Answers to some of the most common questions being asked.
Below are some answers to the questions I am receiving. I will continue to update these. You can find the details of the measures HERE.
What are the main restrictions?
You cannot meet other people who don't live in your household to socialise indoors. That includes inside homes, pubs and restaurants.
Under the new tier system, we can now meet others outside in groups of no more than 6, with social distancing measures in place.
Can I visit my elderly mother who lives alone?
You can form a support bubble with someone who lives alone or is the only adult in their household, merging the two households. You can find out more about this HERE.
Rates of Covid-19 are lower in Northumberland than the rest of the north east, why do these restrictions apply to us?
Rates in Northumberland are continuing to rise fast and are resulting in increased hospital admissions. I am in regular discussions with the Health Secretary about having parts of our county removed form the tier 2 restrictions once our cases start to decline, and I remain confident we can achieve that if we stick to these measures.
I will be checking the figures on a ward by ward basis to make the case for areas to be removed from these restrictions once cases start to fall. There are some areas where cases are low, but people living there work in areas with higher cases.
How can I view this detailed data?
Northumberland County Council has created a dashboard which shows the number of new daily cases for each ward in the County. You can view it HERE.
Why are there restrictions on socialising with others, but we can still go to work and school?
Workplaces are Covid-secure, and must follow strict Government guidelines to keep people safe and have carried out risk assessments to ensure they keep to the guidelines. That includes social distancing, enhanced cleaning and they are subject to inspection. This is not the case in peoples' homes and many have been socialising with friends and family without proper social distancing, which is how the virus has taken hold once more.
Can I still go to work?
Yes, your workplace will be covid-secure. You can still go to work.
Can my children still attend school and nursery or childminder?
Can I still go on holiday?
Yes, you can go on holiday but only with your own household/support bubble.
What about informal childcare?
I am delighted the Health Secretary has listened to my concerns and announced an exemption for providing care for vulnerable adults and children under 14.
This means that if you have a regular childcare arrangement with someone from another household (such as a grandparent) this is allowed to contune to enable you to work. There is more information on that HERE.
Can a cleaner, hairdresser, or tradespeople still come to my home?
Yes, your home is their place of work, and they should already be following the guidelines on how to do so safely HERE.
I run a holiday business within the restricted area, can I still welcome guests?
Yes, just keep following the original Government guidance on how to do so in a covid-secure way. Guidance for those visiting our area on how to ensure they stay safe and follow the guidelines is HERE.
Are tourists coming here and spreading the virus?
No. There has not yet been a single documented case of a local Covid-19 infection originating from a tourist, even though we have experienced one of the busiest tourist seasons on record. That is in huge part thanks to the incredible efforts our hospitality industry has gone to in order to ensure everyone is safe - locals and visitors alike.
Test and trace data enables us to know exactly how infections originate and are spreading. In Northumberland, it is through social contact - the mixing of household groups - in one another's homes and gardens, not keeping to social distancing guidelines. These infections have spread north from the south of the county, not from the tourism hotspots.
Tourists are still welcome to come here to experience are wonderful countryside and are subject to the same rules as other residents in order to keep everyone safe.
Can I go to shops and hair salons?
Yes, with your own household. These venues are already covid-secure.