- Lancashire placed in Tier 2 (high) in new government alert system
- Bar closures avoided – for now
- Leaders demand any new restrictions must come with more support
- New rules mean no indoor socialising in Lancashire
- You can meet others outdoors – if you follow the rule of six
The government has announced its new coronavirus alert system and has placed Lancashire in Tier 2 – meaning that coronavirus levels are high in the county. This applies across the wider Lancashire area, which comprises the Lancashire County Council, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen areas and is expected to come in later this week after being debated in parliament.
It means that – for now – bars and pubs will not be closed in the county after Lancashire leaders won a last-minute reprieve from government.
But government has warned it is highly likely that some or all of Lancashire will be put into the most severe Tier 3 soon. Lancashire's leaders are clear that any additional restrictions must be accompanied by a full package of support for the county's residents and businesses.
Speaking on behalf of Lancashire's 15 political leaders, Geoff Driver CBE, leader of Lancashire County Council said: "The stark truth is that Lancashire has some of the highest infection rates in the country and it is highly likely that more restrictions are on their way. Our job is to make sure that we get the best possible package of support for Lancashire people and, as our talks with government continue, we will fight for that on your behalf."
Being in Tier 2 means any indoor socialising is banned across Lancashire. That means you can't meet up with anyone you don't live with, whether in your home, a bar or restaurant, or any other social setting – unless they are part of your bubble.
You can meet people outside, in places like parks and beer gardens, but you must abide by the rule of six – and you must keep your distance. If you've got a garden at your home, you can now have people there. If some or all of Lancashire goes into Tier 3, then garden socialising will once again be banned.
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Lancashire County Council's director of public health, said: "We have had restrictions on our lives since March and we are all tired, but with infections on the rise it is now more important than ever that we play our part to prevent its spread.
"Lives are at stake here, and it could be the lives of the people closest to you.
"The most important thing you can do when you interact with people you don't live with is to keep your distance. Combined with regular handwashing and wearing a mask this vastly reduces your risk of getting infected or passing it on if you have it.
"I've got a simple message – hands, face, space actually works. Please follow it to protect you and those you love."
The new system will be debated in parliament on Tuesday 13 October, with the tiers expected to be introduced from Wednesday.
More information is available at gov.uk.
Last updated: 13 October 2020