Nottingham and Warrington to enter tier-3 Covid restrictions

Helen Pidd North of England editor, Pamela Duncan and Amy Walker
·7-min read
<span>Photograph: Shahid Khan/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Shahid Khan/Alamy

Nottingham and Warrington will become the latest areas of England to come under the tightest Covid restrictions, with pubs closed and all household mixing banned.

Tier 3 restrictions will come into force at 12.01am on Tuesday for Warrington and 12.01am on Thursday for Nottingham.

By the end of the week, 8.2 million people will be living under tier 3 restrictions, or one in seven people in England. The new measures mean all pubs and bars must close, unless they are serving “substantial meals”. Alcohol can be served only alongside food.

Tier one – medium

  • The “rule of six” applies, meaning socialising in groups larger than six people is prohibited whether indoors or outdoors.

  • Tradespeople can continue to go into a household for work and are not counted as being part of the six-person limit.

  • Businesses and venues can continue to operate but pubs and restaurants must ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and close between 10pm and 5am.

  • Takeaway food can continue to be sold after 10pm if ordered by phone or online.

  • Schools and universities remain open.

  • Places of worship remain open but people must not mingle in a group of more than six.

  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of people who can attend (15 and 30 respectively).

  • Exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors, and – if the rule of six is followed – indoors.

Tier two – high

  • People are prohibited from socialising with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting.

  • Tradespeople can continue to go into a household for work.

  • The rule of six continues to apply for socialising outdoors, for instance in a garden or public space like a park or beach.

  • Businesses and venues can continue to operate but pubs and restaurants must ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and close between 10pm and 5am.

  • Takeaway food can continue to be sold after 10pm if ordered online or by phone.

  • Schools and universities remain open.

  • Places of worship remain open but people must not mingle in a group of more than six.

  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of people who can attend (15 and 30 respectively).

  • Exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors but will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with those they do not live with (or share a support bubble with), or for youth or disability sport.

  • Travel is permitted to amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but people are advised to reduce the number of journeys where possible.

Tier three – very high

  • People are prohibited from socialising with anybody they do not live with, or have not formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting, private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events.

  • Tradespeople can continue to go into a household for work.

  • The rule of six continues to apply to outdoor public spaces, such as parks, beaches, public gardens or sports venues.

  • Pubs and bars are only permitted to remain open to operate as restaurants, in which case alcohol can only be served as part of a substantial meal.

  • Schools and universities remain open.

  • Places of worship remain open but household mixing is not permitted.

  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of people attending (15 and 30 respectively) but wedding receptions are not allowed.

  • The rules for exercise classes and organised sport are the same as in tier 2. They can continue to take place outdoors but will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with), or for youth or disability sport. However, in Merseyside, gyms were ordered to close when it entered tier 3.

  • Travelling outside a very high alert level area or entering a very high alert level area should be avoided other than for things such as work, education or youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if travelling through as part of a longer journey.

  • Residents of a tier 3 area should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK, while people who live in a tier 1 or tier 2 area should avoid staying overnight in a very high alert level area.

Additional closures will include betting shops, adult gaming centres, casinos and soft play centres and areas.

Infection rates in Warrington are among the highest in the country and continue to rise rapidly, with case rates at 361 people per 100,000 among all age groups – double the England average of 180.6 people per 100,000.

Although infection rates were originally higher in the younger population, rates have now increased to 217 per 100,000 in over-60s, a 20% rise on the previous week, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

As of 20 October, there are 117 confirmed Covid-19 cases in hospital in Warrington, with 17 mechanical ventilation beds occupied by confirmed Covid-19 patients, according to the DHSC.

Warrington is sandwiched between Liverpool and Manchester, both of which are already in tier 3, along with nearby Lancashire and the Sheffield city region in South Yorkshire.

As well as the city of Nottingham, residents of the commuter suburbs of Rushcliffe, Gedling and Broxtowe will be subject to the tighter restrictions. The rest of Nottinghamshire will remain in tier 2.

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Warrington will receive a financial support package of £1.68m as well as £4.2m in business support funding. “This will support local contract tracing, the enforcement of restrictions, and the provision of further local level data,” the DHSC said.

The level of funding is roughly comparable to the amounts received by other areas in tier 3, adding up to approximately £28 per head.

Nottingham city council said a package of support “similar to those secured in other parts of the country” would be formally announced on Tuesday.

Earlier in October, the Nottingham council leader, Cllr David Mellen, urged the government to introduce tighter restrictions to his city quickly as infections soared. The infection rate in Nottingham fell from 726.6 in the seven days to 15 October to 464.4 in the week to 22 October, with 1,546 new cases.

On Thursday last week Nottingham University Hospitals NHS trust announced it was postponing some non-urgent surgery and appointments until 6 November “following a dramatic increase in the number of patients with Covid-19 in our hospital”.

Tracy Taylor, the trust chief executive, said: “Over the last few days we have exceeded 200 patients with the virus in the hospital, and every day this is increasing by nearly another full ward of people.”

West Yorkshire could be the next area to enter tier 3. The leaders of the region’s councils had a meeting on Monday with senior government ministers and the deputy chief medical officer to discuss the next steps.

In a statement afterwards, they said: “The latest data on infections and hospital admissions shows a continued rise, and we have repeated our calls to government that further local action needs to be taken, including strengthening community engagement and test and trace. There will be further discussions with government in the coming days.”

Lilian Greenwood, the Labour MP for Nottingham South, said the government’s communications with local politicians and the public over its tier 3 announcement had been “woeful”.

“It’s more than a week since the prime minister and Matt Hancock said they were talking to Notts about going into tier 3, yet talks didn’t even begin until late on Thursday and MPs weren’t even briefed until Friday morning,” said Greenwood.

“People rightly want to understand why extra restrictions are needed, what the restrictions involve – what are they being asked to do, how will wages and businesses be supported, and what do we need to achieve to come out of tier 3?”

Warrington and Nottingham residents must not socialise with anybody they do not live with, or have not formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting, in any private garden, or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events. They can meet in a group of no more than six in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue.

People should try to avoid travelling outside the very high alert level area or entering another, other than for work, education, for caring responsibilities or to travel through as part of a longer journey.

The restrictions will be reviewed after 28 days.