Residents urged to go the extra mile to keep themselves and others safe

The Government has today announced the outcome of its review of the Covid-19 tier system in England and has decided Herefordshire will move into Tier 1 (Medium Alert) from Saturday 19 December.

While Herefordshire infection rates are low compared to other areas, residents are being urged to stay vigilant, follow the Tier 1 guidance and go the extra mile to help protect themselves and their loved ones from the virus as well as prevent it from spreading.

Herefordshire’s Acting Director of Public Health Dr Rebecca Howell-Jones said: “Although going into Tier 1 eases some of the current restrictions, I am asking Herefordshire residents to take extra care up to and after Christmas to protect their family and friends particularly those who are elderly or vulnerable. The decisions we all make now will affect us and the wider community in the coming weeks and months.”

The county had been in the Tier 2 (High Alert) level since December 2 when the month-long national lockdown was lifted. However the Government is reviewing each area’s tier status every 14 days.

When doing this the Government considers 5 key epidemiological indicators:

  • case detection rates in all age groups
  • case detection rates 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

The indicators are designed to provide a full picture of what is happening with the virus in any area so that suitable action can be taken.

In Tier 1:

you must not socialise in groups larger than 6 people, indoors or outdoors, other than where a legal exemption applies.  This is called the ‘rule of 6’

businesses and venues can remain open, in a COVID secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs

hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:

provide table service only, for premises that serve alcohol

close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, on transport services and in motorway service areas are exempt)

stop taking orders after 10pm

hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink 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-through

early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm

public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 4,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors

public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 4,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors

places of worship remain open, but you must not attend or socialise in groups of more than 6 people while 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, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events

organised outdoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes can continue

organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes can continue to take place, if the rule of 6 is followed. 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

if you live in a tier 1 area and travel to an area in a higher tier you should follow the rules for that area while you are there. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through a tier 3 area as part of a longer journey

 

Across all tiers everyone:

  • must wear a face covering in most indoor public settings, unless they have an exemption
  • should follow the rules on meeting others safely
  • should attend school or college as normal, unless they are self-isolating. Schools, universities, colleges and early years settings remain open in all tiers
  • should walk or cycle where possible, plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes when travelling

The full Tier 1 restrictions can be found on the Government website.

Dr Howell-Jones added: “I want to thank the residents of Herefordshire for their fantastic efforts in following the Covid-19 guidance and helping to reduce transmission of the virus.

“Although the county has moved into Tier 1, it is so important that everyone remains committed to following the rules and going that extra mile to ensure the Covid-19 rates are kept as low as possible and most importantly that we protect our loved ones. The virus is still in our communities and infection rates can accelerate very quickly if people relax their behaviour.

“We still have a long way to go in the fight against this virus. Social distancing, wearing a face covering in most indoor public settings away from home and regular handwashing are as important now as they were during the peak of the pandemic. Following the guidance is vital if we are to prevent a surge in cases during January and February.”

Published: 17th December 2020