Parts of Hertfordshire set to enter ‘very high’ COVID-19 restrictions

Parts of Herts are set to enter Tier Three restrictions from Wednesday. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire/PA Images

Parts of Herts are set to enter Tier Three restrictions from Wednesday. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire/PA Images - Credit: PA

At least four areas of Hertfordshire are set to enter ‘very high’ coronavirus restrictions from this week.

Broxbourne, Watford, Three Rivers and Hertsmere – which includes the town of Potters Bar – are all expected to be entering Tier Three, the strongest possible COVID restrictions, from 00.01 on Wednesday, December 16.

The Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock MP, is set to address the Commons on the exact plans later this afternoon.

It is believed that Mr Hancock has already spoken with MPs from Herts, Essex and London on the upcoming measures.

David Williams, Leader of Herts County Council reacted to the latest restrictions.

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He said: “The Government has announced that four of the 10 district council areas in Hertfordshire will move to the ‘Very High’ level of local COVID alert categories from 00:01 on Wednesday 16 December.

“The other six district council areas in Hertfordshire will remain at ‘High’ alert level (Tier 2) but will be included alongside all other areas in England as part of the Tier review planned for Wednesday 16 December.

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“We recognise the concerns that this escalation will prompt with both residents and businesses and the additional restrictions and tougher rules that this involves.

“The Government has taken this decision in response to the very significant increase in case numbers across the county and due to the proximity of these four district areas to north London and Essex where infection rates have also been growing significantly.

“In recent weeks we have been stressing the crucial importance of everyone in Hertfordshire following the rules and guidance around social contact and distancing, wearing face-coverings when required and washing your hands regularly. The message remains clear – we must all stay disciplined and stick to the guidance and rules if we are to improve the situation in Hertfordshire.

“We must all now redouble these efforts, particularly as we all plan for how we will follow the rules over the Christmas and New Year period including, the ‘Christmas bubble’ guidance. We must all keep playing our part to help reduce the number of cases in the county, so we can ultimately work towards returning to the type of lives we enjoyed before the pandemic.

“We are developing plans to significantly increase testing capacities across the county to try and identify more people who may be COVID-positive but asymptomatic and therefore inadvertently spreading the virus.

“We are also very pleased to see the start of the rollout of the vaccine; this is hugely significant in the battle to prevent the virus from circulating. However, we must not let our guard down and become complacent as a result of these developments.”

Below are the measures that people must follow under Tier Three ‘Very High Alert’:

• People must not mix indoors or outdoors with people outside of their household, unless in a permitted outdoor space such as a park, where the rule of six applies.

• Pubs, bars and restaurants would close and can operate a takeaway, drive-through or click and collect service only.

• Hotels, B&Bs, campsites must close except for limited work or education reasons.

• Indoor entertainment and tourist venues, including cinemas, casinos, bowling alleys, bingo halls, theme parks, must close.

• Gyms and leisure facilities can open, but group exercise classes should not go ahead.

• No crowds allowed at organised events, both indoor or outdoor.

• Places of worship can remain open, but socialising and attending with those outside of your household is not permitted.

• People should avoid all unnecessary travel and should reduce the number of journeys they make.

Coronavirus cases have been rising in Stevenage in recent weeks despite the national rate falling. Stephen McPartland MP and Sir Oliver Heald MP have both already called for Stevenage and North Herts to be placed under ‘Tier One’ restrictions.

Last week, public health leaders at Herts County Council warned of the “extremely serious” rise in coronavirus cases in parts of the county.

The county council has reiterated advice to:

• Self-isolate if you are asked to. If you fail to do this, you are putting lives at risk and there will continue to be increased enforcement checks by the police.

• Limit the number of people you see from outside your home – otherwise you risk not being able to see those people most important to you at all.

• Keep doing the basics. Treat everyone as if they are infected – wear face-coverings where it is expected and wash your hands regularly.

• Get a test if you develop symptoms. If you have a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, you should either order a test kit or book a test at one of the drive-through testing centres.

You can check the latest coronavirus tier restrictions in your area by using the Government’s online postcode checker service.

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