Tier 3 covid restrictions hang over North East as leaders summoned to talks
It is understood that leaders in the region were told by central Government that a meeting will shortly be called to discuss Tier 3 restrictions, and the potential move from Tier 2.
The email, which was sent at around 10pm on Thursday October 23 stated that Ministers were keen for this meeting to happen as soon as possible.
It comes as Greater Manchester's Tier 3 restrictions come into force and has left leaders in the region unsure of what any further meeting could entail.
The region was allowed to remain in tier two when the issue was up for discussion a week ago, but leaders were told they had seven days to show existing measures were working.
Leaders were due to report back to Government this morning but it is not thought that this is the meeting the late-night demand was referring to.
This marks the latest twist in a lockdown saga for the region, after leaders of Northumberland, Newcastle, South and North Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham councils came together to fight the restrictions.
They signed joint statements pointing to a declining rate of infection in the region and urging the Government to not impose "devastating" coronavirus restrictions.
New cases of coronavirus have slowed in the region with Newcastle reporting 313.1 cases per 100,000 in the seven days up to October 18, down from 466.6 the previous week.
In County Durham cases fell from 338.1 to 329.2, in North Tyneside they fell from 251.5 to 210.7, in South Tyneside they fell from 245.1 to 235.1.
But in Sunderland cases roses to 321.9 from 299.2, in Gateshead cases were up from 255.4 to 258.8.
In Northumberland cases remained at 175.5.
What would tier three mean?
:: Pubs and bars would have to close, except those operating as if they were a restaurant and serving substantial meals. Alcohol could only be served with a meal.
:: People would not be allowed to socialise with anybody they do not live with or have a support bubble with, including in any indoor setting, private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events.
:: Socialising in a group of more than six in an outdoor public space, such as a park or beach, would be prohibited.
:: Schools, universities and places of worship would remain open but household mixing would be banned.
:: Weddings and funerals could go ahead but with restrictions on numbers of attendees. Wedding receptions would not be permitted.
:: Exercise classes and organised sport could continue outdoors but indoors only if it is possible for people to avoid household/support bubble mixing or for youth or disability sport.
:: Everyone should ‘try to avoid’ travelling outside or entering the very high alert level area except for necessary reasons such as work, education or youth services, caring responsibilities or as part of a longer journey.
:: People living in a very high level alert area should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK, and anyone resident elsewhere should avoid staying overnight in a very high alert level area.