I am delighted that the whole of North Yorkshire is classified in the Medium Alert level which is the lowest of the three categories after high and very high. This means we can continue to go to pubs and restaurants and meet in groups of six both indoors and outside.
The three tiered system of local Covid Alert Levels in England is part of the Prime Minister’s announcement that he has simplified and standardised local rules in a bid to tackle head on the second wave of coronavirus.
Local COVID Alert Level – Medium (including Hambleton and Ryedale)
As of 11th October 2020 the infection rate in Hambleton is 101.5/100k and in Ryedale 90/100k population. The England average is 124/100k and the North Yorkshire average is 106/100k. As infection rate data is now recorded at a district level I am very much in favour of any judgements/restrictions applying at this level rather than a county-wide level. This is certainly the approach that is being successfully taken in Germany and I will be pushing for it.
The following measures apply:
- All businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs.
- Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am. Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.
- Schools, universities and places of worship remain open
- Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
- Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of 6 is followed
- People must not meet in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors
Local COVID Alert Level – High
This is for areas with a higher level of infections. This primarily aims to reduce household to household transmission by preventing all mixing between households or support bubbles indoors.
This means the following additional measures are in place:
- People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
- People must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space.
- People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.
Local COVID Alert Level - Very High
This is for areas with a very high level of infections. The Government will set a baseline of measures for any area in this local alert level. Consultation with local authorities will determine additional measures.
The baseline means the below additional measures are in place:
- Pubs and bars must close. They can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant.
- Wedding receptions are not allowed
- People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space
- People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘Very High’ area they are in, or entering a ‘Very High’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.
- People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘Very High’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘Very High’ area if they are resident elsewhere.
Economic measures to support businesses
The Chancellor announced new support to protect jobs and support businesses whose premises are legally required to shut as part of local or national restrictions.
- An expansion of the jobs support scheme paying the wages of staff who cannot work. The government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%) up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.
- Increasing cash grants for businesses will also be increased to up to £3,000 per month
- We have put in place one of the world’s most comprehensive economic responses – backed by £190 billion
- Protected 12 million jobs through furlough and self-employed schemes – at a cost of nearly £53 billion.
Also in place
- the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus which encourages employers to keep staff on payroll.
- the original Job Support Scheme - which is designed to support businesses that are facing low demand over the winter months
- Broader government support to local authorities in England due to Covid-19 includes:
- over £3.7 billion of un-ring-fenced grant funding to help them respond to pressure across all their services
- over £1.1 billion ring-fenced to support social care providers, helping to tackle the spread of the virus
Why is this action necessary?
Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country. In the past four weeks, the number of Covid patients admitted to intensive care units in hospitals in some parts of the country has increased sevenfold. If infections continue to rise at this rate, then in just four more weeks those hospitals could be treating more Covid patients than they did at the peak of the first wave. The country is far better prepared for this second wave of the pandemic than it was in March. We have built the largest diagnostic network in British history and we have one of the best testing rates in the world outpacing Germany, Spain and Italy. We understand far more about the virus and how it spreads. However, we must act now to control the spread of the virus and protect the NHS, so we can keep cancer treatments, elective surgeries and other vital diagnostic services going.
You can check your areas level rating here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/full-list-of-local-covid-alert-levels-by-area
You can find more details of infection rates where you live here: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=47574f7a6e454dc6a42c5f6912ed7076