Posted on Thursday 26th November 2020
Staffordshire is to be escalated to the Covid-19 Very High Alert Level when the current national lockdown restrictions end on December 2.
The county, together with Stoke-on-Trent, is one of three West Midlands sub-regions to be placed in the Very High Alert Level. The others are Birmingham and the Black Country and Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull.
Alan White, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said today’s announcement will be a bitter blow for families and businesses who have worked so hard to bring cases down across the county in recent weeks.
“We have worked hard to bring cases down and the move to the Very High Alert Level is a big disappointment.
“We understand that the decision is based on a number of factors and not just case rates, and our priority now is to get some of the restrictions lifted as quickly as possible.
“We have shown in the last few weeks that we can work together and bring cases down, and the challenge now is to maintain this when the current national lockdown restrictions end next week.
“This is going to take a collective effort and some personal sacrifice, but sticking to the Very High Tier rules is our best chance of getting back to a lower tier, allowing more businesses to reopen and getting back more of the freedoms we once took for granted.”
Staffordshire was moved from the Medium Alert to High Alert on October 31, but within hours the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a second lockdown for England. Covid seven-day case rates in Staffordshire are currently around 300 per 100,000 population, still above the West Midlands and England averages.
The Very High Alert Level will come into force when lockdown ends on December 2.
- No mixing anywhere indoors with other households, unless part of your support bubble
- Up to six people can meet in public parks, but not in private gardens
- Hospitality such as pubs and restaurants to stay shut, apart for takeaway and drive-through services
- Gyms and non-essential shops to reopen
- Work from home if you can, avoid non-essential travel and no overnight stays outside the area
- Wedding receptions banned
Full details can be found at www.gov.uk
Staffordshire is also one of 66 local authorities to take part in the roll out of rapid Covid testing for people without symptoms – with up to 10 per cent of the population eventually set to be tested every week.
Dr Richard Harling, Director of Health and Care, said:
“Identifying more people who have the virus so they can self-isolate, will help us to reduce the spread of infection this winter. So, if you have any symptoms, or are asked to get tested even though you have no symptoms, it is hugely important that you do so.
“We all need to also remember the basics of washing our hands regularly, wearing a face covering and keeping our distance. These are really simple steps, which together can make the biggest difference.”
Together with partners across Staffordshire, the county council also launched a campaign this week, urging people to stick to the rules and Do it for What Matters to them.