders say the figures show the latest lockdown has had a positive impact and everyone 'needs to keep going' to continue the trend to reduce the number and impact of cases and move North Somerset as quickly as possible into a lower tier of alert.

People are urged to keep up their hands, face and space efforts as coronavirus case numbers start to come down.

North Somerset Council’s executive member for health, councillor Mike Bell, said: “No one wants to be in the situation of having to continue tough restrictions in North Somerset.

“This lockdown has put a significant strain on many parts of our community, especially those who need to take extra care during Covid and our hospitality sector, and the decision to keep us in a high level of alert means these difficulties are not yet at an end.

“But what we are doing is working. Our case rates are coming down. If we keep doing what we’re doing we can move down the tiers and have more normality, as fast as possible.”

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The second lockdown saw an initial surge in coronavirus cases, peaking at a rate of 305.5 per 100,000 in a seven-day period – nearly four and a half times as many as the 68.4 per 100,000 during the peak in the first lockdown.

Rates have fallen over recent days and stand at 214.4 per 100,000 yesterday (Wednesday).

But the local pattern is still above the regional average and higher than when the second lockdown began; 237.2 per 100,000 on November 5.

The council's director of Public Health, Matt Lenny, said: “The changes we all made to stay at home as much as possible since November 5 have made a difference.

“I understand it is challenging to keep going but we have the power to reduce the impact of this virus if we follow the same basic advice.

“Washing our hands as much as possible, wearing a face covering if we can, and keeping at least two metres away from anyone who is not part of our household or support bubble, are still the most important things any one of us can do in the fight against the virus.

"It is also very important that anyone who needs to get a test should request one as quickly as possible and if you are symptomatic or a contact of a case, please follow the guidance on self-isolation to prevent others being put at risk.”

The last day of England’s national lockdown is Tuesday,  with the new tier restrictions coming into effect on Wednesday.

All retail, leisure, and personal care businesses which had to close can reopen, and recreational sport can resume, but entertainment and hospitality venues will remain closed, apart from delivery, takeaway and drive-through sales.

Businesses which continue to face trading restrictions are encouraged to make sure they are accessing the grants that are available.

Cllr Mark Canniford, the council’s executive member for business said: “December would normally be the busiest time of the year for our hospitality sector so it’s crucial that those who can’t trade normally get the support that’s available.

“I’d also encourage those of us who can to support them and all our local traders as much as possible over the Christmas period.

"Shop local and help make sure our businesses can survive into 2021.”

People will still not be allowed to meet indoors under the rules, or in most outside spaces, but up to six can now meet in some outdoor public spaces such as parks, sports courts, and public gardens.

A network of volunteers who have helped people across North Somerset throughout this pandemic is on hand for anyone who has no support from family or friends or who is socially isolated.

Local group details can be found at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/together or call 01934 427437.

More information about business support can be found at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/covidbusinesssupport

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