Norfolk in Tier 2 of coronavirus restrictions, government confirms

There has been a sharp rise in the number of daily coronavirus cases recorded in Norfolk. Picture: D

There has been a sharp rise in the number of daily coronavirus cases recorded in Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire will be in Tier 2 of coronavirus restrictions when the national lockdown ends, the government has announced.

It means the counties are rated as being on high alert - areas with a "higher or rapidly rising level of infections".

While shops will reopen, households will not be able to mix indoors and pubs will only be able to open if operating as restaurants, with alcohol only served as part of a "substantial meal".

Health secretary Matt Hancock announced which tier each area would go into on Thursday morning, with the bulk of England in Tier 2.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock during a media briefing in Downing Street. Picture: Trevor Adams/Daily

Health secretary Matt Hancock. - Credit: PA

The news is a blow to Norfolk council leaders, MPs, business and people across the county who had been pushing for the county to be in the lowest tier of restrictions.

Andrew Proctor. leader of Norfolk County Council, said: "People in Norfolk have really worked hard to protect each other and protect the county.

"For that reason we had hoped we would come out of lockdown into the lowest tier of restrictions and we would be in Tier 1 from next week.

"The government has looked at it from an overall perspective and we have to accept that, although I know people in Norfolk might find that difficult, to say the least."

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Neil Perry

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Archant

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Mr Proctor said it was essential that people stuck to the restrictions, with the hope that the county could go into a less restrictive tier when the situation is reviewed.

He urged people to keep social distancing, washing their hands and wearing face coverings, in addition to the other restrictions, such as households not mixing indoors.

That was a message reiterated by Norfolk police's chief constable Simon Bailey.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey said that one in four crimes dealt with by Norfolk Constabulary relates to domestic or sexual vi...

Chief Constable Simon Bailey said that one in four crimes dealt with by Norfolk Constabulary relates to domestic or sexual violence. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

He said: "As we head into another phase of battling this pandemic, the new Tier restrictions aren’t quite as severe as the lockdown we have just come out of, but the reasons they are still with us are exactly the same – to prevent the spread of infection and saves lives.

“While we might all have our own opinions on these measures, we must take personal responsibility for making sure we adhere to them, the fact remains they are in place to protect us all and we need to follow them.

“As police, we don’t make the rules, we enforce them and I would urge each and every one of you to do the right thing and play your part in being risk aware, protecting yourselves, your loved ones and the county as a whole by sticking to the regulations.”

For the week to November 20 the seven-day incidence of the virus per 100,000 was 113, compared with 149 the previous week.

162 people are being treated for coronavirus in Norfolk and Waveney hospitals, compared with 141 on November 13.

NNUH chief nurse Professor Nancy Fontaine. Photo: NNUH

NNUH chief nurse Professor Nancy Fontaine. Photo: NNUH - Credit: NNUH

Professor Nancy Fontaine, chief nurse and director of infection control at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said: “The NHS remains open during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic and we would urge patients to continue to attend appointments and seek medical care when they need it.

"It remains essential that everyone continues to work to reduce our local coronavirus rates with rigorous social distancing, thorough hand washing and wearing face coverings when needed to protect the most vulnerable members of society.

"Let’s all keep Norfolk safe.”

The government had said there will be no local negotiation about which tiers areas are placed in.

Mr Hancock said that the measures were necessary given the "scale of the threat" faced by the UK.

He told the Commons: "The majority of England will be in Tier 2, but in a significant number of areas I'm afraid (they) need to be in Tier 3 to bring case rates down.

"Now, I know how tough this is, both for areas that have been in restrictions for a long time like Leicester and Greater Manchester, and also for areas where cases have risen sharply like Bristol, the West Midlands and Kent."

He added: "I understand the impact that these measures will have, but they are necessary given the scale of the threat that we face."

Only a handful of areas, including Cornwall and the Isle of Wight are in Tier 1 and Mr Hancock said: "I know that many other areas will want to be in Tier 1, I understand that.
"My own constituency of West Suffolk has the lowest case rate for over 60s in the whole country."

Stuart Keeble, Suffolk’s director of public health, said: “I fully understand that many people will be disappointed that Suffolk has not emerged from the national restrictions in a lower tier, or indeed no tier at all. I am too.

"Suffolk has done well at keeping our infection rates lower than many other areas in the country, and for that, I would like to thank people for what they have done.

“The facts facing us today are clear however. With current infection rates and pressure being put in health services, we need to do more of what we have been doing. We need to stick with it.

“We know what we need to do to get Suffolk back on track.

"Every one of us needs to keep following the rules to stop the spread of COVID-19.

"We need to ensure our hospitals can continue to care for people who urgently need help, including those without COVID. We need to be responsible today for a better tomorrow.”

Rachel Kearton, Suffolk’s deputy chief constable and chair of the group of public sector organisations leading the fight against Covid-19 in the county, said: "This week’s news about the success of Covid vaccine trials shows us clearly that there is light at the end of this tunnel, but there is still some way to go.

"Suffolk has been at the forefront of following Government guidance and it is precisely that which has kept infection rates relevantly low for so long.

“Now is not the time to give up and deviate from our course. Now is precisely the time to keep following the rules and stop the spread of COVID-19 so that we can get back to the social freedoms we miss so very much.”

Prime minister Boris Johnson, facing pressure from rebellious Conservatives unhappy at their constituencies being placed under the more restrictive Tier 3 measures, has said the tiers will be reviewed on Wednesday, December 15.

That will mean areas which make progress in slowing the spread of the virus could still be moved down a tier before Christmas.

The government has produced a postcode checker, although it has been crashing for many users.

Here is what will and will not be allowed under each tier.

Tier 1

Those living under Tier 1 will be allowed to meet a maximum of six friends or family outdoors or indoors.

Bars, pubs and restaurants will operate table service only, and must stop taking orders at 10pm, before closing at 11pm.

Retail and personal care - such as hairdressers and beauty salons - can reopen, and indoor entertainment venues - such as cinemas, theatres, bowling alleys and casinos - will be allowed to stay open.

In Tier 1, the stay home message is being lifted although people will still be encouraged to minimise their movements and to work from home where possible.

Overnight stays will be permitted if they are limited to a support bubble, household or up to six people.

Places of worship can reopen, but people must not interact with more than six people.

Fifteen guests will be allowed at weddings and civil partnerships, increasing to 30 for funerals.

Classes and organised adult sport can take place outdoors, but must follow the rule of six indoors.

Large events including sport and live performances will be open to the public but limited to 50pc capacity or 4,000 outdoors and 1,000 indoors.

Tier 2
No mixing of households indoors aside from support bubbles will be allowed, with a maximum gathering of six permitted outdoors.

Pubs and bars will remain closed unless operating as restaurants, with alcohol only served as part of a "substantial meal" until 10pm, before venues must close at 11pm.

All retail, leisure and personal care services are able to reopen.

People will be encouraged to reduce the number of journeys they make and to avoid travelling into Tier 3 areas, except for reasons of education or work.

Overnight stays will only be permitted for those in the same household or support bubble and accommodation can open.

Places of worship can reopen, but people must not interact with anyone outside their household or support bubble.

Fifteen guests will be allowed at weddings and civil partnerships, increasing to 30 for funerals.

Classes and organised sport can take place outdoors but not indoors if there is any interaction between two different households.

Large events including sport and live performances will be open to the public but limited to 50pc capacity or 2,000 outdoors and 1,000 indoors.


Tier 3
Groups of six will only be able to meet in outdoor public spaces, such as parks and sports courts - but not in private gardens.

Hospitality will be closed except for takeaway in these areas.
Indoor entertainment venues - such as cinemas, theatres, bowling alleys and casinos - will remain closed.

People will be told to avoid travelling out of the area other than where necessary and to reduce the number of journeys.

No overnight stays will be permitted outside the local area, except for work or education, with accommodation to stay closed.

Weddings and civil partnerships can resume but with only 15 guests, increasing to 30 for funerals. Wedding receptions are banned in Tier 3.

Places of worship can reopen, but people must not interact with anyone outside their household or support bubble.

Classes and organised adult sport can take place outdoors, but people are advised to avoid higher-risk contact activity.

Elite and live sport will still be banned but drive-in events will be permitted.

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