Health leaders urge people to keep up fight against virus

Close Up Of Young woman wearing face mask while walking in the streets of London

North Somerset will move into tier two on Saturday. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Tier two restrictions are now in force in North Somerset, but health leaders are urging people to keep up the fight against Covid-19.

North Somerset dropped down from tier three to tier two on Saturday following a Government review, allowing some hospitality businesses to reopen in line with national guidance. 

But case numbers show coronavirus infection rates are starting to creep up again following the move out of national lockdown and into tier three earlier this month.

North Somerset Council’s executive member for health, Cllr Mike Bell, said: “This has been a really hard year and it’s very tempting to let it all go, even for a few days over Christmas.

"But things can turn around so fast. We’ve seen Covid cases spike very quickly in other areas and we all need to do everything we can to avoid that happening here.

“The new tier two restrictions will still be tough for many of our businesses and households, but the reality is that until a full vaccination programme has been rolled out the threat from Covid remains a real and present danger.

“So, I urge everyone to keep doing what they have been doing over the past few weeks: follow the guidance, protect each other and protect our health services.

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"The worst thing we could do now is to halt the progress we have made or risk restrictions through complacency.  

“For anyone finding it hard, emotionally or financially, including our hard-pressed businesses, please visit the North Somerset Together pages at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/togther for practical advice and signposting to the support available.”

Extra grants for the hospitality trade, including wet-led pubs that do not serve food, have been announced this week.

Details can be found at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/covidbusinesssupport  

Director of public health, Matt Lenny, said: “Covid-19 continues to circulate in our community and can still be caught by anyone in any setting.  

“Our case numbers have come down, but not as fast or as far as we would like to have seen since lockdown ended.

"The feeling of exhaustion is understandable, but we need to keep looking after each other and keep the virus under control in North Somerset.  

“Wash your hands often, cover your face if you can, stay at least 2m away from anyone not in your household or support bubble, and follow the government’s guidance.”  

The latest reported rates show the seven-day rate for North Somerset is 149.3 per 100,000. The comparable South West rate is 122.5 and England is 284.2.

North Somerset’s rate was 172.5 on October 31, when the national lockdown was announced.

It peaked at 305.5 during the second lockdown, following a previous peak of 68.4 during the spring lockdown.

Rates went down to 113.9 on 9 December before starting to climb again.

Tier two rules: 

You can't mix indoors with anyone apart from members of your household or bubble
You can meet in a group of up to six outside - including in a private garden, or a public place
Shops, gyms and personal care services (such as hairdressing) can reopen
Pubs and bars can only open if they serve substantial meals. Alcohol can be served with that meal
Pubs and restaurants must shut at 11pm, with last orders at 10pm.
Sports events in stadiums can be attended by up to 2,000 spectators, or 50 per cent capacity (whichever is smaller)
Collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume (with restrictions)
Non-essential foreign travel is allowed, subject to quarantine rules
People are advised not to travel to and from tier three areas

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