• Eamonn Watson

LANCS. BOROUGHS NOW SPLIT AS COVID ALERTS KICK IN

Updated: Oct 16

As the Covid Alert system and restrictions become law on Wednesday 14th October and imminent decisions in consultation with central government about a move from High, to Very High, Covid Alert status are made, each Lancashire borough was given a separate listing and could now be viewed as an individual case.

Initially the rest of Lancashire was listed separately from Preston, Burnley, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen, on the Covid Alert system that determines when certain businesses will have to close, though all areas had been graded High.


Lancashire County Council warned that the county is on the cusp of a move to the tier three, Very High category, which enforces a mandatory lockdown of pubs and bars and may also see other business closures under review saying, "It's highly likely that some, or all, of Lancashire will be put into the most severe Tier 3 soon"


"The stark truth is that Lancashire has some of the highest infection rates in the country and it is highly likely that more restrictions are on their way.", warned Geoff Driver, the Leader of Lancashire County Council.


Summary of the P.M.'s statement


The Covid Alert rank for each regional area will be reviewed continuously for the next six months, from October 14th. With the exception of Pubs and Bars, local authorities will decide with central government which business will close in their area, when this is triggered by the Very High Covid Alert.


Other business that can also be closed in the Very High category are Betting Shops, Casinos and Adult Gaming Centres, Gyms, and Close Contact services


Dining-based pubs and restaurants can stay open in areas with even the tightest restrictions, but, bars and pubs that do not serve substantial food must close.


In these areas they can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant, which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal.They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal and only to family groups or family bubbles.

The P.M.'s statement in full can be read here



Tier 3 : - Very High


The Government will set a baseline of measures for any area in this local alert level. Consultation with local authorities will determine additional measures.


The baseline means the below additional measures are in place:

  • Pubs and bars must close, and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant - which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.

  • Wedding receptions are not allowed

  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. The Rule of Six applies in open public spaces like parks and beaches.

  • People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘Very High’ area they are in, or entering a ‘Very High’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.

  • People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘Very High’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘Very High’ area if they are resident elsewhere.

The Very High tier will also benefit from the proposed financial compensation package of 67% furlough for all staff, and Local Restrictions Support Grant whilst venues remain closed.


"The Very High alert level will apply where transmission rates are rising most rapidly and where the NHS could soon be under unbearable pressure without further restrictions.

In these areas, the government will set a base line of prohibiting social mixing indoors and in private gardens and I am sorry to say closing pubs and bars."


"We want to create the maximum possible local consensus behind this more severe local action, so in each area we will work with local government leaders on the additional measures which should be taken.


This could lead to further restrictions on the hospitality, leisure, entertainment or personal care sectors, but retail, schools and universities will remain open.”

Tier 2 : - High


This means the following additional measures are in place:

  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place

  • People must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space.

  • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

"This primarily aims to reduce household to household transmission, by preventing all mixing between different households or support bubbles indoors.

In these areas, the Rule of Six will continue to apply outdoors, where it is harder for the virus to spread, in public spaces as well as private gardens.

Most areas which are already subject to local restrictions will automatically move into the “High” alert level.

As a result of rising infection rates, Nottinghamshire, East and West Cheshire and a small area of High Peak will also move into the “high” alert level."


Tier 1 :- Medium


This is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place.

This means:

  • All businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs.

  • Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am.

  • Businesses and venues selling food 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-thru.

  • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open

  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees

  • Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed

  • People must not meet in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors

"The Medium level will consistent of the current local levels - the rule of six and the closure of hospitality at 10pm."


SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES FORCED TO CLOSE




Staff wages will be supplemented in the short term by the existing CJRS, for the payments until the end of October, for any businesses forced to close immediately before the additional Job Support Scheme extension of 67% of furlough pay begins on November 1st.


The furlough payment will me made be paid to employers monthly in arrears at 67% via the JSS expansion scheme.


Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.


Employees will need to have been on the payroll on September 23 to be eligible and need to be furloughed for a minimum of seven consecutive days.


The local restriction grant scheme will offer payments of up £3,000 per month to business owners to help cover fixed costs, where they are forced to close by law and will be administered by local authorities.


There will be three levels of grants for business owners forced to close based on rateable value, £1,334 per month, £2,000 per month and £3,000 per month.


The powers to provide additional discretionary grants in those areas placed in the highest category will be defined locally in all the areas which will be graded very high following today's announcements.


Meanwhile the Job Support scheme which begins on November 1st, caters for those businesses still allowed to continue trading



We're here to help you through this together, so the T+G support blog is updated every day.


For any advice you need, just call 01995 600 600, or

email our dedicated, support team at covid19@tagac.co.uk

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