Herefordshire will be placed under Tier 1 (Medium) restrictions from Saturday 19th December, after a large fall in infection rates in the county led to Health Secretary Matt Hancock announcing that the government had made a decision to reduce the restrictions.
Tier 1: Medium alert
In Tier 1:
- you must not socialise in groups larger than 6 people, indoors or outdoors, other than where a legal exemption applies. This is called the ‘rule of 6’
- businesses and venues can remain open, in a COVID secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs
- hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:
- provide table service only, for premises that serve alcohol
- close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, on transport services and in motorway service areas are exempt)
- stop taking orders after 10pm
- hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
- early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm
- public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 4,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
- public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 4,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
- places of worship remain open, but you must not attend or socialise in groups of more than 6 people while there, unless a legal exemption applies
- weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events
- organised outdoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes can continue
- organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes can continue to take place, if the rule of 6 is followed. There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes, and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing
- if you live in a tier 1 area and travel to an area in a higher tier you should follow the rules for that area while you are there. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through a tier 3 area as part of a longer journey
- for international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list
Statement from West Mercia Police:
Superintendent for Herefordshire Ross Jones said:
“The good news for those living in Herefordshire is that we are now within Tier 1 as we approach the Christmas period. However, areas surrounding us are living under different regulations, not only in England but also Wales.
“The Government’s regulations do outline that you must adhere to the restrictions for the area in which you live, even if you have travelled out of that tier. We continue to work together across our force counties and closely with our neighbouring forces and where breaches are identified we will use our powers fairly and proportionality.
“This has been a challenging year for everyone and we certainly understand the temptation that will be there to head out an socialise. Our communities have worked incredibly hard to reduce the number of cases in Herefordshire. It’s important that we all continue to stick to the rules which are in place to keep us all safe and prevent the further spread of the virus.”
Statement from Herefordshire Council:
The Government has announced the outcome of its review of the Covid-19 tier system in England and has decided Herefordshire will move into Tier 1 (Medium Alert) from Saturday 19 December.
While Herefordshire infection rates are low compared to other areas, residents are being urged to stay vigilant, follow the Tier 1 guidance and go the extra mile to help protect themselves and their loved ones from the virus as well as prevent it from spreading.
Herefordshire’s Acting Director of Public Health Dr Rebecca Howell-Jones said: “Although going into Tier 1 eases some of the current restrictions, I am asking Herefordshire residents to take extra care up to and after Christmas to protect their family and friends particularly those who are elderly or vulnerable. The decisions we all make now will affect us and the wider community in the coming weeks and months.”
The county had been in the Tier 2 (High Alert) level since December 2 when the month-long national lockdown was lifted. However the Government is reviewing each area’s tier status every 14 days.
When doing this the Government considers 5 key epidemiological indicators:
- case detection rates in all age groups
- case detection rates in the over-60s
- the rate at which cases are rising or falling
- positivity rate (the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken)
- pressure on the NHS
The indicators are designed to provide a full picture of what is happening with the virus in any area so that suitable action can be taken.
The Government’s reasoning for moving Herefordshire to Tier 1 restrictions:
Since the end of national restrictions, the picture in Herefordshire has improved. Overall case rates have decreased by more than 20% and the case rate in over 60s is stable at 41 per 100,000. Epidemiology indicators have decreased sufficiently for the area to be de-escalated to Tier 1. It will be important to keep the epidemiology under review to ensure transmission of the virus does not require re-introduction of tier 2 measures.
The number of daily COVID hospital admissions in the area continues to rise, and while the daily COVID bed occupancy is below the national acute hospital average it also continues to rise.