Liverpool lockdown - what does it mean?
by Martin Malone
The least surprising news of the week was announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock in Parliament just after 10:30 this morning when he confirmed that the latest local lockdown includes the Liverpool City Region. So, here’s the lowdown, subject to the Government’s regulations which will be published tomorrow (Friday).
What is the Liverpool City Region?
It’s the area that includes Halton, Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral. The restrictions also apply to Warrington.
When do the new restrictions come into effect?
Midnight on Saturday (i.e. 00:01 on Saturday morning)
What is against the law?
- Residents must not meet anyone outside their household or bubble in any indoor setting, including private homes and gardens. These measures will be enforceable by law and subject to fines.
- Indoor settings include pubs, restaurants, cafes and any other indoor location, which presumably includes offices for appointments.
- You can go to work and education establishments.
- You can go to a restaurant, pub or cafe as long as your party is restricted to your household or bubble, and subject to the “rule of 6”.
- You cannot go for a meal or a drink indoors with someone who isn’t in your household or bubble.
- Fines will be actively imposed. They start at £200 and can increase to as much as £6400.
- You can go for a meal or drink with another household but it must be outdoors and is advised against.
- You can meet with your household/bubble and meet with “official support groups”, including those addressing addictions, helping crime victims, new parents, bereavements, sexuality and identity support groups and people caring for others.
What is advised?
- People should not meet with anyone outside their household or bubble in outdoor public spaces, such as parks and outdoor hospitality.
- People should not visit care homes other than in exceptional circumstances. Care homes should introduce appropriate restrictions.
- People should not travel unless essential, e.g. to school and work. To be clear, that means no leisure travel within or outside the restricted area.
- You can use public transport for essential trips, including work and school.
- You should not share a vehicle with anyone outside your household or support bubble.
- Weddings (max 15) and funerals (max 30) can still take place.
Can I go on holiday?
Yes, (subject to local restrictions) as long as you only travel with people in your household or bubble. After the latest update, there are very few countries that you can visit without needing to self-isolate for two weeks, both on arrival and return.
Can close family and grandparents look after children?
Yes, if a childcare bubble is made, i.e. choose this as the only other household (this was a recent change).
Can working people visit my home?
Yes, as long as they follow the national guidance. They must be registered, i.e. business people conducting their business when visiting you, so not casual workers without the relevant registration. For example, a registered plumber can visit your house but not a friend who might use his or her DIY skills.
What about Chester?
Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East have been added to the “watch list” as areas of concern. Residents should therefore expect that, based on the current pattern, they will be added to similar restrictions before long.
What is a bubble?
- Only single adults living alone and single parents whose children are under 18 can form a support bubble.
- The second household can be of any size and can include “at risk” people who were shielding.
- Support bubbles must be “exclusive”. Once in one, you can’t change to another.
- People in bubbles do not need to socially distance. They count as one household.
- Anyone contacted by test and trace must stay at home. If they develop COVID-19 symptoms everyone in the bubble must self-isolate.
- Bubbles can be cross-border, e.g. between England and Wales.
Is any financial support available for businesses?
If businesses have been forced to close for three weeks they will be entitled as follows:
- eligible business properties with rateable values of less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £1,000
- eligible business properties with rateable values of £51,000 and over will receive a grant of £1,500
- eligible businesses with more than one affected property will receive a grant in respect of each property
What do the local politicians have to say about it?
A joint statement has been issued, including
Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region
Cllr Rob Polhill
Leader of Halton Council
Joe Anderson OBE
Mayor of Liverpool
Cllr Graham Morgan
Leader of Knowsley Council
Cllr Ian Maher
Leader of Sefton Council
Cllr David Baines
Leader of St Helens Council
Cllr Janette Williamson
Leader of Wirral Council
Conor McGinn MP
Alison McGovern MP
Ian Byrne MP
Angela Eagle MP
Mick Whitley MP
Paula Barker MP
Kim Johnson MP
Bill Esterson MP
Margaret Greenwood MP
Dan Carden MP
Marie Rimmer MP
Mike Amesbury MP
Maria Eagle MP
George Howarth MP
“As the elected leaders and MPs of the Liverpool City Region our first priority is to protect the health and wellbeing of the 1.6 million people that we represent.
“It’s absolutely right that we do everything we can to stop the spread of Coronavirus and keep as many people as safe as possible. Over the past few days, we have engaged in talks with ministers over their proposals for greater restrictions.
“The measures announced today are a step in the right direction but we need to understand whether they are enough to really address the escalating cases in our city region.
“Therefore, we are requesting that the government provide us with the scientific evidence so we can understand if these measures will be sufficient to prevent the spread of the virus.
“In addition, we are also aware that, without appropriate financial support from the government, restrictions will damage businesses and industries – in many cases irretrievably – when in normal times they are perfectly viable.
“Our region is an international destination, and our visitor economy is worth almost £5bn to the city region economy every year and employs over 50,000 people. Over recent years, our hospitality and retail industries have been vibrant and growing. But we have already seen some businesses go under in the face of COVID and, without Government assistance over the past few months, many more would have followed.
“These new restrictions mean that we will also need an immediate substantial additional package of economic support from the Government urgently and, so far, it is not clear that this is being provided.
“We will now seek further urgent talks with the Government on these measures, any further measures, and what their response is to our request for a financial support package.”
What does Mayor Joe Anderson have to say?
“The infection rate is basically out of control…the businesses, the bars, the hotels, the restaurants, those are the people that are employed by the hospitality sector. Thousands of them are going to close and potentially won’t come back.”
What does Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham have to say?
“It’s a bit like the Hotel California- you can check out but you can never leave. Other areas have gone into restrictions and months later they are still there. We can’t afford that.”