Coronavirus: North Devon and Torridge to be placed in tier two once lockdown ends

A social distancing reminder in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt Smart

A social distancing reminder in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt Smart - Credit: Matt Smart

North Devon and Torridge will be faced with further restrictions once the national lockdown ends on December 2.

Areas across England will be placed into one of three tiers when the lockdown ends, but the system has been toughened.

North Devon Council and Torridge District Council areas will be placed in tier two along with the rest of the county – a level higher than before the national lockdown.

The Government outlines tier two areas as ones with a higher or rapidly rising level of infections.

At tier two, households are not allowed to mix indoors, with a maximum of six people permitted outdoors.

Pubs and bars have to remain closed unless operating as restaurants, with alcohol only served as part of a ‘substantial meal’ until 10pm.


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Retail, leisure and personal care services will be able to reopen, as can places of worship and non-essential shops.

What will and will not be allowed under tier two?

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– No mixing of households indoors aside from support bubbles will be allowed, with a maximum gathering of six permitted outdoors.

– Pubs and bars will remain closed unless operating as restaurants, with alcohol only served as part of a “substantial meal” until 10pm, before venues must close at 11pm.

– All retail, leisure and personal care services are able to reopen.

– People will be encouraged to reduce the number of journeys they make and to avoid travelling into Tier 3 areas, except for reasons of education or work.

– Overnight stays will only be permitted for those in the same household or support bubble and accommodation can open.

– Places of worship can reopen, but people must not interact with anyone outside their household or support bubble.

– Fifteen guests will be allowed at weddings and civil partnerships, increasing to 30 for funerals.

– Classes and organised sport can take place outdoors but not indoors if there is any interaction between two different households.

– Large events including sport and live performances will be open to the public but limited to 50 per cent capacity or 2,000 outdoors and 1,000 indoors.

Why is Devon being placed in tier two?

In an online version of Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s statement in the House of Commons, the reasons for each area being placed in its respective tier has been set out.

In the case of Devon, while case rates are low, there are higher rates in Plymouth Torbay and Exeter, and there is pressure at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

How many cases are there in North Devon and Torridge?

There have been 162 confirmed cases of Covid-19 across North Devon and Torridge in the seven days up to November 20, according to Government’s coronavirus case tracker.

North Devon has seen 115 confirmed cases in that time, and Torridge has recorded 47. On the whole, case numbers are falling as the national lockdown continues into its final week.

Information on local clusters shows there have been 67 cases in Barnstaple wards, including Roundswell and Landkey, with 24 recorded in Barnstaple Sticklepath.

There have been 11 cases in Braunton and 11 in the Bratton Fleming, Goodleigh and Kings Heanton area.

There have been four cases in Woolacombe, Georgeham and Croyde and three cases in Ilfracombe West.

There have been three cases in Fremington and Instow. South Molton has nine cases, and the Bishop’s Nymtpon, Witheridge and Chulmleigh area has four.

Of the been 47 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Torridge, 11 are in Bideford wards.

Appledore and Northam North has seen three recorded cases, and there have been seven in Westward Ho! and Northam South.

There have been six cases in Hartland Coast, six in Holsworthy, Bradworthy and Welcombe, five in Great Torrington, and five in Shebbear, Cookworthy and Broadheath, and four in Winkleigh and High Bickington.

Reaction

Devon County Council leader and chair of the county’s Local Outbreak Engagement Board, Cllr John Hart, said he was ‘disappointed’ the county had been placed into tier two restrictions.

He said the number of hospital beds available in the South West

Cllr Hart said: “Devon has done well so far in keeping case numbers relatively low and I would like to thank everyone for their actions during the latest lockdown, so I’m disappointed that we have been placed in tier two.

“It’s even more vital now that we all stick to the guidelines and maintain social distance, wash our hands regularly and wear masks where required so we can get cases down and get into tier one.

“And working with MPs and Team Devon partners I will be strongly lobbying the Government to provide tailored support for our hard-hit hospitality industry, which is losing out significantly during what’s usually their most lucrative period.

“I’m pleased local shops will be able to re-open in the run-up to Christmas and begin to help our economy recover, but in Devon, hospitality businesses are crucial and they need targeted support.

“In the meantime I would renew my appeal to people to stick to the rules to keep themselves and their families and neighbours safe and minimise the pressure on our local health services.

“I welcome the opening of the Nightingale Hospital in Exeter today but, as Boris Johnson has conceded, the South West still lacks hospital beds and this must be urgently addressed.”

Public Health Devon director Steve Brown said: “Whilst the number of cases across Devon has stabilised, it is clear that the virus is still with us.

“Local cases were rising when previously in tier one and it has only been through the additional restrictions and efforts of residents, that we are now just starting to see a reduction in cases.

“Going into tier two now gives us the best chance of continuing to keep a lid on cases or even continuing to bring them down.

“The number of cases still out in our communities remains a real concern, particularly in the working age population and among older people – in workplaces, care homes and other settings where people come together.

“We must not let down our guard over the next few weeks, nor throw caution to the wind over the Christmas period.

“It would take little for the numbers to start to increase again and for our hospitals to be put under increased pressure, and none of us should want to pay the price for that in a few weeks’ time or in the New Year.”

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