Lancashire has been added to the list of regions categorised as Tier 3 under Boris Johnson’s three-tier lockdown system.
While the rate of Covid-19 infections is rising rapidly across the whole of the UK, infection rates in Lancashire are among the highest in the country and continuing to soar.
Announcing the emergency measures for Lancashire on October 16, the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “An unrelenting rise in cases in Lancashire means we must act now, and we have worked intensively with local leaders to agree on additional restrictions.
“I know how heavy these additional challenges will weigh on everyday life for the people of Lancashire – but they are critical in bringing this virus under control.”
The region, which includes Burnley, Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Chorley, Fylde, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Pendle, Preston, Ribble Valley, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire and Wyre, moved to Tier 3 at midnight on Saturday 17 October.
These measures will be reviewed every 14 days to consider whether they are still appropriate.
Under Tier 3 restrictions, or the very high alert level, all social mixing indoors and in private gardens is prohibited, and pubs and bars must close unless they are serving substantial meals.
People must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue. In addition to these measures, gyms and leisure centres, betting centres, adult game centres and casinos will also close.
People are advised to avoid travelling outside the very-high alert level or entering a very-high alert level area, other than for work, education or for caring responsibilities or to travel through as part of a longer journey.
What is the three-tier system?
Local lockdowns are automatically triggered by a three-tier Covid alert level system, which divides the country into different areas based on local infection rates, which dictates the severity of local lockdowns.
It works alongside the NHS Test and Trace app, where people scan a special QR code to enter and exit pubs, restaurants and bars. The app sends a message to the user about lockdown conditions when the coronavirus risk profile changes.
In England, there are currently zero areas in the UK that are considered low risk by the new app.
England has been divided into one of three tiers, each of which will have predetermined restrictions.
Tier one, or medium alert level, covers most of the country and consists of the current national measures, such as the rule of six and the closure of hospitality at 10pm.
Tier two, or high alert level, bans households or support bubbles from meeting each other indoors. However separate households can meet outdoors and in public gardens providing that the rule of six is followed.
Tier three, or very high alert level, bans social mixing indoors and in private gardens altogether, and bars and pubs will be closed as a baseline. However, the Government will decide with local authorities on whether further measures, including further restrictions on the hospitality, leisure, entertainment and personal care sectors. Retail, schools and universities will still remain open in these areas.