Most of Yorkshire to go into strictest coronavirus rules tier as full list of restrictions revealed

Most of Yorkshire will go into the strictest tier of coronavirus restrictions from December 2, it has been revealed.

Thursday, 26th November 2020, 11:50 am
Updated Thursday, 26th November 2020, 2:43 pm

Only York and North Yorkshire escaped Tier 3, with those areas heading into Tier 2.

But the rest of the region will head in Tier 3, meaning a ban on households mixing, except in limited circumstances such as parks.

Bars and restaurants will be limited to takeaway or delivery services and people will be advised to avoid travelling outside their area.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Photo: PA

In Tier 2, there is a ban on households mixing indoors and pubs, and restaurants only able to sell alcohol with a “substantial meal”.

The new system will apply from December 2 after England’s blanket lockdown ends and restrictions have been tightened after Government scientific advisers warned that previous measures had not been effective enough.

A postcode search website was released before Health Secretary Matt Hancock made a statement to the Commons, showing the tiers of each area. But it experienced “technical difficulties” as people rushed to see what curbs they would face.

Commons Leader Sir Lindsay Hoyle said it is “not acceptable” that the Government’s postcode checker was revealed before Mr Hancock's statement.

Labour’s shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz said: “At 11.14am it was announced that you could find out which tier you were in via a journalist rather a statement to the House,” adding: “I think this is an absolutely appalling way to treat Parliament.”

Sir Lindsay replied: “This House should be informed first we keep telling the Government that is the way that good government should treat and respect this chamber. It is not acceptable to put it online.

“The only good thing about the Government is it’s crashed so it’s not helpful, so might be that we do get the statement first.”

He added: “This House should hear it first.”

However, when he did address MPs, Mr Hancock said the national lockdown in England has “successfully turned the curve and begun to ease pressure on the NHS”.

He told the Commons: “Cases are down by 19 per cent from a week ago and daily hospital admissions have fallen seven per cent in the last week.

“January and February are always difficult months for the NHS so it is vital we safeguard the gains we made.”

And he said that the measures are necessary given the “scale of the threat” faced by the UK.

He said: “The majority of England will be in Tier 2, but in a significant number of areas I’m afraid (they) need to be in Tier 3 to bring case rates down.

“Now, I know how tough this is, both for areas that have been in restrictions for a long time like Leicester and Greater Manchester, and also for areas where cases have risen sharply like Bristol, the West Midlands and Kent.

“The full allocations have been published this morning and laid as a written ministerial statement just before this statement began.”

He added: “I understand the impact that these measures will have, but they are necessary given the scale of the threat that we face.”

And he said: “So as tempting as it may be we cannot simply flick a switch and try to return life straight back to normal.”

He added: “We will do this by returning to a tiered approach applying the toughest measures to the parts of the country where cases and pressure on the NHS are highest and allowing greater freedom in areas where prevalence is lower.”

Evidence and advice he added “shows that we must make the tiers tougher than they were before to protect the NHS through the winter and avert another national lockdown”.

He added: “In Tier 1 if you can work from home you should do so. In Tier 2 alcohol may only be served in hospitality settings as part of a substantial meal and in Tier 3 indoor entertainment, hotels and other accommodation will have to close along with all forms of hospitality except for delivery and takeaway.”

Mr Hancock said the tiers will be reviewed in a fortnight and kept “regularly under review after that”.

Only three areas are to be placed in Tier 1, where restrictions are limited.

In this tier, the rule of six applies indoors and outdoors, people are urged to work from home if they can and pubs are limited to table service..

The tiers will be reviewed on December 16 but experts have warned that people must continue to face restrictions ahead of the UK-wide easing of measures over Christmas.

The Department of Health said decisions on tier levels were based on a number of factors, including case detection rates in all age groups and, in particular, amongst the over 60s.

How quickly case rates are rising or falling and the impact on local NHS services are also taken into account.

The final decisions were made by the Prime Minister at the Covid Operations Committee.

Mr Johnson, whose coronavirus self-isolation period has ended, is expected to hold a press conference later.

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership lobbying group, said “These will be testing times for the large parts of the North now back under Tier 3, including the North East, the Tees Valley, West Yorkshire, Sheffield City Region, Hull and Greater Manchester. This will have a brutal impact on many businesses in particular in the hospitality industry.

“Metro mayors and council leaders must have a say on whether these draconian measures continue after a few weeks. It is vital proper financial support is given to the worst-affected areas - many of which have been under restrictions since August and are in need of targeted support.

“The success of Mayor Joe Anderson, his Liverpool City Region fellow local government leaders and the Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham, in controlling the virus has rightly led to them being able to move down the regional tiers system.

“Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe also deserves recognition and support from government for having the foresight to set up local track and trace systems months ago - using council funds."

While Beckie Hart, CBI Yorkshire and Humber Director, added: “For many businesses in Yorkshire and Humber, going into toughened tiers while waiting for a vaccine will feel like suspended animation.

“Some parts of the economy, such as retail, can begin to re-open and look towards a recovery. It gives our high streets a chance to rescue some of the vital festive trading period.

“But for other businesses the ongoing restrictions in Tiers 2 and 3 will leave their survival hanging by a thread. Hospitality will remain frozen. And supply chains that cross regions in different tiers will be hit even if they don’t face direct restrictions.

“It’s vital that these firms receive the financial support they need to make it through to the Spring. Clarity about ongoing employment support, including the Job Retention Bonus, will help protect as many jobs as possible. Businesses need to know what support will be there through to March and beyond in advance, rather than taking it down to the wire.

“Lessons must be learned from previous local lockdowns. Boundary lines between different tiers need to work on the ground. Trigger points for exiting the higher tiers must be transparent.

“Those decisions will need to be clearly communicated each fortnight and taken collaboratively between local, regional and national leaders. Most importantly, evidence must be open and transparent – the cost to jobs is only justifiable if it has a material impact on health.

“Liverpool’s shift to tier 2 is clear evidence that mass testing can make a real difference on the ground.

“So there is encouraging news on mass rapid testing and vaccines, and it’s vital to protect jobs and businesses with an end in sight.”

In a written ministerial statement, published at the same time as Mr Hancock addressed Parliament, the reasoning behind each allocation was set out.

For West Yorkshire, it read: "This area is improving with case rates falling in all five lower tier local authorities. However, case rates in all ages and rates in over 60s remain very high (389/100,000 and 312/100,000 respectively). Positivity is 13.9 per cent."

In South Yorkshire, it said: "This area is improving with case rates falling in all four lower tier local authorities. However, case rates in all ages and rates in those over 60 remain very high (274/100,000 and 223/100,000 respectively). Positivity is 11.0 per cent. There is pressure on local NHS Trusts."

While in the East Riding and Hull, it said: "The picture in Humber is improving with case rates now falling in three of the four lower tier local authorities. However, case rates in all ages and in over 60s remain very high (431/100,000 and 344/100,000 respectively). Positivity is 12.6 per cent. There is ongoing pressure on the local NHS."

And in North Yorkshire and York, it said: "Overall case rates (including for those over 60) in this region are improving in seven of the eight local authorities and lower than other parts of Yorkshire and The Humber but remain high overall (202/100,000 in all age groups and 145/100,000 for those aged over 60). Positivity is 8.5 per cent. Rates in Scarborough are significantly higher than the rest of the region (334/100,000 in all age groups and 247/100,000 in those aged over 60) but falling rapidly."

Mr Hancock said “this is on all of us” and urged the public to “dig deep”.

He told the Commons: “The less any one person passes on the disease the faster we can get this disease under control together and that is on all of us.”

He added: “Hope is on the horizon but we still have further to go so we must all dig deep.

“The end is in sight, we mustn’t give up now, we must follow these new rules and make sure that our actions today will save lives in future.”