PEOPLE in Herefordshire are back living under Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions today in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus
Last Saturday, just a week ago, Herefordshire’s Covid-19 alert level moved from Tier 2 (high alert) to Tier 1 (medium alert), but it has been short-lived.
What does this mean for people living in Herefordshire?
There are four tiers for local restrictions. These are Tier 1: medium alert, Tier 2: high alert, Tier 3: very high alert, and Tier 4: stay at home
Herefordshire has been placed into Tier 2: high alert as the area has a rising number of coronavirus cases.
The following tier 2 restrictions will be in place:
- You must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
- You must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’
- Businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs
- Pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals with last orders at 10pm
- Public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
- Places of worship remain open but you must not socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while you are indoors there, unless a legal exemption applies
- Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies
- Organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue
- Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with). There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing
- You can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
What does the Government look at to decide an area’s Tier?
The Department of Health and Social Care says it assesses each area individually, and said it will continue to move at a more localised level where the data and human geographies permit.
As set out in the Covid-19 Winter Plan, there are five indicators which guide decisions for any given area, alongside consideration of “human geographies”, like travel patterns.
The five criteria are:
- Cases all age groups
- Cases in the over 60s
- The rate at which cases are rising or falling
- Positivity rate (the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken)
- Pressure on the NHS
What has the Government said?
Matt Hancock outlined areas of England moving up to higher tiers in a press conference from Downing Street on Wednesday afternoon.
He said: “Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset including the North Somerset council area, Swindon, the Isle of Wight, the New Forest and Northamptonshire as well as Cheshire and Warrington will all be escalated to Tier 3.
“And I’m afraid that Cornwall and Herefordshire have seen sharply rising rates and need to be escalated to Tier 2.”
In documents seen by the Hereford Times, the DHSC said: “In the past week the picture in Herefordshire has deteriorated, with case rates in all ages increasing by nearly 80% since last week.
“In the most recent few days the number of cases is continuing to increase rapidly. The number of daily COVID hospital admissions in the local NHS (Herefordshire & Worcestershire STP) continues to rise.
“The daily COVID bed occupancy is just below the national acute hospital average and stable and Critical Care occupancy has stabilised.
“The rate of increase of the epidemiology indicators and hospital admissions is concerning and warrants escalation to Tier 2.”
What has Herefordshire’s public health chief said?
Herefordshire Council welcomed the decision after a sharp rise in the number of cases.
Dr Rebecca Howell-Jones, Acting Director of Public Health for Herefordshire, added: “We are extremely concerned about the rapid increase in the number of cases across the country and the recent rise we have seen in Herefordshire.
“We know this decision by government has not been taken lightly, but it is vital that action is taken quickly to help suppress transmission of the virus.
“Please continue to be careful and, in particular, follow the guidance on regular hand-washing, using face coverings and social distancing. By doing this you are helping to protect yourselves and your loved ones.”