The government has confirmed that Medway will step into Tier 3: Very high alert from Wednesday, 2 December.
Like me, you may have been eagerly awaiting to find out what the end of lockdown may mean for Medway and the new tier restrictions set by the government.
It has now been confirmed that Medway will step into Tier 3: Very high alert from Wednesday, 2 December and this will be reviewed by government on 16 December.
Our neighbours across the county of Kent, including Swale, Gravesham, Dartford and Maidstone, have also been put into the highest tier level.
I understand how disappointing and concerning this news will be for residents and affected businesses, especially following a month-long lockdown. However, these restrictions are absolutely necessary to help slow the spread of this deadly virus which has already taken too many lives.
Between 13 November and 20 November, Medway unfortunately saw 1,161 new cases, and since the beginning of the pandemic Medway has tragically lost 216 family members, friends, colleagues and neighbours.
I appreciate we all want to get back to doing the things we love and therefore each and every one of us must act now and join the fight against COVID-19.
We must all prepare for how the very high alert tier will affect our daily lives from 2 December. By following these new government restrictions, we can all play our part and help save lives:
- You must not meet socially indoors with anybody you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, this includes in any private garden or at most outdoor venues.
- Rule of 6: you must not socialise in a group of more than six in some other outdoor public spaces.
- You can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible.
- avoid travelling to other parts of the UK, including for overnight stays other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through other areas as part of a longer journey.
Medway’s tier restrictions will also have an impact on Medway’s businesses with the following having to remain closed while we are in tier 3:
- hospitality settings (However, hospitality businesses can continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.)
- indoor entertainment and tourist attractions
Indoor shops, however, can remain open.
The difficult year has not eased up for businesses and I am pleased the government put more financial support in place to further protect our economy. I would encourage residents and business owners struggling financially to find out what help they may be eligible for.
The government has also confirmed that the tier restrictions will be relaxed between 23 and 27 December, allowing people to form a Christmas bubble with no more than three households. During this time, you will also be able to travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble. Get further details on the Christmas period restrictions.
Council teams have been working hard to plan for a potential tier change and we will bring you more information, in due course, about any changes to our services due to the new restrictions starting on Wednesday, 2 December.
We face the highest tier level due to an increase in the rate of coronavirus infection in Medway and I continue to urge everyone living and working in Medway to take responsibility of your own actions, which fundamentally can help protect others and see life in Medway returning to the days you dream of. If, however, we find residents or businesses ignoring the government’s restrictions, we will not hesitate to take action, working with our colleagues in the police.
Now is the time to take action for us all – we each have an individual responsibility to do everything we can to slow down the spread of coronavirus in Medway to protect our loved ones, save lives and reduce the pressure on our local NHS services. I am confident that we can, as a community, pull together and show resilience in the situation we all find ourselves in. Thank you once again for playing your part and stay safe.
Cllr Alan Jarrett
Leader of Medway Council