A ban on socialising with anyone from a different household and a 10pm pubs curfew are likely to be included, in a bid to stop the spread of Covid-19
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Local lockdown-style restrictions including a ban on socialising with anyone outside your household are set to be imposed across the North East, ChronicleLive understands.
A 10pm curfew is also due to be imposed on pubs, restaurants and other licensed premises.
The current plan is for measures to come into force just after midnight on Friday morning – September 18, in a bid to reverse a dramatic spike in coronavirus cases across the region.
Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, County Durham and Sunderland are all expected to be included.
No official announcement has been made about the plans, and nothing will be confirmed until a statement is issued by the Department for Health and Social Care.
ChronicleLive understands the restrictions will include a ban on socialising with anyone outside your household, whether in a private home or garden, in a public space such as a park, or in a venue such as a pub or restaurant.
A household only includes the people who you live with. Even close relatives count as a different household if they live in a different property.
Pubs and other licensed premises will remain open, but guests will only be allowed to socialise with people from their own households, and they will have to close by 10pm.
The restrictions are designed to avoid a full local lockdown. ChronicleLive understands that restrictions expected to be announced, but not yet confirmed, include:
Residents will be advised to avoid public transport at peak times except for essential journeys, and to avoid car-shares
These are on top of the « rule of six » in force nationwide, which allows people to socialise only in groups of six or fewer. The new North East rules will mean the rule of six still applies, but those six people must all come from the same household.
It’s unclear how measures will be enforced. Last week the Government introduced limited restrictions in Birmingham, barring people from socialising with people from other households in their homes or gardens, enforceable with a £100 fine. It remains to be seen whether there will be fines in the North East.
It’s likely that exceptions will be made for people in « support bubbles ». A support bubble is a household with only one adult in the home (known as a single-adult household) which joins with one other household of any size. They are effectively treated as one household.
The seven local authorities in the area have been pushing the Department for Health to allow them to introduce local restrictions, in order to control the spread of Covid-19 and save lives. At the moment, cases are rising in all seven local authority areas.
Speaking earlier this week, Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes said: “There is universal concern from council leaders across our region about the exponential rise in Covid cases over the last week.
“Unless we get on with this now, we are facing a bigger problem down the line which could end up in a full lockdown.
“It is better to try to introduce measures which will prevent that, even though that may mean some additional restrictions over the next few weeks.
“We are working with the government on a plan for what those could mean and how we can get those measures in place over the next few weeks to protect our communities and having to go into another prolonged, damaging lockdown.”
ChronicleLive also understands that, as Boris Johnson briefly referenced in today’s Prime Minister’s Questions, a new Lighthouse Lab facility could be based on Tyneside and bring a significant number of jobs to the region.
The UK Lighthouse Labs have been established to increase the number of coronavirus tests that can take place each day to support the national fight against the pandemic.
North East, Lockdown, Coronavirus, Newcastle upon Tyne, Curfew
World news – GB – Local restrictions set to come into force across North East