Staffordshire becomes latest area to be put under Tier 2 restrictions

27 October 2020, 19:37 | Updated: 27 October 2020, 20:53

Regulars enjoy a drink at a table divided by a Perspex screen at the Royal Oak in Barton-under-Needwood, Staffordshire
Regulars enjoy a drink at a table divided by a Perspex screen at the Royal Oak in Barton-under-Needwood, Staffordshire. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Staffordshire will become the latest area to go into Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions, although a date has not yet been agreed for the rules to come into force.

It is thought the new measures will come into force as early as this weekend.

Under the "high" coronavirus alert level, people in the affected areas will not be able to mix socially with friends and family indoors in any setting, unless they live with them or have formed a support bubble.

The local authority said the status of the alert level would be reviewed in 14 days.

It comes as the Staffordshire city of Stoke-on-Trent was also moved into Tier 2 restrictions last week.

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Alan White, leader of Staffordshire County Council, said in a statement on Tuesday: "Our residents and businesses have made huge efforts to keep our county safe and open, but despite this, cases continue to rise rapidly and we are now facing tighter restrictions.

"This year, Staffordshire has showed what it does best - pulling together and supporting our communities, but now we need to redouble our efforts to avoid any further restrictions and protect our county.

"We can, and we must rise, to this new challenge, but it is down to each and every one of us to stick to the new rules when they do come into force to help keep Staffordshire safe and open for business."

The rate of new cases of Covid-19 in south Staffordshire was 364.7 per 100,000 people in the seven days to October 23, up from a rate of 172.5 in the seven days to October 16.

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In the same period, east Staffordshire saw its rate increase to 216.3 per 100,000 people from 124.4, while the Staffordshire Moorlands saw it rise to 212.3 from 172.7.

The rate of new cases in Stafford also jumped from 159.5 per 100,000 people to 205.4.

Dr Richard Harling, the council's director of health and care, said: "The virus is spreading in Staffordshire largely through social contact, so this extra guidance on mixing indoors will hopefully help reduce the rate of infection.

"By sticking to the Covid high alert rules, we have the best chance of not only curbing the spread of infection, but also of having these extra measures removed as quickly as possible."