A £59.3m package of support for local communities and businesses in Leeds and the rest of West Yorkshire has been agreed as the area enters the government’s Tier 3 restrictions category on Monday November 2.
New rules and guidance to help control the spread of COVID-19 are set to be introduced from 00.01 that day and will include important added restrictions on different households mixing and new rules for the city’s hospitality venues.
Negotiations between local leaders and the government have ensured that communities and businesses get as much support as possible, to reduce financial uncertainty and protects people’s health and wellbeing.
The negotiations have also led to a commitment to joint work on measurement and review after 28 days, strengthening test and trace capabilities and clear communication with our communities.
The funding is made up of:
- A one-off additional amount of £20 per head: for West Yorkshire this is estimated to be worth £46.6m in additional funding to support businesses.
- A total of £8 per head to support enhanced test and trace and contain measures, resulting in an additional £12.7m.
This is in addition to the existing business grant arrangements previously announced by the Chancellor. This is a major policy shift from government that will now benefit all the authorities that enter into Tier Three.
The Tier 3 measures are being introduced in an effort to reduce non-essential contact between different households and to avoid local NHS services coming under unsustainable pressure in the coming months.
People across Leeds are once more being asked to be part of a city-wide effort to keep local communities and health services safe by observing the new restrictions and following the vital advice on handwashing, face masks, social distancing and self-isolating.
While a sustained effort has seen progress made recently on bringing the number of cases of the virus down, levels still remain very high, with the latest data showing an infection rate of 416.7 cases per 100,000 people tested.
Following the discussions with the government the decision has therefore been taken to move the city into Tier 3, meaning that from 00.01 on Monday November 2:
- Residents in Leeds cannot socialise with anybody they do not live with, or have not formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting, private garden or most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events within or outside of Leeds. This does not include parks and other public spaces provided the Rule of 6 is followed.
- Schools and universities will remain open.
- Arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children where the children do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents will remain exempt.
- Pubs and bars in Leeds must close unless they are operating as restaurants and alcohol can only be served as part of a substantial meal.
- Nightclubs remain closed.
- Any travel outside of or into Leeds should be avoided unless it’s for work, education or youth services, to meet caring responsibilities, or if travelling through the area as part of a longer journey.
- Residents of Leeds should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK and people from elsewhere should avoid staying overnight in Leeds.
In addition to the in addition to the core ‘very high’ measures, the following will also be applied in West Yorkshire, with the detail being confirmed when the regulations are laid. The closure of: Casinos, Soft Play Areas, Adult Gaming Centres, Betting Shops, and no Car boot sales. The following restricted opening measures will also be put in place: Shisha bars must not serve Shisha – but may operate as cafés and gyms may open, but guidance is against indoor exercise classes taking place.
Existing guidance for providing care and support as well as attendance at certain events and venues will remain in place. This means:
- Tradespeople can still enter a household for work.
- Places of worship remain open but mixing between households is not permitted.
- Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of people attending (15 and 30 respectively), but wedding receptions are not allowed.
- Exercise classes and organised sport can take place outdoors subject to risk assessments and compliance with COVID-secure guidance. These activities can only take place indoors if people can avoid mixing with others they do not live with or share a support bubble with, or for youth or disability sport. Activities for elite sportspeople and their coaches is permitted if necessary for competition and training.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “The health and livelihoods of our communities are at very serious risk, so it was imperative we got the best deal possible to protect our people and city. We have succeeded in negotiating a substantial package of financial support and commitments for businesses and our communities, with much of the business support in addition to existing government support schemes, which is a significant development.
“The introduction of any restrictions on life in Leeds is never something any of us want to see, but keeping our residents and communities safe and protecting the health, care and other front line workers to whom we owe so much has to be our absolute priority.
“This past week we have seen just how much the people of Leeds will unite to support their own and we must draw on that same inspirational compassion and indomitable spirit now as together, we enter the next phase of our fight against this dreadful virus.
“We will continue to work with our partners, communities and local businesses to ensure they are given the absolute maximum support available and we would ask everyone in Leeds to carry on standing together as a city and doing their part to look after each other.”
Everyone in Leeds can help to control the spread of COVID-19 by observing restrictions and following the key guidelines:
- Make space and stay 2m away from people you do not live with.
- Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds.
- Cover your face in enclosed spaces.
- Isolate when you need to/are advised to, and get a test if you have symptoms.
Lucy Jackson, Leeds City Council’s chief officer for public health, said: “We know that the news of additional restrictions is difficult to hear for everyone in Leeds but these measures are not taken lightly.
“Cases of COVID-19 in the city are currently at a very high level and we must take action now to control the spread, keep everyone in our communities as safe as possible and avoid our local health services being overwhelmed over the winter months.
“It’s also impossible to overstate the importance of everyone following the advice on social distancing, hand-washing and wearing masks when required. Taking these simple steps could save lives and will be particularly important in keeping vulnerable and older people safe by minimising their contact and risk as much as possible.”
For details on all current coronavirus guidelines and advice visit the government website or Leeds City Council coronavirus information pages.