'Now more than ever, do your bit': South Tyneside chief reacts to new Covid restrictions
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The leader of South Tyneside Council, Councillor Iain Malcolm, issued the plea in the wake of the Government’s announcement earlier today, Thursday, September 17, that the new measures would come into force at midnight tonight in a bid to halt the rise in Covid-19 cases.
The legal regulations – which will be reviewed weekly and also cover Sunderland, Newcastle, Gateshead, County Durham, North Tyneside and Northumberland – are:
*Residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubbles in private homes and gardens*Hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only*Late night restriction of operating hours with hospitality venues (pubs, bars and clubs) required to close between 10pm to 5am.
People are also advised that to help reduce rates of infection:*They should not socialise with other people outside of their own households in all public venues*Residents are advised to only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work*Wear face coverings at all times on public transport unless exempt*Holidays should be taken within your own household or support bubble*Residents are advised against attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators.
Coun Malcolm said: "Although we are still awaiting the regulations which outline and provide the detail on the advice, guidance and legislation in full, restrictions are being brought in to try and improve social distancing by restricting household mixing and the way pubs, restaurants and other public venues, including some sports, operate.
“This is in direct response to test and trace data which shows that the virus is spreading most in homes, hospitality venues and through grassroots sports.
"The new measures are about protecting our borough and the wider region.
"The North East is a compact geographic area where people regularly cross local authority borders for work, education and leisure.
"By working decisively as one with our neighbouring councils we aim to prevent a full lockdown which would devastate our economic recovery.
“However, this will only be possible if people follow the rules.
"Now more than ever I call on each and every one of you to stand firm and do your bit.
"Remember the rules around Hands, Face and Space.
"Together we can beat this virus but only if we all play our part.”
Changes come as cases in the North East have risen to the second highest in the country, after the North West.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock said: "We do not take these decisions lightly but I know the people of the North East will work together and break the chains of transmission.
“I urge those from affected areas: please, get a test if you are symptomatic, stay at home if you are required to self-isolate, and think: hands, face, space. This is the only way for us to return to a more normal way of life and avoid further restrictions.”
These changes are in addition to the nationwide 6-person limit on social gatherings that came into force on Monday.