West Lancs feels the force of lockdown restrictions
PEOPLE in West Lancashire are banned from meeting family and friends in homes and gardens under new restrictions brought in this week.
The new rules came into effect on Tuesday and restrict any meeting of more than one household or bubble in a private location.
However, people can still meet up in the likes of pubs and restaurants providing social distancing is maintained and groups do not exceed six people.
The new rules were brought in to tackle “exponentially rising” rates of Covid-19 across the region and cover all of Merseyside and most of Lancashire.
West Lancashire was included in those changes despite recording rates of 56 cases per 100,000 people, around half of those seen in Liverpool and Preston.
Bizarrely, and in a decision which has yet to be fully explained by the Government, Blackpool was not included in the restrictions despite having higher rates than areas including West Lancashire, Chorley and South Ribble.
In a further announcement, Health Secretary Matt Hancock stated an exemption will be put in place to allow people to look after children from other households so that parents can continue to work.
Mr Hancock said the exemption would cover children aged under 14 and vulnerable adults, adding: “This covers both formal and informal arrangements. It does not allow for play-dates or parties, but it does mean that a consistent childcare relationship that is vital for somebody to get to work is allowed.”
Other changes brought in as part of the local restrictions include the closure of pubs and other venues at 10pm, though that has since been extended to cover the whole of England from Tuesday.
People are also advised to only use public transport for essential purposes and to avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators.
Those in areas with local restrictions are still allowed to go on holiday but are advised to only do so with people in their household bubbles and, if travelling abroad, must observe any relevant self-isolation rules.
In other national changes, shopworkers and people in taxis are legally obligated to wear face coverings and businesses can be fined up to £10,000 if they breach Covid restrictions. In retail, leisure and tourism and other sectors, the Covidsecure guidelines have become legal obligations.
From Monday only 15 people will be able to attend weddings, but 30 can still attend funerals and the rule of six now applies to all adult indoor team sports.
Business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events will not be able to reopen as planned from October 1.
In a direct reversal from just two weeks ago, the Government is now advising people to work from home if possible.
Councillor Ian Moran, leader of West Lancashire Borough Council, said: “It’s really sad that these new measures have had to be introduced which have been imposed on us without consultation by national government. I would urge everyone in West Lancashire to stick to the new rules so we can beat coronavirus together. If we don’t we could face further restrictions or even a full local lockdown.”