Covid restrictions: What does it mean for our region?

Lockdown restrictions will be imposed at midnight on Thursday 17 September 2020 Credit: PA

New lockdown restrictions have been confirmed for residents in Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland, Newcastle and County Durham.

Matt Hancock, announcing the rules in the House of Commons, said the restrictions were being put in place amid "concerning rates of infection in parts of the North East".

Changes come as cases in the North East have risen to the second-highest in the country, after the North West.

The lockdown restrictions explained:

From Friday 18th September, new regulations lawfully ban the following:

  • Residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens

  • Hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only

  • Late-night restriction of operating hours will be introduced, with leisure and entertainment venues required to close between 10pm to 5am.

Residents are also advised to adhere to the following guidance to further reduce rates of infection:

  • Not to socialise with other people outside of their own households in all public venues

  • Only to use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work

  • Take holidays only within your own household or support bubble

  • Avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators

The government's decision has been made in close collaboration with local leaders after seven authorities requested tougher measures in the region.

Leader of Newcastle City Council Nick Forbes, who first announced the collaborative letter to central Government, told ITV Tyne Tees, "We wanted to ensure the lockdown restrictions were done on our terms".

The lockdown announcement coincides with 44 days until the end of the government's coronavirus furlough scheme, which ends on October 31st.

The job retention scheme supported millions of employees as the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown forced many businesses to close.

Rishi Sunak has hinted at 'effective ways' to replace the furlough scheme Credit: PA

The Confederation of British Industry told ITV News, "Businesses in the North East know public health must come first and have been doing all they can to keep staff and customers safe, whether it’s pubs, shops, factories or offices."

The CBI credited the seven local authorities who "recognised the risk to the wider North East" and requested tougher measures.

“With the number of new local restrictions on the rise, the Government will need to take an urgent look at the business support packages for the autumn, including a successor to the furlough scheme.”

As people in the North East of England face harsher restrictions, ITV News has calculated that 11.2 million people around the UK are or will be under additional measures.