Thursday, 17 September 2020

New local restrictions to control Coronavirus

In recent weeks, we have seen the Coronavirus infection rates across the North East increase significantly. 

Last week, local councils asked the government to implement new restrictions now, so that we can get on top of this recent spike and avoid going back to the days of the full lockdown we saw in March and April. 

From midnight tonight, new restrictions on social gatherings, hospitality and more will be introduced. That means:
  • You cannot socialise with others you do not live with, including close friends and family. Exemptions to this rule do apply if you are providing care or assistance to a vulnerable person. If you live alone and are in a support bubble, you can continue to visit your support bubble by staying overnight in each other's houses and visiting public places together. 
  • Pubs and restaurants will be limited to table service only, and leisure and hospitality must close between 10pm and 5am. 
  • Restrictions are being introduced on non-essential visits to care homes.
  • In schools, pupils in Year 7 and above, and staff, must wear face coverings when in corridors and moving around communal areas. 
I understand how difficult these restrictions will be, especially for people living in areas which currently have low levels of coronavirus cases, but it is my hope that by addressing this spike now, we can ensure these restrictions can be in place for as short a period as possible.

In order to assist with the local coronavirus response, new testing facilities are being set up across Northumberland. Please remember to only get tested if you have symptoms, but if you have a new, continuous cough, a temperature, a loss or change of taste or smell, you should go to and book a test.

Whilst these restrictions are in place, we should continue to remember the basics too – continue to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cover your face in enclosed spaces where social distancing is difficult, and keep 2 meters apart from people you do not live with.

I know this will be a difficult time, but if we all stick to the rules, we will get through this together.