Teesdale faces toughest local Covid restrictions as it's put in Tier 3
The North East will face the toughest local Covid restrictions after the end of the national lockdown, it has been confirmed.
Newcastle, Gateshead, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland, and County Durham will all be placed under Tier 3 rules from December 2. This includes Teesdale. As of November 26, upper Teesdale and west Teesdale have a Covid rate of 77.8 cases per 100,000 – well below the UK average. Barnard Castle's rate was 137.8, still below the UK average. Evenwood, Cockfield and Staindrop's rate was just above national average at 180.7.
The news, while not unexpected, will come as a devastating blow to the region’s hospitality industry – with pubs, bars, and restaurants having to stay shut.
And, unlike some other parts of the country, spectators will not be allowed back into football stadiums or to other large events.
Residents will still be banned from socialising indoors with anyone outside their household or social bubble, though people will be allowed to meet in groups of up to six in outdoor public spaces and non-essential shops will reopen.
Covid infection rates across the region have been falling significantly over the past week, but that drop has ultimately come too late to spare the North East from at least a couple more weeks of heavy restrictions.
The measures are due to be reviewed every two weeks, with the first scheduled for December 16 – so the rules here could change again before Christmas.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice made by people up and down the country, we are able to move out of national lockdown and into more targeted local, tiered restrictions.
“I know for those of you faced with tier 3 restrictions this will be a particularly difficult time but I want to reassure you that we’ll be supporting your areas with mass community testing and extra funding.
“By following the rules together we can get out of these tough measures.”
What are the rules for Tier 3?
You must not socialise indoors with anybody you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble.
Groups of six people can meet in outdoor public spaces, such as parks – but not in private gardens.
Pubs, bars, and restaurants will be closed – other than for takeaway. Hotels must also stay closed.
Indoor entertainment venues – such as cinemas, theatres, bowling alleys and casinos – will remain closed.
Retail and personal care businesses, such as hairdressers and beauty salons, can open.
People will be told to avoid travelling out of the area or making overnight stays outside of the area, other than where necessary.
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 mix with anyone outside their household or support bubble.
Exercise classes and organised sport can take place outdoors, but people are advised to avoid higher-risk contact activity.
Fans will not be allowed to attend sporting events, including football matches.