Today's announcement from the Health Secretary confirmed that Northampton South would be placed into Tier 2 as we exit the national lockdown on Wednesday 2nd December. I am disappointed that Northamptonshire is not in the lowest Tier level and strict restrictions will remain in place. Earlier this week, I wrote to the Health Secretary and outlined the case for Northampton South to be placed in Tier 1 but unfortunately as cases across the county are still high and rising in some areas, the decision was made for us to enter Tier 2, despite pressure from myself and other Northamptonshire MPs.
There is more information on the Covid Winter Plan, the Christmas bubbles, expansion of support bubbles and the route out of measures on my coronavirus advice page HERE.
Why is Northampton South in Tier 2:
As set out by the government on Monday the criteria for determining the tier level of each local authority is as follows:
a. Case detection rates in all age groups;
b. Case detection rates in the over 60s;
c. The rate at which cases are rising or falling;
d. Positivity rate (the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken); and
e. Pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy.
The Health Secretary's written statement gives an overview explanation of why each area is placed in each tier, which you can read HERE.
Tier 2: What does it mean for us?
Below is a summary of the Government advice and what the restrictions mean for Northampton South and Northamptonshire.
- You must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
- You must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’
- pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals
- hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:
- provide table service only, in premises which sell alcohol
- close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, transport services and motorway service areas are exempt)
- stop taking orders after 10pm
- hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink 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-through
- early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm
Places of worship:
- places of worship remain open but you must not socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while you are indoors there, unless a legal exemption applies
- weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events such as wakes or stonesettings.
Sporting events and exercise:
- public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
- public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
- organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue
- organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with). There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing
Further support for Businesses:
In addition to the support that is already available, the Chancellor has announced further financial support for businesses affected by Tier 2 restrictions.
Cash grants of up to £2,100 per month will be made available to businesses in England which have been adversely affected by local Tier 2 restrictions.
The additional funding will be allocated to local authorities placed on the high-alert tier to help them support businesses which are severely impacted by the restrictions on socialising.
Who can apply?
The grants are primarily aimed at businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sector in England that are adversely impacted by restrictions.
This includes hotels, B&Bs and restaurants which may remain open but have experienced a reduction in takings due to a restrictions on households mixing, as well as those legally forced to close.
How much will businesses get?
Local authorities will receive a funding amount based on the rateable value of the businesses in their area:
- Firms with a rateable value of £15,000 or under will be allocated grants of £934 a month.
- Those with a rateable value of between £15,000-£51,000, will be allocated grants of £1,400 a month.
- Businesses valued at £51,000 or more will be allocated of £2,100 per month.
The grants are equivalent to 70% of the amounts given to legally closed businesses (worth up to £3,000/month).
- you can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
- if you live in a tier 2 area, you must continue to follow tier 2 rules when you travel to a tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities.You can travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey
- for international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list
Exemptions from gatherings limits in all tiers
- as part of a single household, or a support bubble
- for work or providing voluntary or charitable services, including in other people’s homes
- for childcare, education or training – meaning education and training provided as part of a formal curriculum
- for supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care (before and after-school childcare), groups and activities for under 18s, and children’s playgroups
- for formal support groups, and parent and child groups – up to 15 people aged 5 and older
- to allow contact between birth parents and children in care, as well as between siblings in care
- for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
- for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
- for birth partners
- to attend a funeral – with no more than 30 people present – or a commemorative event such as a wake for someone who has died – with no more than 15 people present
- to see someone who is terminally ill or at the end of life
- to attend a wedding or civil partnership – with no more than 15 people present
- to provide emergency assistance
- to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
- to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
- to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable or to provide respite for a carer
- to facilitate moving home
The Health Secretary and government officials will review the data on a rolling two week basis. I will continue to support constituents and businesses throughout this period of restrictions and will be making the case to Ministers that Northampton South should be placed in Tier 1 as soon as possible.
If you are in need of support or advice then please do not hesitate to contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org