|Following yesterday’s government announcement a new three-tier system is being introduced in England to help control the spread of coronavirus and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed.
Regions will now be classified as either ‘medium’, ‘high’ or ‘very high’ and each tier has different lockdown rules. The new rules will go live from one minute past midnight on Wednesday 14 October.
Solihull is in Tier 2 (high), along with Birmingham, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
The new rules have been brought in because rates are increasing rapidly across the country and because hospital cases are now rising to concerning levels.
Solihull Council’s Director of Public Health, Ruth Tennant, asks residents to step up a gear to keep Solihull safe and explains what the new rules are:
· People must not socialise with anybody outside of their household or support bubble in any indoor setting – whether at home or in a public place.
· People must not socialise in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other spaces like beaches or parks (other than where specific exemptions apply in law).
· Businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those which remain closed in law.
· 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.
· Exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These 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).
· People can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, for work or to access education, but should look to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible.
Ruth Tennant continued:
“The changes being brought in are just a part of the rigorous action we all need to take to stem the rising tide of new cases. They will not be enough unless everyone living or working in the borough takes immediate action to do everything they can to stop the spread.
“Our hospitals are now very concerned by the increase in people being hospitalised and the rise in number of people who are in intensive care with COVID. This is now extremely serious.
“These are people who were infected several weeks ago when our rates were lower. I am very worried that as our rates continue to climb this can only mean more people becoming seriously ill.
“We need everyone to do everything they can to reduce the spread. It’s really important to not make exceptions as this is the point where – as we have repeatedly seen– the virus will slip through and spread.
“We can stop the spread by:
· Physical distancing: including sticking 100% with the new measures, social distancing as a matter of course and reducing the number of people you are in contact with to a minimum.
· Stopping the virus in its tracks by hand washing, mask-wearing as much as you can.
· Doing the right thing when you or a family member has symptoms: get tested and follow self-isolation advice. If you need financial support and are eligible, we can help with this. We will also contact you to see if you need any support and understand the self-isolation rules.
“We can also make it easier to cope with a tough period of restrictions on what we do and who we see by:
· Looking out for friends, family and neighbours who might be lonely, isolated or struggling to cope.
· Staying active outdoors where you can still meet other people and get exercise.
· Ask for help – or offer help to anyone who may be struggling as a result of COVID. Mental health support and advice and support for people experiencing domestic violence is out there for you.”