Barnsley is to move into the Very High category under the government's new Coronavirus (COVID-19) tier system. The restrictions will come into force from 00:01 on Saturday 24 October and cover all four local authority areas in South Yorkshire – Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.
These stricter lockdown measures are due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases in the borough.
The additional restrictions mean that:
- People must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless they are part of their household or support bubble. This includes private homes and indoors in hospitality venues, such as pubs. They must also not meet with people outside of their household or support bubble in a private garden or in most outdoor public venues.
- People may continue to see friends and family they do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) in groups of 6 or less in certain outdoor public spaces such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venues.
- All pubs and bars must close unless they are serving substantial meals
- People should try to avoid travelling outside the Very High alert level or entering a Very High alert level area, other than for work, education or for caring responsibilities or to travel through as part of a longer journey
- Residents should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK, and others should avoid staying overnight in the Very High alert area
In addition, the following restrictions will also apply in South Yorkshire:
- Additional closures will include betting shops, adult gaming centres, casinos and soft play centres.
- Gym classes will not be allowed and social distancing guidelines should be followed between people from different households (but gyms will remain open).
Organised sport, exercise classes and other activity groups are only permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with). Where it is likely that households (or support bubbles) will mix, these activities must not go ahead.
People can find more information about what the very high government's new COVID-19 tier system means at www.gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-level-very-high
Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Barnsley Council Leader and Chair of the Barnsley Outbreak Control Engagement Board said: "Although these additional restrictions come as no surprise, it's difficult to see our borough in such a severe situation.
"We understand the impact this virus is having on people's daily lives and on jobs and businesses, but Barnsley cases are spreading from young to old, putting more lives in danger, leading to more people in our hospital, more people becoming seriously ill, and sadly more people dying. We must act now to save lives and prevent our NHS from being overwhelmed.
"We've worked with our neighbouring South Yorkshire local authorities and the Sheffield City Region to get more funding from the government; this includes £30m to support the region's businesses, and £11m to support public health measures such as boosting the national NHS Test and Trace programme at a local level.
"Our Barnsley Outbreak Control Plan is driving our local approach to reduce the impact COVID-19 in our communities. It provides us with a route to exit local restrictions when cases are under control, and it's safe to ease restrictions.
"I want to thank you all for your efforts so far, and I appreciate it has been challenging, but we need to pull together and double our efforts to get us through this pandemic. We all need to do the right thing. Make sure you're following the new additional measures as well as the basics:
- Don't be a contact – follow social distancing guidance at home, work and when you're out and about.
- Wear a face covering and wear it correctly.
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Only travel if it is essential or for work.
- If you have symptoms such as a new continuous cough, a fever or loss of taste or smell isolate straight away and book a test.
- Isolate immediately if you are told to do so – this is a legal requirement.
These restrictions will be reviewed at the end of the four week period.