Colchester Avoids Tier 3

todayDecember 14, 2020 15

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The Government has announced a review of the current Covid-19 Tiers and has today, (Monday 14 December 2020) placed parts of Essex under Tier 3 restrictions.

Last week Essex County Council urged ministers and officials to keep the county in Tier 2 based on its overall infection rate.

However, following an announcement today by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock, the districts of Basildon, Braintree, Brentwood, Castle Point, Chelmsford, Epping Forest, Harlow, Maldon and Rochford will move to Tier 3 at 00.01 on Wednesday 16 December. The neighbouring unitary councils of Southend on Sea and Thurrock will also move in Tier 3.

Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring will remain in Tier 2 for the time-being but will be reviewed by the government on Wednesday 16 December.

Essex County Council had argued strongly to remain in Tier 2, given the impact on jobs and businesses, especially in the hospitality sector in the run-up to Christmas. However, the County Council understands the need to act in light of the latest and increasing infection levels.

Moving these parts of the county to Tier 3 comes as a result of a continued rise of infection, with several Essex boroughs and districts now at or over the threshold for Tier 3 restrictions.

Under Tier 3 restrictions, many businesses will need to temporarily close, or change the way they operate. The County Council will now work with government to ensure Essex businesses have all the available support.

Under Tier 3, people must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody that they do not live with, or who is not their support bubble, including private gardens and most outdoor venues.

Hospitality businesses such as bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants will close apart from to offer takeaways, as will accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses. The list of exceptions and exemptions can be found here.

Indoor entertainment and tourist venues must close including, but not limited to, trampolining parks, soft play centres, bowling alleys, skating rinks, cinemas, theatres and concert halls.

Places of worship will remain open, but people must not attend with or socialise with anyone outside of their household or support bubble.

Weddings and funerals can go ahead, but with restrictions. 15 people can attend a wedding ceremony, however, wedding receptions are not allowed. For funerals, 30 people can attend and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events.

Under Tier 3 restrictions, residents are advised to reduce the number of journeys made where possible and avoid travelling outside of the area they live, including for overnight stays other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities.

Other parts of the county remaining in Tier 2 should continue following the government guidelines here.

Leader of Essex County Council. Cllr David Finch said: “I am of course very disappointed with this news.

“We have worked tirelessly to reduce the spread of infection in our county, but unfortunately the numbers continue to go in the wrong direction, especially in those areas that the government have decided should move to tier 3.

“We know that for these areas, moving to Tier 3 will inevitably impact businesses, particularly in the hospitality trade at what would normally be their busiest time of the year. We will lobby the Government to ensure our Essex businesses have all the support they need, during this very challenging time.

“Ultimately it is in our hands to stem the spread of this dreadful virus. The greatest gift anyone can give this Christmas is keeping yourself and your family safe. No-one wants to see a further rise in cases after the holidays. Please, follow the restrictions relevant to your area, work from home and of course, remember – hands, face and space.”

In addition to urging residents to adhere to the new restrictions, the County Council will continue to roll-out more testing and work with schools, businesses, and health and voluntary sector partners, to stem increases of infection.

Details for support for businesses in all tiers, including financial support for those in Tier 3 can be found here.

Decisions on which area goes into which tier are primarily based on 5 key epidemiological indicators:

  1. case detection rates in all age groups
  2. case detection rates in the over-60s
  3. the rate at which cases are rising or falling
  4. positivity rate (the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken)
  5. pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy

Source: https://www.essex.gov.uk/news/county-council-expresses-disappointment-over-covid-19-tier-review

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