Now that we are now effectively in a second lockdown, I wanted to give an update specifically relating to the new measures announced by the Prime Minister over the weekend.
Most of you will already be familiar with the new measures which will come into force on Thursday 5th November and will last for a 4 week period up to 2nd December but a summary of the proposed measures can be found HERE and the Prime Minister’s full speech can be found HERE alongside some comprehensive data presented by the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser – link here.
After the 2nd December it is intended that we will return to the regional tier system that is currently in place. You will be aware that in Worcestershire we are currently in the tier 1 ‘Medium’ level. This is important. The government felt the need to bring in national measures because the infection rates are rising in ALL parts of England including in regions where infection rates were relatively low. In fact, the rate of increase recently has been highest in some of the areas with the lowest infection rates. Also while there was some evidence that the recent measures in the highest tier areas were helping to flatten the curve and the spread of infection, that was not enough – infection rates were still increasing in most areas. We need to bring infection rates DOWN sharply, not just flatten.
The major concern was that without action, infection rates and deaths could exceed those we experienced back in April. We can not let that happen, and want to also make sure that we continue to provide NHS services to those in need of medical attention for non-coronavirus illnesses. Hence the lockdown. But the intent is to come out of lockdown on 2nd December and the infection rates in our region at that time will determine which tier we exit from the national measures in to. It is important that we all play our part in abiding by the latest measures and restrictions so that we exit in the lowest tier possible and can get back to our lives as close to normal as possible. The measures are similar to the measures brought in in March with restrictions on reasons you can leave your home for work, to buy food and essentials and for exercise etc. But there are also some differences: for example, schools and educational institutions will remain open; and you can go outside to exercise with one other person from a different household (as long as you socially distance).
The new measures will be brought before Parliament on Tuesday, debated and voted on this week. The precise final measures will therefore not be determined until that vote but the current intention is for the measures to look very much as announced by the Prime Minister on Saturday and outlined in the link above and HERE. This information will be updated regularly, so I strongly advise you to refer to this site as your primary source for guidance and answers to questions over the coming weeks.
The impact of the new measures on business will be considerable and the Chancellor has announced further measures to support business during the next month, including a one month extension to the furlough scheme. Information can be found here.
None of us wanted to be in this situation, but by working together and playing our part I am confident we can exit the latest restrictions soon and continue on our path to recovery.
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