By Daniel Wood
Residents in Kirklees, Calderdale and Bradford are to enter a new lockdown, as will people longer be allowed to socialise with anyone outside their household starting from Tuesday 22 September.
The three areas have been placed back in strict lockdown measures after seeing a sharp rise in cases.
Selby and Scarborough have also been added to the areas of concern by their councils.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has not ruled out a second nationwide lockdown.
In a statement, the Department of Health and Social Care said: “All parts of Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale, will now be banned in private homes and gardens, from 22 September.
“Some wards in these areas had been exempt from restrictions on gatherings introduced at the start of August, but these wards will now also be subject to the ban.”
Kirklees Council has gone a step further than that, as in a statement they said: “The Government has today announced that the whole of Kirklees, from Tuesday 22 September, will return to being under the local restrictions originally introduced on 30 July.”
In Kirklees, residents will no longer be able to:
- Meet people you do not live with inside a private home or garden, except where you have formed a support bubble.
- Visit someone else’s home or garden even if they live outside of Kirklees.
- Socialise with people you do not live with in other indoor public venues – such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions.
- Visit friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances. Care homes should restrict visits to these circumstances.
Dewsbury and Batley have had these restrictions since 30 July but were lifted for the rest of Kirklees on 2 September.
Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, said: “I know how difficult this news will be to hear. It’s an incredibly tough sacrifice to have to make.
“Since the restrictions were first Introduced in July, I have said we will work in partnership with Government and have continuously asked for the rationale on how they make these decisions.”
Pandor also expressed his concern over the frequent changes in restrictions, as it could impact the effectiveness of them and people’s mental health.
Bradford are currently the 13th most affected place in the UK with 85 cases per 100,000 people in the last week.
Kirklees is currently the 25th most-affected place in the UK and are nowhere near their tally from two months ago. In the last week, they have had 64 cases per 100,000 people.
Calderdale is even better off with 43 cases per 100,00 people in the last week. They are the 39th most-affected place in the UK, so it is somewhat strange that their restrictions are so strict.
Currently there is no set date for when the new restrictions may be reviewed.