Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin to enter Tier 2 when lockdown ends

The whole of Shropshire will be placed into 'high alert' and the Tier 2 of coronavirus restrictions.

It means that when the current lockdown ends on December 2, in Shropshire as well as Telford and Wrekin, residents cannot legally meet with anyone indoors apart from those in 'support bubbles'.

Outdoors meetings of more than six people are banned, hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with "substantial meals" and must stop taking orders at 10pm, apart from providing service through delivery, click-and-collect or drive-through.

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Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events such as wakes or stonesettings.

The Government's guidance said: "If you live in a Tier 2 area, you must continue to follow Tier 2 rules when you travel to a Tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in Tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities.You can travel through a Tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey."

It puts Shropshire in the same tier as nearby Herefordshire and Worcestershire, while elsewhere in the Midlands Tier 3 measures have been announced for Birmingham and the Black Country, Staffordshire, Solihull and Warwickshire.

The stricter Tier 3 rules include the closure of all indoor entertainment venues as well as accommodation venues. People in Tier 3 areas have been told to avoid travelling to other parts of the UK.

The Government's explanation for its Tier decisions

Peter Nutting, leader of Shropshire Council, responded to this morning's announcement.

He said: “I would like to thank Shropshire residents for their commitment in helping to curb the spread of the virus. Without their efforts, we would have seen even more cases and further lives lost.

“During the past week, it has been encouraging to see a reduction in the number of positive cases. Whilst infection rates in Shropshire remain lower than in many parts of the country, our case rate is still high, and we are seeing positive cases across all age groups.

“I would urge everyone to get up to speed with the new guidance. We are all being asked to make some small but important adjustments which will help save lives.

“A lot of people’s minds will now be focusing on the festive period. We must continue to be extremely careful – we need to limit our contact with people outside our household and support bubbles, maintain social distancing and do all we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

“If we don’t act now, our cases will rise again, putting our loved ones and particularly the more vulnerable members of our community at risk.

“’Step Up Shropshire’ has been our message, and we need everyone to play their part – for our NHS, our older residents, our care workers, our loved ones.

“Making sure people’s health is protected as we get our economy back on its feet is a difficult balancing act, but the measures announced will go some way to helping the leisure and tourism industry in Shropshire, whilst still keeping people safe.

“We’re here to support businesses as much as possible as they get back up and running and will continue with our plans to help them get back on their feet during these challenging times.

“Many of us will now be turning to Christmas shopping, and I would urge you all to ‘shop local’ within the county and recognise the efforts of our business community who have worked hard to create safe and welcoming environments.

“Our residents and businesses have made many sacrifices to try to control this virus. It has been a tough few months but now, more than ever, we need pull together. By following the guidance, we can cut the rates of infection and return to doing the things we love.”

'Be extra cautious'

Rachel Robinson, Shropshire’s director or public health, said: “The easing of some measures will be welcomed by many people across Shropshire especially as the festive season approaches.

“There may be a temptation for people to relax and let their guard down, but we are asking everyone to be extra cautious during the next few weeks.

“There’s also increasing evidence of the spread of the virus beyond people in their twenties to older and potentially more vulnerable age groups.

“We know that transmission of the virus takes place largely as a result of inter-household mixing. By moving Shropshire into Tier 2 (High Alert), which prevents households from mixing in indoor settings, we are taking preventative measures to stop the situation from escalating further and to protect our most vulnerable residents.

“If people do the right thing, by doing these basic things correctly, then they can curb the spread of the virus and not only protect themselves but protect their loved ones, avoid further restrictions and ultimately save lives.”

Only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have been placed in the lowest Tier 1 set of restrictions, with people in all other parts of England set to face more serious limits to their freedom.

For the full list of areas and the new rules, visit gov.uk/guidance/full-list-of-local-restriction-tiers-by-area.

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