Business leaders back rebellious Middlesbrough mayor

Business leaders back rebellious Middlesbrough mayor: Defiant leader is praised for rejecting lockdown as some residents vow to ignore new restrictions amid warning that quarter of pubs in England will be shut for good by restrictions

  • Andy Preston lashed out at ministers for ‘monstrous and frightening lack of communication and ignorance’
  • Lockdown starts Saturday morning – one minute past midnight – and will ban people from meeting indoors 
  • Similar measures in Hartlepool, Warrington and the Liverpool City Region will come into force at same time
  • A third of the UK population are now under some form of lockdown, including parts of North and South Wales  

Locals in Middlesbrough have rallied around their rebellious mayor after he vowed to defy the Government’s lockdown to protect the ‘jobs and mental health’ of residents. 

Andy Preston, an Independent, lashed out at ministers for their ‘monstrous and frightening lack of communication and ignorance’ in the strongest backlash yet against local lockdowns, which now cover 20million people – nearly a third of the UK population.

Constituents backed him for ‘sticking up for people and trying to stop businesses going bust’ as some said they would ignore the new restrictions. 

The economic cost of local lockdowns is becoming increasingly clear, with the pub industry warning a quarter of venues could close permanently at the cost of 290,000 jobs and £7billion to the UK if restrictions continue well into next year. 

The Middlesbrough lockdown starts on Saturday morning – at one minute past midnight – and will ban people from meeting up indoors with anyone outside their household, including pubs and restaurants. 

Lockdowns in Hartlepool, Warrington and the Liverpool City Region, which includes Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens, and Wirral, will come in at the same time as Middlesbrough.   

Sarah Best, 28, who owns the Sherlock’s and Dr Watson’s bars in the North Yorkshire town, said she had feared she would have to close her doors in as little as three weeks under the latest rules

Map, above, shows the 45 local lockdowns now in place across the UK, which now cover 16.6m people – a quarter of the country’s population

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston’s characterisation of the lockdowns as ‘based on factual inaccuracies and a monstrous and frightening lack of communication’ was backed by many locals in the town centre yesterday. 

Andy Preston, the independent Middlesbrough mayor who clashed with ‘Labour snowflakes’ over immigration and raised £3 million for charity 

Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston has been catapulted into the national coronavirus debate after he launched a stunning revolt against the government’s new lockdown rules in the town.

The independent politician launched his astonishing mutiny after Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs the town, along with Liverpool, Hartlepool and Warrington would face the same curbs as the North East. 

In a video message Mr Preston said they went further than he and other local politicians had lobbied for, and in what is believed to be a first for a local politician, rejected the measures outlined in the Commons.

Mr Preston was elected as Mayor of Middlesbrough in May 2019 

Mr Preston was elected mayor in 2019, having first stood and narrowly lost in 2015.

The businessman was previously a high-profile philanthropist in Teesside before going into politics.

The first charity he founded, in 2011, was Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation which raises funds for communities in the area. 

The Foundation is supported by a number of local businesses including Middlesbrough Football Club.

A few years later, Mr Preston launched a new charity called CEO Sleepout which holds events across the UK to raise funds to combat homelessness and poverty. 

In December 2016, launched a restaurant, The Fork in the Road, in Middlesbrough in an attempt to provide employment opportunities for former prisoners, recovering addicts and the long term unemployed.

He stepped down from his foundation after being elected, having raised three million during his tenure. 

Mr Preston was previously a staunch Labour member before standing as an independent in 2015. 

He had a run in with the Labour Party in 2019, when he was accused of  ‘dog whistle racism’ after making a post on Facebook titled ‘Immigration Can Bring Big Benefits and Big Negatives’.

Andy McDonald, MP for Middlesbrough, labelled Preston’s post ‘irresponsible and dangerous’.

However, the mayor was heavily supported by the public and an online poll suggested that 89% of residents agreed with his post. 

In it, he said that he was ‘100% certain that recent and rapid immigration to some parts of central Middlesbrough is causing new problems and a clash of cultures is developing.’ 

Dismissing his critics in the Labour party, Mr Preston later said: ‘If professional politicians and some snowflakes aren’t happy with me then that’s fine.

‘I’ll keep sticking up for people – regardless of what abuse politicians and their lackeys send me.’ 

Sarah Best, 28, who owns the Sherlock’s and Dr Watson’s bars in the North Yorkshire town, said she had feared she would have to close her doors in as little as three weeks under the latest rules. 

She said: ‘When people can only go the pub with members of their own household it’s obviously going to reduce trade even more. 

‘The 10pm curfew has been bad enough and it doesn’t work. People gather in the street and can’t get taxis because everyone has to leave at once. 

‘We’re just hanging on and if things don’t change I might have to close the doors in three weeks, that’s how bad it is. I really think customers will rebel, especially if the mayor is backing us. 

‘We’ll listen to Andy, we get more support and back from the mayor than we do from government.  How do you enforce this rule anyway? I’m not going to be asking customers for utility bills.’ 

Nicola Brogan and Paula Hoare, both 27, said the rules are now ‘so confused that it’s impossible to enforce’ them.  

‘It’s crazy that we can’t see relatives who need to see people to stay in touch but you can come down to the pub,’ Ms Hoare said.

‘The mayor is sticking up for the town where there is already massive poverty.’ 

Ms Brogan added: ‘I worked with the mayor on a charity project and he’s a very well liked and respected guy. I think people will listen to what he thinks more than the government.’

Liam Watson, 24, said: ‘There’s no way people are going to stay at home and not go to the pub when you’ve got the mayor saying ‘defy the ban.’

‘Good for him. He’s sticking up for people and trying to stop businesses going bust and if it comes down to it I’d rather listen to our local leader than some muppet at Westminster. They don’t know anything about us.’ 

However, Craig Kevin, 47, who works in a fast food stall, said Mr Preston had merely ‘added to the confusion’ with his video statement.    

‘Andy Preston has added to the confusion and I think people will just decide to carry on as normal because they don’t actually believe any of them,’ he said. 

‘Boris Johnson didn’t even know the rules as they apply to the North East when he was asked the other day so what chance do the public have, especially when national and local Government are saying different things.’

Nathaniel Lawton, 42, was having a drink with friends outside the town’s Swatter’s Carr. 

He said: ‘It’s funny to see Andy Preston saying ‘defy the law’ when he was the one who was asking for stricter rules in the first place. 

‘He decided Middlesbrough needed restrictions but he hasn’t got the ones he wanted which he should maybe have seen coming. 

‘There will always be those who adhere to the rules and those who don’t. No matter what anybody says, whether it’s the government or the mayor, people will decide the law doesn’t apply to them. 

‘It’s being spread anyway through offices and schools so I can’t see the restrictions making that much difference.’ 

Toni Cook, owner of the Sticky Fingers Cafe and Rock bar, said the new rules would damage trade.

‘We are not going to see the year out,’ she told the BBC.

‘I understand there’s a virus and I understand it’s rampant but we all need to act and conform to certain ways, but a lot of us are and we are bending over backwards to do this but we are still punished.’ 

Revellers were seen enjoyed a boozy final night out yesterday evening 24 hours before the new ban on fixing comes in. The lockdowns have sparked dire warnings that a quarter of pubs could close for good because of the dramatic loss in custom. 

A study commissioned by the British Beer and Pub Association estimated that 11,750 bars will shut with the loss of 290,000 jobs if restrictions imposing reduced capacity drag on well into next year, reported The Times. 

The calculations, carried out by Oxford Economics, were carried out before the impact of the 10pm curfew and requirement for table service could be estimated so the fall could be even steeper when these factors are included.  

The economic cost of local lockdowns is becoming increasingly clear, with the pub industry warning a quarter of venues could close permanently at the cost of 290,000 jobs and £7billion to the UK if restrictions continue well into next year. Pictured is Middlesbrough town centre 


Nicola Brogan (left) and Paula Hoare, both 27, said the rules are now ‘so confused that it’s impossible to enforce’ them

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston announced his revolt against the local lockdown in an angry video posted yesterday, in which he vowed to ‘defy’ the new measures. 

The Independent said the measures went further than he and other local politicians had lobbied for, and in what is believed to be a first for a local politician, rejected the measures outlined in the Commons. 

Lockdowns could see a QUARTER of pubs shut for good with 290,000 jobs lost  

The lockdowns have sparked dire warnings that a quarter of pubs could close for good because of the dramatic loss in custom. 

A study commissioned by the British Beer and Pub Association estimated that 11,750 bars will shut with the loss of 290,000 jobs if restrictions imposing reduced capacity drag on well into next year, reported The Times. 

The calculations, carried out by Oxford Economics, were carried out before the impact of the 10pm curfew and requirement for table service could be estimated so the fall could be even steeper when these factors are included. 

Separately, hundreds of restaurant owners and brewers urged Boris Johnson to ditch the 10pm curfew so the hospitality sector can survive the ‘bleakest of winters’.

Burger King, JD Wetherspoon, Greene King and Carlsberg said hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost without additional support for the industry.

The food and drink giants called on the government to review the severity of the latest restrictions every three weeks, and remove them if they are not impacting the spread of the virus.

A letter to the Prime Minister coordinated by the British Beer & Pub Association, UKHospitality and the British Institute of Innkeeping warned ‘Across the country, the 10pm curfew has removed key trading hours for all of us vital to our survival, removing whole shifts from food-led businesses.

‘It has created pinch points for public transport and large groups congregating elsewhere in a manner likely to increase COVID-related health risks.

‘Quite simply, though, we need additional and urgent support in order to survive this bleakest of winters.’

A similar letter from Richard Bailey, the Chairman of the Independent Family Brewers of Britain – which represents 3,000 pubs – said pubs were being scapegoated.

He claims the new ‘illogical’ restrictions actively drive people ‘either into social isolation or into a less secure domestic environment’.

‘Please rethink the national pub curfew, masks and restrictions on gathering multiple households in a pub,’ Mr Bailey wrote.

Yesterday a cross-party group of 25 MPs asked Business Secretary Alok Sharma to publish the scientific evidence behind the 10pm curfew.

Former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said: ‘Pubs, bars and restaurants have been cruelly hit by a perfect storm of more restrictions and less financial support.’ The sector has already spent millions to create Covid-safe environments, the letter notes, while absorbing the impact of current restrictions.

New measures introduced – most notably, the 10pm curfew – are another blow to the prospects of their survival.

More than half of the firms who signed sounded worries that they would not survive beyond the middle of 2021, even before the curfew was imposed.

Yesterday trade union Usdaw, which represents shop workers, said retail employees were being put at greater risk by the 10pm curfew.

General secretary Paddy Lillis told the BBC that stores would become ‘very busy’ due to more people buying alcohol late at night, potentially triggering antisocial behaviour.

The warning comes after Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham called for an urgent review of the curfew on Monday, suggesting it ‘is doing more harm than good’. 

Middlesbrough and Hartlepool councils had asked for a ban on households mixing in their own homes. But Mr Hancock announced it would also be illegal for households in those boroughs to mix in a public setting such as a pub.

‘I have to tell you I think this measure has been introduced based on factual inaccuracies and a monstrous and frightening lack of communication, and ignorance,’ Mr Preston said in a video posted on Twitter.

‘I do not accept the statement at all. I do not accept these measures. We need to talk to government, they need to understand our local knowledge, expertise and ability to get things done, and preserve jobs and well-being.

‘We are really disappointed. As things stand we defy the Government and we do not accept these measures.

‘We need to get Covid under control and we need to work with people to find a way of preserving jobs and mental health.’

As head of the local council Mr Preston has no official powers to over-rule the decision taken by ministers. But he could, in theory, prevent council staff from helping to enforce the pub closures and household meeting ban – though there has been no suggestion yet that he would.

He posted his statement on his Facebook page, with Middlesbrough residents flocking to express their opinion. 

Simon Rylander said: ‘Really proud and happy you’re standing up for our town and region Andy! What do we do in the meantime though?’

Craig Hatton wrote: ‘Well done for speaking your mind! This government hasn’t got a grasp on reality.’

Graham Hadfield added: ‘I share your frustration Andy but I fear Hancock will simply continue to close his ears to logic. He has been out of his depth since the start and is just getting worse.’

The confirmation comes despite Mr Hancock hailing ‘early’ indications that the nationwide Rule of Six and 10pm pubs curfew are already bringing cases under control – and downgrading the swingeing measures in place in Bolton.

Meanwhile, there are signs that ministers are scrambling to simplify the rules after even the premier became muddled this week. 

A ‘traffic light’ system could be introduced to show what restrictions are in place for different regions, with three tiers of intensity. 

There are hopes could help free up some parts of the South that have dramatically lower rates of infection than the North. 

Results from the largest Covid-19 study in England found the R-rate fell from 1.7 to around 1.1 last month.

But the director of the study, by Imperial College London and Ipsos Mori, said the interim findings from 80,000 participants ‘reinforced the need for protective measures’ to help extinguish the virus.

Mr Hancock told the Commons: ‘The study published today shows us hope that we can crack this.’

However, he again defied calls for the 10pm curfew on pubs to be lifted amid claims it is doing ‘more harm than good’. 

Mr Hancock’s positive message on the findings of the study contrasted sharply with the grim message from Boris Johnson, Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance at a Downing Street press conference last night. 

The PM and his senior medical and science advisers warned that the outbreak was ‘going in the wrong direction’ – even though it is understood they were aware of the latest Imperial findings in advance. 

Yesterday’s update of the rolling seven-day rate of new cases of Covid-19 for every local authority area in England put Burnley at the top of the list.

Burnley had the highest rate in England, with 279 new cases recorded in the seven days to September 26, the equivalent of 313.8 cases per 100,000 people.

This is up sharply from 164.2 in the seven days to September 19, while Knowsley has the second highest rate, up from 177.6 to 283.0 with 427 new cases.

People living in these areas have also been told not to meet other households and they are allowed essential travel only.

Similar rules have been imposed in locations including Rossendale, Hyndburn, South Ribble, West Lancashire, Chorley, Wyre, Fylde, Lancaster, Ribble Valley, Wirral, St Helens, Sefton, Halton and Warrington since September 22. 

Researchers on King’s College London’s Covid Symptom Study now predict that 19,777 people are catching Covid-19 each day in the UK. This suggests testing is picking up around 35 per cent of the true number of cases

People living alone under lockdown in Wales can meet one other person indoors  

People living alone in areas of Wales under local lockdown will be able to meet one other household indoors, the First Minister has said.

There are currently tighter restrictions in 16 areas of Wales, including Cardiff, Swansea and parts of North Wales, affecting more than 2.3 million people.

Under the local lockdown rules, people have only been able to meet people from outside their household outdoors – with indoor meetings banned and extended households suspended.

On Friday, Mark Drakeford said those living alone in the areas would be able to form an exclusive ‘bubble’ with one other household in the same county.

This could be a person meeting indoors with a family, or with another adult from a single household.

‘We are easing the restrictions so that single adult households will be able to form an alliance with one other household from within that county area,’ Mr Drakeford told BBC Breakfast.

‘The idea is to ease some of that sense of loneliness, isolation, not being able to talk to anyone else.

‘There’s more than one form of harm from coronavirus and a sense of mental wellbeing is an important thing that we can make a difference to through this change.’

Mr Drakeford will give further details at a press conference on Friday.

Denbighshire, Flintshire, Conwy and Wrexham in North Wales went into local lockdown at 6pm on Thursday.

The four local authorities joined Caerphilly county borough, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport, Blaenau Gwent, Cardiff, Swansea, the town on Llanelli, Neath Port Talbot, the Vale of Glamorgan and Torfaen, all in south Wales.

People must not enter or leave the affected areas without a reasonable excuse, such as travelling for work or education.

Extended households – where four different homes are allowed to form one exclusive household in Wales – are also suspended in the areas.

Mr Drakeford told BBC Radio Wales that a local authority area was placed on a ‘watch list’ when cases of Covid-19 reached more than 20 per 100,000 people.

‘When you reach the 50 threshold or are about to reach it, that’s the trigger for us to have to introduce these further restrictions in local areas,’ he said.

‘I think that process is very straightforward. People can look at the figures.

‘We get advice from people on the ground, the local health protection team, the local authority, the local police.

‘We meet with them, we get their advice, we make a decision.’

Anyone living in areas including Bury, Manchester, Rochdale, Salford, Tameside, Trafford, Blackpool, Stockport and Wigan must also not mix with people outside of their household.

They have also been told to avoid socialising with other households in public venues.

Stricter measures that had been in place for Bolton are due to be eased in line with the rest of Greater Manchester, allowing for hospitality venues to open under the same conditions as the rest of the region, such as table service and a 10pm curfew.

Liverpool had been braced for more measures to curb a recent rise in infections that has left it with the highest rolling seven-day rate of new cases at 258 per 100,000, while nearby Knowsley is second at 262. 

In addition, Luton, Wakefield, Chester, East and West Cheshire, Barrow-in-Furness and Rotherham have been added to the Government’s watchlist as ‘areas of concern’. 

And Sheffield has been moved up to an area of ‘enhanced support’, suggesting it could be the next to be placed in lockdown.

Areas of concern are the focus of targeted actions to reduce the prevalence of coronavirus, for example receiving additional testing in care homes and increased community engagement with high-risk groups.

Areas for enhanced support are those at a medium-high risk of intervention where there is a more detailed plan, agreed with the national authorities.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for a ‘rapid review’ of the local lockdown strategy and urged the Government to consider whether the 10pm curfew should remain.    

‘We have supported these restrictions, but we have now got – after this morning’s announcement – over 50 areas in local restrictions and over the weeks and months only one area has come out of these restrictions,’ he said.

‘So we need a strategy, a road map, people need to have hope that this is going to work.’

He told reporters at Westminster that the Government needed to ‘massively improve’ the way it communicated and provide economic support for areas at the same time restrictions were imposed.

‘I think we need a rapid review of the local lockdowns because what we are seeing is that in some areas in lockdown the infection rates are going up, not down.

‘That’s worrying and there needs to be a review into that. In other areas they have been in local lockdown for months and so there needs to be a rapid review – what’s working, what isn’t working, what does the science tell us about that.’

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Hancock was repeatedly challenged over the blanket 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants in England. 

There were complaints that people have been causing issues by piling out of venues and going to the supermarket for more alcohol, or having house parties instead. 

But Mr Hancock said: ‘Of course, we keep this under review and of course we’re constantly looking at how we can improve these policies, but I think we’ve got to look at both sides of the evidence to try to get this right.’

He added: ‘We know that sustained contact, especially in crowded, poorly ventilated spaces is a driver of infection and pubs and bars an obvious risk.

‘So I heard what he said about the 10pm rule, but my concerns relate to everybody leaving the pub at the same time.’

Boozy revellers leave the pubs in Liverpool this evening – 24 hours before new coronavirus restrictions come in limiting mixing in any indoor settings – including pubs

New Covid rules are unjust, cruel and illogical: Middlesbrough mayor ANDY PRESTON explains why he REJECTS local lockdown measures being imposed on his city 

To me, it is obvious that anyone should be allowed to visit a relative or a friend in their garden, and have a cup of coffee while remaining well distanced

People in my town are frustrated, angry and dismayed at the Government’s draconian proposals to impose even more oppressive local restrictions.

There’s nothing compassionate or pragmatic about what Health Secretary Matt Hancock intends to do. 

It’s badly thought out, illogical and – despite what the Government claimed yesterday – it is not based on consultation with councils or local experts.

Fortunately these plans are not yet in place – and hopefully they stay that way. For I know I speak on behalf of Middlesbrough here when I say that, as things stand, we do not accept them.

Of course, stopping the spread of the virus has to be the Government’s priority. But this must be done with an awareness of the pain that isolation can inflict, and the damage it does to mental and physical health.

Above all, for God’s sake, we have to do everything possible to preserve people’s livelihoods.

Our local council went to the Government and explained the over-riding importance of this. We asked them to work with the community and local businesses, to allow safe socialising and keep Middlesbrough moving. They didn’t listen.

To me, it is obvious that anyone should be allowed to visit a relative or a friend in their garden, and have a cup of coffee while remaining well distanced. And, of course, we should be able to meet them for a chat in a well-run, socially distanced coffee shop.

Yet these new rules – which essentially ban different households from meeting – will prohibit all those safe, human activities that are small but so essential for wellbeing.

To add to the insanity, it isn’t even clear how the regulations will be enforced. Like so many growing towns, Middlesbrough spills out of its boundaries – and the neighbouring borough of Redcar and Cleveland is not included in the restrictions. 

It’ll be two rules for one town, and sometimes two rules within one street.

This is bitterly unfair on a community which is still recovering from the recessions of the 1980s.

I don’t like complaining because my parents always said that life’s not fair, but that is no reason to introduce obviously and unnecessarily unfair measures such as these. 

For now is the worst possible time to be forbidding people to socialise. Six months of long nights and cold weather are on the way.

To throw people out of work and take away the support of their friends, family and community is just cruel. 

It will push many people into depression, and I am afraid that increased rates of suicide will be just one of the terrible consequences. Crucially it doesn’t have to be like this. 

People are seen shopping in Middlesbrough town centre. People in my town are frustrated, angry and dismayed at the Government’s draconian proposals to impose even more oppressive local restrictions

After the initial lockdown, our public health experts came up with innovative, workable ideas to make venues safe and limit the spread of the virus, while still allowing people to see each other. But the Government seems to have paid no attention to these advances.

The injustice is heightened because Middlesbrough has been at the forefront of tough measures to try to stem the tide during this global crisis. We have not been soft on Covid-19. 

As a council, we have been active and caring, and we’ve got stuff done. We’ve handed out 180,000 free facemasks, and my team was pushing for people in the hospitality industry to wear them long before it became obligatory. To me it was an obvious preventative measure, one enforced across much of Europe, and we led the way.

Yes, I will reluctantly obey these new rules if they become law and I will urge everyone in my town to do so. This isn’t about raising two fingers to Downing Street. It’s much more important than a mere protest. 

But before the Government makes a dire mistake and puts these restrictions into law, I’m pleading with them to think again. 

We need a plan to reduce transmission of the virus while showing compassion and understanding. That is what is missing.

Britain’s coronavirus rules explained: As confusion reigns, where can you meet friends for a pint inside or outside? And will the lockdown police ask you for a ‘reasonable excuse’? 

Britain’s complex coronavirus rules have confused even the Prime Minister as numerous different restrictions are put in place across the country to try and keep the number of coronavirus cases down.

Aside from the standard rules in England, eight different regions have additional restrictions or rules that differ from those in place in England.

In total around 16.6m people in the UK are subject to local lockdowns, one quarter of the population.

Among the subtle differences are those between different local lockdown areas in England. For example in the North East, residents are legally banned from meeting people from outside their households inside pubs – but are free to do so outdoors. 

In Bolton pubs and restaurants have been closed completely and can do takeout only while funerals and weddings are limited to six people. In the North East the weddings and funeral limit remains 15.   

The devolved regions also have different rules. The rule of six applies to children in England, but not to under 12s in Scotland and under-11s in Wales. 

In Scotland the rule of six is limited to people from two households in Scotland. Residents are not allowed to host guests in their own homes, if the guests are from outside their household or support bubble. 

In Wales the rule of six is limited to people of up to four households indoors. Outdoors, people can gather in groups of up to 30 but should maintain social distancing from people from other households.

In Welsh local lockdown areas people can meet in their own gardens in groups of up to 30, but in English local lockdown areas the rules apply to gardens as a well as inside homes. Welsh people are also banned from leaving local lockdown areas unless they have a ‘reasonable excuse’. 

Welsh wedding ceremonies do not have a limit on the number of attendees, but they must wear masks including the bride and groom. Welsh wedding receptions are limited to 30 people.  

These are the rules: 

England:

Social gatherings 

No more than six people are permitted to gather indoors or outdoors – with a few exceptions, which include going to school, work, or ‘exceptional life events’.

Children are not exempt from the rules, unlike in Wales and Scotland 

Breaking these new restrictions mean fines of £200 (£100 if paid within 14 days), doubling for each incident up to £3,200. 

Pubs and Restaurants 

Pubs and restaurants across England must close at 10pm. The rule of six still applies but applies to each group inside – not the venue as a whole. 

Venues are now ‘legally required’ to take and keep the contact details of a member from every group of visitors for 21 days. This is so they can pass them on to NHS Test and Trace ‘without delay’ if needed.

The hospitality venue could face a fine if it fails to stick to the Covid security standards and the Government pledged to back local authorities to make ‘further and faster use of their powers’ against venues who break the rules. 

Covid-19 secure venues, such as places of worship, restaurants and hospitality venues, can still host larger numbers in total but groups of up to six must not mix or form larger groups.

Travel

The rule of six limit does not apply to strangers gathering in the same space, such as a train or bus.

Government guidelines say: ‘You can help control coronavirus and travel safely by walking and cycling, if you can. However, where this is not possible, you can use public transport or drive. 

‘If you do use public transport, you must wear a face covering and you should follow the safer travel guidance for passengers.’

Schools  

Face masks not required in schools outside local lockdown areas. Face masks are required for school pupils in Year 7 or above in communal areas in areas where local lockdowns are in place.  

Work  

The six person limit does not apply to gatherings for work. Offices should take steps to ensure social distancing is maintained.

The government initially urged workers to return to the office, but has since U-turned and called for anyone who can work from home to do so to try to drive down the number of cases.

Sport 

You can continue to take part in organised sporting or licensed physical activity in groups of more than 6 outdoors and up to 6 people indoors (for over 18s). 

Organised dance and exercise classes can take place in groups of more than six, but you must not mix with more than five other participants. 

Masks

Face coverings have to be worn on public transport, in shops and supermarkets. They are also needed in other indoor venues such as museums, cinemas, galleries and places of worship.

The government also advised people to where them wherever they cannot keep to social distancing guidelines.

Hospitality and retail workers now have to wear face coverings at work, as well as passengers in taxis.

Weddings and Funerals  

Weddings are limited to 15 people and funerals are limited to 30 people. Staff working at these events are not included.   

The latest restrictions for Warrington and the Liverpool City Region, which includes Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens, and Wirral come into force on Saturday morning, at one minute past midnight. Pictured are revellers enjoying a night out on Thursday 

North East and Liverpool:

Seven local authorities in the North East and Liverpool are subject to some of the strictest restrictions, which came into force on Wednesday. The affected areas are:

  • Durham
  • Gateshead
  • Newcastle
  • Northumberland
  • North Tyneside
  • South Tyneside
  • Sunderland
  • Liverpool 
  • Warrington
  • Hartlepool
  • Middlesbrough  

How are the rules different to the rest of England?  

Social gatherings

Residents are legally banned from meeting friends who are not in their household or support bubble indoors. This includes in their homes or gardens, pubs and restaurants. But it does not include anywhere outdoors including pub beer gardens. 

The police will be able to take action against those who break these rules, including asking people to disperse and issuing fixed penalty notices starting at £200 for those who participate in illegal gatherings. 

While the rules do not ban people from meeting under the rule of six outside, the government advice states residents should not ‘socialise with people you do not live with’. It also advises against visiting care home residents. 

Pubs and Restaurants 

Hospitality venues also have to close at 10pm like the rest of the country. It is against the law to sit in a pub with someone you do not live with or is in your bubble.

Travel

Public transport is restricted to ‘essential trips’, be it work or school or looking after an elderly relative. Going outside the area is also restricted to ‘essential’ reasons.

But this is not law, this is just government advice so it is left to people to judge for themselves what is essential.

Schools

Face masks are required for school pupils in Year 7 or above in communal areas in areas. 

Work

Same as the rest of England 

Masks

Same as the rest of England 

Sport

Sports can be played outdoors with more than six people, but indoors they are limited to six people out of only one ‘one household and support bubble’, the government say. 

Organised dance and exercise classes can take place in groups of more than 6 outdoors, where a risk assessment has been carried out, but you must not mix with more than five other participants. 

Weddings and Funerals

Same as the rest of the country. 

Bolton*

Bolton was put under tighter lockdown measures on September 5 as the stubborn infection rate remained high. At one point the rate increased to 99 cases per 100,000 people per week, which was the highest in England.

Social gatherings 

People are not allowed to host people from outside their own household or support bubble in their houses or garden.

Meeting outside is allowed, but pubs and restaurants are closed.  

Pubs and Restaurants

Pubs in Bolton are shut to stem a flare-up in infections. They can only serve takeaway, and are obliged to close completely between 10pm and 5am.

Travel

People can travel in and out of Bolton for work, education reason or other excuses deemed ‘essential’.

Schools

Face masks are required for school pupils in Year 7 or above in communal areas in areas. 

Work

Same as rest of England.

Masks

Same as rest of England. 

Sport

You can continue to take part in organised sporting or licensed physical activity in groups of more than 6 outdoors and up to 6 people indoors (for over 18s).  

Weddings and Funerals

In Bolton, a maximum of 6 people should to attend these events. The government says this should be limited to close family of the people getting married or the person who has died, or people who live(d) or formed a support bubble with them. A close friend can attend a funeral only if there are no household members or immediate families. 

*rules change to the same as North West on 2 October 

Liverpool, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Warrington will all be affected by the new rules – and these people enjoyed one last night out on Thursday before the restrictions came in 

Northern and Southern Wales

From 6pm on Thursday, residents of Denbighshire, Flintshire, Conwy and Wrexham will be banned from mixing indoors with other households – affecting 500,000 people. The full list of Welsh areas in lockdown include:

  • Carmarthensire
  • Swansea
  • Neath Port Talbot
  • Bridgend
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf
  • Merhtyr Tydfil
  • Caerphilly
  • Blaenau Gwent
  • Torfaen
  • Newport
  • Cardiff
  • Vale of Glamorgan
  • Bridgend
  • Conwy
  • Denbighshire
  • Flintshire
  • Wrexham

How do the rules differ from England?

Social gatherings:

In the Welsh local lockdown areas meeting anyone from outside your own household indoors is banned.

Meeting them in gardens or outdoors is allowed. 

However people are allowed to gather in groups of thirty outdoors – including in private gardens.

Outside the local lockdown areas, the rule of six applies indoors in Wales but is limited to people from four different households. 

The rule of six in Wales applies only to children 11 and over.

Travel

In the Welsh local lockdown areas travel to another area is banned unless an individual can provide a ‘reasonable excuse’. This can include going to school or work.

If the individual cannot provide a reasonable excuse they can be fined and prosecuted by the courts.

Pubs and Restaurants

Pubs and restaurants must close at 10pm and can provide table service only.

Schools

Schools are unaffected by the Welsh local lockdowns. All children over 11 are advised to wear masks in indoor public areas.

Work

The Welsh local lockdowns do not affect the rules on working from home. The Welsh government advises employees to work from home wherever possible and should not return to the work place unless there is a ‘clearly demonstrated’ need for them to do so.

Masks

The Welsh government legally requires face masks in indoor public places for all people over the age of 11.

Weddings and funerals

Attendees at Welsh weddings and funerals are required to wear face masks. This includes the bride and groom who can remove their masks to kiss.

There is no limit on the size of the ceremonies. Receptions and wakes are limited to 30 people.

Sport

Organised outdoor outdoor sport is allowed but ‘social disatncing must be maintained at all times and particiapnts are limited to 30 people.

Gyms and leisure centres can remain open but users must wear masks when not performing strenuous exercise. Indoor sports that cannot be socially distanced are banned.

Cycling is allowed but only within the boundary of the local lockdown area.

The rest of Wales

Other areas in Wales have so far managed to steer clear of new restrictions but are still subject to the Welsh rules.

How do the rules differ from England?

Social gatherings

The rule of six applies indoors in Wales but is limited to people from four different households. However people are allowed to gather in groups of thirty outdoors – including in private gardens.

The rule of six in Wales applies only to children 11 and over.

Travel

People from the rest of Wales are not allowed to travel into the local lockdown areas unless they have a ‘reasonable excuse’

They are allowed to go on holiday or travel for other ‘legitimate’ reasons.

Pubs and Restaurants

Pubs and restaurants must close at 10pm and can provide table service only

Schools 

All children over 11 are advised to wear masks in indoor public areas.

Work

The Welsh government advises employees to work from home wherever possible and should not return to the work place unless there is a ‘clearly demonstarted’ need for them to do so.

Masks

The Welsh government requires face masks in indoor public places for all people over the age of 11.

Weddings and funerals

Attendees at Welsh weddings and funerals are required to wear face masks. This includes the bride and groom who can remove their masks to kiss.

There is no limit on the size of the ceremonies. Receptions and wakes are limited to 30 people.

Sport

Organised outdoor outdoor sport is allowed but ‘social distancing must be maintained at all times and participants are limited to 30 people.

Gyms and leisure centres can remain open but users must wear masks when not performing strenuous exercise. Indoor sports that cannot be socially distanced are banned.   

Scotland

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last week took the Covid-19 response a step further in Scotland, proving to be moving more cautiously than neighbouring England once again. Areas in lockdown north of the border are:

  • West Dunbartonshire
  • East Dunbartonshire
  • Glasgow City
  • Renfrewshire
  • East Renfrewshire
  • South Lanarkshire
  • North Lanarkshire

How do the rules differ from England?

Social gatherings

The rule of six applies indoors and outdoors in Scotland, but it also has a limit of individuals from two households. 

Residents of Scotland are not allowed to host people from outside their own household in their own homes. They can host people in their garden but must abide by the above rule of six.    

Pubs and Restaurants

People are allowed to meet in pub beer gardens – six people from a maximum of two households. They close at 10pm.

Travel

Same as England.

Schools

Face masks are mandatory in communal areas of secondary schools. 

Work

Everyone who can work from home should do. Non-essential offices and call centres should not yet re-open.

Masks

People have to wear face coverings in: aquariums, indoor zoos or visitor farms, and any other indoor tourist, heritage or cultural site, banks, building societies and credit unions, cinemas, community centres, crematoriums and funeral directors, libraries, museums and galleries, places of worship, post offices, storage and distribution facilities, including collection and drop off points, bingo halls, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement arcades and other leisure facilities (such as snooker and pool halls), indoor funfairs, indoor fitness studios, gyms, swimming pools or other indoor leisure centres, indoor skating rinks.

Sport 

People can take part in organized outdoor sport. Indoors, contact sports are not allowed and social distancing must be maintained.  

Weddings and Funerals

Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and funerals should have no more than 20 people indoors or outdoors. 

North West

Twenty-six other areas in the North are subject to some restrictions. The affected areas are:

  • Blackburn
  • Blackpool
  • Burnley
  • Chorley
  • Fylde
  • Halton
  • Hyndburn
  • Knowsley
  • Lancaster
  • Liverpool
  • Pendle
  • Preston
  • Ribble Valley
  • Rossendale
  • Sefton
  • South Ribble
  • St Helens
  • West Lancashire
  • Wirral
  • Wyre
  • Bradford
  • Calderdale
  • Kirklees
  • Leeds
  • Greater Manchester

Social gatherings

People are not allowed to host people from outside their own household or support bubble in their houses or garden. 

The police will be able to take action against those who break these rules, including asking people to disperse and issuing fixed penalty notices starting at £200 for those who participate in illegal gatherings. (£100 if paid within 14 days).

While the rules do not ban people from meeting under the rule of six in pubs or restaurants, the government has issued advice that states  residents should not ‘socialise with people you do not live with’. It also advises against visiting care home residents.     

Pubs and Restaurants

Pubs and restaurants must shut at 10pm. The guidelines advise that social contact with other households should be avoided in, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions and parks. But it is not banned. 

Travel

Within most of the North West lockdown public transport is restricted to ‘essential trips’, be it work or school or looking after an elderly relative. Going outside the area is also restricted to ‘essential’ reasons.

But this is not law, this is just government advice so it is left to people to judge for themselves what is essential. 

The Greater Manchester area is exempt, apart from Oldham where residents have been instructed to avoid using public transport and instead walk or cycle where they can.

Listing acceptable reasons for locals to catch a bus, train or tram, the government website includes: to get to and from work; to get essential food or medical supplies including click and collect services; to support someone who is vulnerable, if no one else can do so; to travel to and from the homes of others in your support bubble; to attend an early years setting, school or college, or to accompany a child who is attending an early years setting, school or college, where necessary; to fulfil legal obligations; to seek medical care, or avoid illness, injury or harm. 

Residents can still go on holiday wherever they choose – subject to following the Foreign Office travel guidance – as long as they only go with people in their bubble.

Schools

Face masks are required for school pupils in Year 7 or above in communal areas in areas. 

Work

Same as rest of England.

Masks

Same as rest of England. 

Sport

Same as rest of England. 

Weddings and Funerals

Same as rest of England. 

West Midlands

Britain’s second largest city and three surrounding areas were placed into a local lockdown two weeks ago amid concerns the restrictions will spread to other regions.

  • Birmingham
  • Sandwell
  • Solihull
  • Wolverhampton

Social gatherings

People are not allowed to host people from outside their own household or support bubble in their houses or garden. 

Meeting outside and in pubs is allowed but only under the rule of six.  

Pubs and Restaurants 

Pubs and restaurants must shut at 10pm.  

Travel

If you live in the affected area, you can travel outside them. But you must not meet people you do not live with in their home or garden, whether inside or outside of the affected areas, unless they are in your support bubble.

Schools

Face masks are required for school pupils in Year 7 or above in communal areas in areas. 

Work

Same as the rest of England. 

Masks

Same as the rest of England. 

Sport

Same as the rest of England. 

Weddings and Funerals

Same as the rest of England. 

Covid situation

Coronavirus cases are on the rise across Birmingham, with 12,995 pupils and 714 teachers back home self-isolating. 

112 of the city’s schools have seen infections since reopening to students at the start of this month.

Leicester

The Department of Health and Social Care yesterday tweaked the rules in place for Leicester’s localised lockdown, with the changes also applying to:

  • Leicester city
  • Oadby
  • Wigston

Social gatherings 

People are not allowed to host people from outside their own household or support bubble in their houses or garden. 

Meeting outside and in pubs is allowed but only under the rule of six.  

Leicester is the only area in the country that has had to remain under addition measures since the rest of the country was lifted from lockdown on July 4.

Vulnerable residents have been told to remain shielding until October 5.

After this date formal shielding will be paused in the area, and Leicester City Council will take over advising the local population on what to do.

Pubs and Restaurants

Same as the rest of England. 

Travel

Same as the rest of England. 

Schools

Face masks are required for school pupils in Year 7 or above in communal areas in areas. Parents have been asked to wear masks on the school run. 

Work

Same as the rest of England. 

Masks

Same as the rest of England. 

Sport

Same as the rest of England. 

Weddings and Funerals

Same as the rest of England.  

Are there any loopholes?

Despite vast swathes of England, Scotland and Wales being under some form of local lockdown, there are some loopholes people could exploit.

Get a pint after 10pm

Punters can still get their hands on a draft pint after 10pm if they use establishments at motorway services because they are classed as an essential service.

The Hope and Champion is a Wetherspoon at Beaconsfield Services on the M40, in Buckinghamshire is one pub that can still legally serve after the curfew lasting until 5am. It provides food and drink for those on the roads, so now remains open later than other pubs. 

Source: Read Full Article