By Patrick Stephens and Max Kendix
Tougher Covid-19 regulations, confirmed to include Durham, will come into force at midnight tonight in response to a rise in cases in the North East.
The restrictions include a 10pm-5am curfew for leisure and entertainment venues, including pubs and restaurants, and a ban on socialising outside your household or support bubble.
Along with recent changes limiting gatherings to six people, restrictions may affect plans for Fresher’s Week, due to start on 28th September. The university previously indicated that two social bubbles would be able to join together with no requirement for social distancing.
On Monday, seven councils in the North East asked for new restrictions to be imposed. 1,106 new cases were recorded in a seven-day period across these areas.
The councils of Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, County Durham and Sunderland are all included. Stockton Council, which includes Durham University’s International Study Centre, is exempt from the new restrictions.
The restrictions specifically prohibit socialising with anyone outside your household, regardless of setting, even in a pub or restaurant. The same is true of public spaces such as parks and private spaces. Table service will only be allowed at pubs and restaurants.
In a letter with other Labour MPs in the North East, City of Durham MP Mary Foy wrote: “We agree that restrictions must be put in place in order to protect public health, and prevent the further spread of covid-19, and we support measures taken in order to save lives.
We do however believe that this must be done in close collaboration with local authorities, who must have access to all appropriate information, data and support in order to make the best decisions for their areas”.
Image: barnyz via Creative Commons