Coronavirus restrictions in North Devon look set to remain as they are after the Prime Minister announced new alert levels for England.
The country will be placed into ‘medium’, ‘high’ and ‘very high’ alert levels under the new restrictions, which were announced by Boris Johnson on Monday (October 12).
Areas listed as medium will be subject to the same rules as those which currently apply across the country, such as the rule of six and the 10pm hospitality curfew.
In the high alert level, which will apply to most of the areas already subject to restrictions, household mixing will be banned indoors. Support bubbles will still be permitted, however.
The very high alert level will apply to areas causing the most concern, and social mixing will be prohibited indoors and in private gardens.
Pubs and bars will be closed in the very high alert level areas unless they can operate as a restaurant. People will also be advised against travel in and out of the areas.
Speaking in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister said the UK is becoming ‘better and better’ at fighting the virus.
He said: “This is not how we want to live our lives, but this is the narrow path we have to tread between the social and economic trauma of a full lockdown and the massive human and indeed economic cost of an uncontained epidemic.
“With local and regional and national government coming together, in a shared responsibility and a shared effort to deliver ever better testing and tracing, ever more efficient enforcement of the rules, and with ever improving therapies with the mountains of PPE, and the ventilators that we have stockpiled.
“With all the lessons we have learned in the last few months, we’re becoming better and better at fighting this virus.”
A further six cases were announced across North Devon and Torridge on Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases since October 1 to 51.
There have been 33 confirmed cases in North Devon and 18 in Torridge.
There were 65 cases of Covid-19 recorded across the two districts in September and 12 in August.
It comes as Ilfracombe Infant and Nursery School became the latest school to advise certain pupils to self-isolate following a confirmed case of the virus. It follows similar measures by the Park Community School, West Buckland School and Petroc in the last week.
Squires Fish and Chip Restaurant in Braunton announced on Monday it would be closed until October 17 after two confirmed cases.
The restaurant announced a temporary closure on Wednesday (October 7) after members of staff were forced to self-isolate.
It said it had no reason to believe anyone who has dined at the restaurant is at risk, and added it felt a closure was ‘best for our community’.
Three Ilfracombe pubs also closed their doors out of precaution. After a positive test at the Prince of Wales, the pub was set to be closed for a week, with the nearby Hip and Pistol and the Sandpiper Inn also taking the decision to close, although neither had a positive test. The Sandpiper was due to reopen on Saturday, October 10.
Devon County Council leader John Hart, who chairs the Team Devon Local Outbreak Engagement Board, has urged residents not to get complacent.
He said: “Cases are steady and that is largely as a result of the commonsense of the people of this county. And I want to commend them for that.
“But we cannot be complacent and it behoves all of us to make a renewed effort to follow the national guidance.
“So I would urge you all, please:
• keep a safe distance from others, two metres is preferable
• wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water and use hand sanitiser where it is provided
• wear a face covering when you’re indoors in public spaces and on public transport
“And if you have symptoms – a high temperature, new and continuous cough, or a change in your sense of smell or taste – you must self-isolate straight away. Do that, then get a test.”