COVID-19 Tier 3 Restrictions: A statement from the Leaders of West Yorkshire Councils

Today (Thursday 29 October), with great reluctance, we have accepted that West Yorkshire will now move into Tier Three (Very High) restrictions as of 00.01am on Monday 2nd November.

Leaders’ Statement following meeting the Secretary of State, Thursday 29th October 2020:  

Over recent days, we have had a number of meetings with government ministers to discuss the next steps for controlling the rising COVID-19 infection rates across the region. Today, with great reluctance, we have accepted that West Yorkshire will now move into Tier Three (Very High) restrictions as of 00.01am on Monday 2nd November.  

The virus spread is now at a critical juncture.  Not only are infections rising in our region, particularly amongst the elderly, but we already have evidence that the NHS is starting to struggle to deliver essential elective care.  Once it became clear that heightened restrictions would be necessary, we have been negotiating hard to secure a package of support for our region and our residents - with the aim of reducing the financial uncertainty for people and businesses 

For now, to enable us to take the advised measures to protect people’s health and wellbeing, we have secured a package worth an additional £59.3m to begin to help support West Yorkshire through this time.  This funding is broken down as follows:  

  • A one-off additional amount of £20 per head: for West Yorkshire this is estimated to be worth £46.6m in additional funding.   
  • A total of £8 per head to support enhanced test and trace and contain measures, resulting in an additional £12.7m. 

We also ensured that this £59.3m package was additional to the existing business grant arrangements previously announced by the Chancellor for Tier Two. This is a major policy shift from government, that will now benefit all the authorities that enter into Tier Three.  

That asidewe remain deeply concerned that the impact on the people of the region and the West Yorkshire economy has been desperately underestimated by government. Leaders have been promised further conversations with government ministers in the next few days to discuss local schemes to build on and continue to support the economic recovery of the region. 

We expect that our local business support schemes in West Yorkshire will be ready to come into effect at the same time as the planned national government scheme for Tier Two in mid-November, subject to government funding.  

The economic package of support alone is not sufficient for us to survive this crisis, so we have agreed with government a full package of joint working including:  

  • Measurement and review after 28 days 
  • Strengthening test and trace capabilities   
  • Clear communication with our communities  

For the people of our region, Tier Three restrictions coming into force on Monday are: 

  • People must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless they are part of their household or support bubble. This includes private homes and indoors in hospitality venues, such as pubs. 
  • People must not meet with people outside of their household or support bubble in a private garden or in most outdoor public venues. 
  • People can continue to see friends and family in groups of six or less that they don’t live with (or have formed a support bubble with) in certain outdoor public spaces, such as a park or public garden. 
  • Wedding receptions will not be permitted, but couples can get married with a maximum of 15 people at the ceremony (check with the venue for additional restrictions). 
  • Funerals can be attended by up to 30 people; 15 may attend wakes and other commemorative events (check with the venue for additional restrictions). 
  • Avoid travelling outside the Very High alert area or entering a Very High alert level area, other than for work, education or for caring responsibilities, or to travel through as part of a longer journey. 
  • Avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK. 
  • All pubs and bars must close unless they are serving substantial meals, such as a main lunchtime or evening meal. They can only serve alcohol as part of a meal. Pubs, bars and restaurants must still close between 10pm and 5am.Shisha bars must not serve shisha, but can open as cafés.  
  • All casinos, soft play areas, adult gaming centres, betting shops and car boot sales must close.  
  • Gyms may continue to open, but the guidance is against indoor exercise classes taking place.  

While we continue to have concerns about how we got here, and how restrictions will be supported, we will only come through this difficult period if we all pull together. This means complying with the rules, maintaining social distancing and personal and family hygiene, wearing face masks where required, and self-isolating if asked to do so.   

We must take every measure to face this challenge as a community. It’s only by everyone doing their bit that we will beat this virus and get life back to normal, where we can do the things we enjoy.