'The whole thing is counter productive' - What South Shields said about the tighter Covid-19 restrictions
After being put on the government watch list, Sunderland, South Tyneside, Gateshead, Durham, Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle will now be subject to new Covid-19 rules in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.
As of midnight on Friday, September 18 residents across the North East are being told not to socialise with other households and further restrictions to opening times and operations are being enforced in food and drink outlets.
From agreeing with the new rules to describing them as “futile”, opinions were varied.
Tannee Bedford, 29, a student from South Shields said: “I have been shielding due to health reasons so I am all for the new restrictions, people should be taking it more seriously than they are.
"I think we came out of lockdown too early, we should still be in lockdown, the virus hasn’t gone away.
"I bring my daughter out for time outside when nobody is around because it’s safer that way.
"I think the new restrictions are a good idea because the numbers have gone up but I think the government are too late with it, they could have handled it a lot better.
Max Mandri, 41, owner of RiverView Pub and Kitchen in South Shields, said: “I think the restrictions are fine as we promote table service and we close at 10pm anyway but trade has plummeted over the last few weeks.
"People are scared to go out, we have seen a 50 per cent reduction in trade, it’s going to see us close if it continues like this.
"With more restrictions in place people are going to be even more wary and trade is going to get worse.
"The eat out to help out scheme worked for us but now it’s flipped the opposite way because people are being told to go into local lockdown, people don’t know if they are coming or going.
"It’s not sustainable for us, it’s starting to shut businesses down.”
Michael Hall, 24, a bartender from Chester-le-Street, said: “I’m not sure people will actually take it seriously.
"I work in a pub and sometimes customers don’t abide by social distancing.
"Places are trying their best but nothing is really working, the cases across the North East are still going up.
"Some people are really concerned about the virus and others just don’t care.
"I think the new restrictions are probably a good thing, maybe we need to think more about keeping people safe over the economy.”
Matthew Hall, 19, a student from Chester-le-Street said: “I think the new restrictions are futile.
"I don’t really know what difference this is going to make, people are still going to school and work so it doesn’t really make a lot of sense.
"The decisions have been all over the place, they haven’t been clear and people are just confused.
"People are going back to university next week so I don’t how this will work with everyone coming back.
"We have been told to go out and socialise, to eat out and now we are being told to stop all of that.
"The whole thing is counter productive.”