New Restrictions for South Tyneside
New restrictions have been announced for South Tyneside residents as part of a regional effort to contain the spread of coronavirus.
A number of new rules came into force today across all seven North East local authority areas and apply to the whole of South Tyneside, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, Sunderland and County Durham.
The Leaders and Mayors of the seven local authorities requested the power from central government to introduce stricter COVID-19 prevention measures in response to rising infection rates across the North East. The LA7 group - the collective term for the seven local authorities - is the first to proactively approach Government to request targeted measures with the aim of avoiding a full local lockdown being imposed by Government. While some of these measures have been agreed by Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock, the Government has opted to go for stricter measures than those requested by the LA7 group.
Under the new rules bars, restaurants, pubs, cinemas, theatres and other indoor leisure facilities will have to close between the hours of 10pm and 5am. All hospitality for food and drink will be table service only.
Residents must not socialise with others outside their own household in private homes or gardens and this is enforceable by law. However a household with only one adult in the home (known as a single-adult household) which has made a support bubble with one other household (also referred to as a linked household) can still see each other. Under the current rules only registered childcare providers are allowed into people's homes although the seven local authorities are continuing to push Government for changes to this rule in recognition of the many residents who rely on the support of family members for childcare. To further reduce rates of infection residents should not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in any public venues such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues or visitor attractions.
Unless formally organised by a sports club or similar organisation, with guidance issued by a sports governing body, team sports should not take place at an indoor or outdoor venue with people who are not from the same household. Spectators should also not attend sports events or matches.
Care homes continue to suspend non-essential visiting while visits to all adult inpatient wards at South Tyneside Hospital have also been suspended.
Tom Hall, Director of Public Health, said: "Test and trace data shows that the virus is spreading most in homes, hospitality venues and through grassroots sports which is why restrictions are being imposed in these areas.
"We recognise these new restrictions will be challenging but it is absolutely essential that everyone follows these rules as well as the national guidance around social distancing, and thorough and regular handwashing."
The new rules also state that, unless exempt, staff, visitors and students in Year 7 and above needs to wear a face covering when moving around in corridors and communal areas in schools.
Residents are also advised against car-sharing and are encouraged to only use public transport for essential purposes such as travelling to school or work. Unless exempt, people must wear a face covering when using public transport.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Iain Malcolm, said: "Increasing infection rates across the North East spurred the seven local authorities to work together and take decisive action to curb the spread of the virus, developing evidence-based interventions while still keeping our economy open for business.
"The new measures are about protecting our Borough and the wider region. The North East is a compact geographic area where people regularly cross local authority borders for work, education and leisure. By working decisively as one with our neighbouring councils we aim to prevent a full lockdown which would devastate our economic recovery.
"However, this will only be possible if people follow the rules and guidance. Now more than ever I call on each and every one of you to stand firm and do your bit. Together we can beat this virus but only if we all play our part."
The police or Council can take action against those who break these rules, including asking people to disperse and issuing fixed penalty notices starting at £100 for those who participate in illegal gatherings. Action will continue to be taken against businesses which do not follow the guidance to keep people safe.
The situation will be kept under regular review.
For more information and a full list of restrictions, visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/coronavirus