'We must act now to save lives': Essex's Police and Crime Commissioner urges residents to follow Tier 2 Covid rules

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Additional Covid restrictions have come into force for most people in Essex.

The county has moved from Tier 1 to Tier 2 restrictions after an increase in Coronavirus cases.

One month ago, there were no Covid cases in the area's hospitals, in the last three weeks they've had 13 deaths.

People in Essex are being asked to minimise the number of journeys they make. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Essex's Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has urged residents of Essex to follow the new Tier 2 Covid-19 restrictions.

In a video posted to Youtube, Roger Hirst said he was concerned about the level of infection, and fully supported the decision to move up a tier.

We must act now to save lives and jobs. I fully support Essex's request to the Secretary of State to be placed under a higher level of restrictions. The move we're making now is about keeping people safe- our friends, our family, our community.

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex
Essex's Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has backed the government's decision to increase fines for those who don't follow the rules Credit: ITV News Anglia

Mr Hirst also said he backed the government's decision to raise the amount people can be fined for not following the rules.

For that small minority that is blatantly disregarding social distancing it is right that they receive a fine. I welcome the government's decision to increase the fixed penalties to a maximum of £6400 for individuals and £10,000 for businesses. It is important for us all to understand that when the rules are broken by a small minority they will face consequences.

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex
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The new regulations don't include the whole of Essex.

Southend and Thurrock are excluded.

While neither unitary authority has requested to move to Tier 2, Southend Borough Council tweeted saying it's "seriously concerned" about the number of cases in the area.

What does moving from Tier 1 to Tier 2 actually mean?

In addition to the Rule of Six and the 10pm hospitality curfew, which applies across the rest of the Anglia region, in Essex households can no longer mix indoors and the Rule of 6 will only apply outdoors.

People in Essex are being asked to minimise the number of journeys they make although they are allowed to travel to work and go to venues which are open. They are not allowed to travel to lower risk Tier 1 areas to take part in activities not permitted in their own area.

Tighter restrictions could have a particularly negative impact on the hospitality industry Credit: ITV News Anglia

The new restrictions are expected to hit the hospitality industry particularly hard.

Biciletta is a cafe for cyclists in Saffron Walden. The owners say that weekends are usually their busiest time.

However, just one day into the new restrictions, the cafe has already noticed fewer customers.

It's definitely been quieter this morning but the town seems to be as busy as it has been over the last two weeks, we're not seeing as many groups of cyclists as we would at the moment... I think it's definitely going to affect us over the next few weeks, seeing how long we stay in tier 2 because hospitality is that meeting of friends and socialising.

Arron Voice, Bicicletta, Saffron Walden
Cafe's like Bicicletta in Saffron Walden are already seeing a difference in the number of customers Credit: ITV News Anglia

Essex is the only county to have requested the government to be put into tier 2, after coronavirus cases started to double every week.

The county's Director of Public Health says people could turn this arround in several weeks if they follow the rules.

If people all worked from home if they possibly can, if people observe the household restrictions without meeting with other households then we can turn this round in several weeks. And when we start to see hospital admission rates drop, because sadly we're seeing hospital admission rates go up at the moment, then I will feel confident to ask that we come out of this state.

Dr Mike Gogarty, Director of Public Health, Essex