Residents of York could find themselves unable to meet with another household after Boris Johnson announces further lockdown restrictions this evening.
The three-tier lockdown system the PM is widely reported to be introducing will be based on Covid alert levels. An area will be deemed as “medium”, “high”, or “very high”. These levels are measured by cases per 100,000 people on a seven day rolling rate. For York, there are currently 236 cases per 100,000.
Tier ONE is the lowest tier and will be classed as a “medium” level. It is estimated that this will apply to areas with fewer than 100 cases per 100,000 people. The current rule of six will still apply, as will the 10pm curfew. Face masks in shops will still remain.
Tier TWO is the middle tier and will be classed as a “high” level. It is estimated that this will apply to areas with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people. This is the tier York is expected to fall under. This will potentially mean that different households will not be able to meet up, even outside. Businesses will remain open but only essential travel will be allowed, and if people can work from home then they should. Crowds gathering for weddings or funerals will also be limited.
Tier THREE is the highest tier and will be classed as a “very high” level. It is estimated that this will apply to areas of the country that have an extremely high infection rate, well above the rest of the country. Places like Liverpool and Newcastle are expected to be in this tier. Restrictions will be the strictest in these areas. Pubs, gyms and casinos are expected to close and no overnight stays will be allowed from people outside of the area.
Sharon Sholtz, York’s Director of Public Health, told the BBC that the change in approach left her unsure on the impact it might have on York. She said: “We thought last week that York might go on a watchlist as an area of concern, that didn’t happen.” It makes her job “incredibly difficult” as she can’t advise people on what to do next.
Nick Triggle, Health Correspondant for the BBC said: “There is an economic, social and emotional toll of closing down parts of a community. No one is sure whether they will really work.”
Expected timeline of events around the three-tier lockdown system:
Monday 12th October, 8am, an emergency COBRA meeting begins.
Monday 12th October, 3:30pm, the PM due to inform parliament at of the new rules.
Monday 12th October, expected at 6pm, Boris due to address the nation in a televised news conference with the chancellor and chief medical officer.
Mid-November, the PM will review the system to see if infection rates have dropped.