Government moves whole of Lancashire to Tier 4

Published Wednesday 30 December 2020 at 15:54

The government has confirmed that the whole of Lancashire, including Blackburn with Darwen, will move to Tier 4 of the Coronavirus restrictions from Thursday 31 December.

Reacting to a sharp increase in virus rates across England, the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care Matt Hancock made the announcement this afternoon.

In Blackburn with Darwen, virus infection rates have increased by 33% in the last week – from 260 cases per 100,000, to 347 cases per 100,000.

In one ward in particular – Blackburn South & Lower Darwen – the number of cases has more than doubled in the last week and is now at 660 cases per 100,000 people.

We expect these rises in confirmed cases to generate rapidly rising hospital admissions over the coming weeks.

Public Health England evidence suggests that the new variant of Coronavirus is circulating in Lancashire. This new strain is 70% more transmissible than the original virus, which means that it spreads faster and is harder to control.

The government hopes that moving more areas of England into the highest tier will slow the spread of the virus, protect vulnerable people and prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed.

In Tier 4 areas, the following businesses must close:

  • All non-essential shops and market stalls
  • Car and other vehicle showrooms
  • Personal care / close contact services, such as hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons
  • Indoor sport and leisure venues, including gyms and dance studios
  • Leisure venues, including museums and indoor play areas
  • Community centres
  • Betting shops

We appreciate this is a devastating blow to these businesses that have already had a very difficult year. Financial support is available to these businesses in Blackburn with Darwen – you can read more on this on the Council website:

Tier 4 is the highest Coronavirus alert levels and means you must stay at home.

Being outside of your homes and gardens is only allowed with a ‘reasonable excuse’ such as:

  • For work (if you cannot work from home) and volunteering
  • Shopping for food, medicines and other essential items
  • For education and childcare.

You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble.

Outdoor exercise is allowed, either alone, with members of your household or support bubble, or with one person only from another household provided social distancing is maintained. You should limit the amount of time you spend outdoors, and keep a distance from other people.

Childcare bubbles are still allowed – check the website for more details.

Weddings can only go ahead in exceptional circumstances in Tier 4, and only with up to six people present.

Funerals can go ahead with a maximum of 30 people present.

In Tier 4 places of worship can remain open for communal prayer, but worshippers must only mix with people from their own household or support bubble.

Shielding vulnerable people

In Tier 4, the advice to Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) people, who previously were asked to shield, is to stay at home as much as possible, except to go outdoors for exercise or to attend health appointments.

CEV people can meet up with one other person from outside your household or support bubble, for example, to exercise in an outdoor public place. You should always try to do so as safely as possible by maintaining social distancing.

Councillor Mohammed Khan, Leader of the Council, said:

It’s incredibly disappointing to be placed into a higher tier with even tighter restrictions, especially after the sacrifices that we’ve all been making particularly by not seeing family and close friends over Christmas.

The government has taken the decision to extend Tier 4 restrictions to more parts of England to get increasing rates of the virus under greater control.

We will continue to support the local businesses that bear the brunt of these tighter restrictions.

It is more important than ever that everyone in Blackburn with Darwen follows all the guidance and stays at home as much as possible. This, together with the NHS vaccination programme which is underway across the borough, is the only way that we can reduce the spread of the virus, get rates down and get into a lower tier.

The NHS’s national vaccination programme is gaining momentum as more and more vaccination centres open every week, and also with the approval of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine. This is considered crucial as Britain already has more than four million doses on standby. Plans are understood to be in place to roll it out across the UK from 4 January.

You can read the Tier 4 guidance in full on the website.

There’s more information about support for Blackburn with Darwen residents and businesses on the Coronavirus section of the Council website.

This site uses cookies. Find out more about this site’s cookies.