Statement following government announcement that Leeds will stay in Tier 3
Everyone in Leeds can help to control the spread of COVID-19 by observing the latest restrictions and following the key guidelines.
Remember, ‘Hands. Face. Space’:
- Hands – wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
- Face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
- Space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings).
Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council said:
“Obviously we are very disappointed to be left in Tier 3 particularly when a tier change would have been a welcome relief before Christmas. We understand this decision will be difficult to hear, but which tier Leeds falls into is ultimately the Government’s to make and our view due to falling infection rates as well as the extensive plans we have in place is that Leeds could safely be moved to Tier 2.
“Now more than ever we cannot overstate the importance of continuing to adhere to the rules for just a little longer as our position will be reviewed again on December 30th and Leeds could find itself in a better position if our indicators continue to remain positive.
“We have worked hard to deliver 1100 grants to businesses which had to close in December so they get payments at the earliest opportunity on December 17th and before Christmas. Furthermore, plans are in place for venues which predominantly serve alcohol to receive a Christmas support payment with applications going live from early January.
“Since the beginning of November the council has awarded 5500 grants to businesses affected by restrictions brought in at the end of September totalling £8.4m and since the start of the pandemic we have distributed around £170m to local businesses with grant funding schemes set to be extended.
“The vaccine offers great hope and we have already given 3000 people their first jab with 20,000 vaccinated before Christmas and our major rollout beginning in early January. For now our message remains unchanged – in order to keep ourselves and each other safe we must continue to follow all of the rules all of the time.”
The Government used data from December 9th to inform its decision, which showed a sustained improvement in all five key areas it uses as indicators. In the four-week period leading to December 9th infection rates reduced by 67.2%, test positivity rates reduced by 61.5%, the infection rate in over 60s reduced by 67.1% and Covid-19 patients in hospital reduced by 45.2%. Hospital capacity remains a concern due to the significant role Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust plays across the broader area. Leeds City Council made a strong argument to be placed into Tier 2 based on these factors but accepts it is a finely balanced judgement.
A brief overview of the Tier 3 guidelines are:
- you must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, this includes in any private garden or at most outdoor venues
- you must not socialise in a group of more than six in some other outdoor public spaces, including parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, a public garden, grounds of a heritage site or castle, or a sports facility – this is called the ‘rule of 6’
- hospitality settings, such as bars (including shisha venues), pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed – they are permitted to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services. Full details are available at www.gov.uk
Different rules apply between 23 and 27 December when there will be some relaxation of the tier guidelines.
- keep it small, keep it short and keep it local – is the key message
- you can form an exclusive Christmas bubble composed of people from no more than three households, but people are being encourage to meet with the fewest people possible and for the shortest amount of time possible
- avoid staying away from home overnight
- you can only be in one Christmas bubble
- you cannot change your Christmas bubble
- you can only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or in your garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces. Find out more www.gov.uk
For general information about support and advice being offered by Leeds City Council, please visit www.leeds.gov.uk/coronavirus