The Government has announced that Chesterfield will move to the High alert level restrictions from midnight on Friday, following on from restrictions in surrounding areas.
Chesterfield has experienced a significant increase (tripled in seven days, to 140/ 100000) in COVID positive cases. We have also seen an increase in hospital admissions, which has led to the need for further restrictions.
These restrictions include no meeting socially indoors with family or friends outside of your immediate household and outdoor socialising limited to a group of six. It also means whilst pubs and restaurants can stay open, you can only attend with your own household.
Children who are subject to shared parental care can continue to spend time with both parents. The government have not updated their guidance around visiting of grandparents.
Fuller details can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-level-high .
I have been involved in discussions with local Councils and other MPs regarding this development this week.
My view is that the restrictions are not strong enough to have a really significant effect on driving down the R rate locally and are disproportionately difficult for the hospitality sector.
I am not aware of a single ‘major outbreak’ linked to a hospitality venue in chesterfield, yet those businesses are facing strict restrictions without serious support from government. The government has said these restrictions will be in place for the next 6 MONTHS ‘unless there is palpable progress’.
Something has to be done as we are seeing escalating case numbers but I am not confident that the measures that government are proposing are the right ones.
I back Keir Starmer’s call for a national circuit breaker for 2 weeks and an escalation in test and tracing capacity, but in the absence of that, restrictions of this sort on the hospitality sector should include further support for those businesses as I’ve said in Parliament repeatedly.
I urge everyone to follow the guidance to reduce further spread of the virus and to protect each other and the NHS.