By KLTV Newsdesk
With COVID-19 infection rates in Kirklees still well above the national average, the council is asking people not to hold events that are likely to attract crowds of more than 30 people for the time being.
In Kirklees, rates of infection (ROI) are four times higher than the national average and the borough has been identified as an area of concern by Government.
This represents not just a threat to people’s health but also puts Kirklees at risk of a local lockdown if rates increase further.
The Council wants to prevent large gatherings from taking place in the borough until rates of COVID-19 infection significantly drop for a sustained period of time and Kirklees is no longer an area of concern.
Public health officials believe that large groups of people gathering will increase infections.
Since lockdown started, the council has refused permission for gatherings on its land for any events that are likely to attract a crowd.
However, it now wants to work with event organisers to rearrange or cancel any gatherings or events that could attract a crowd of more than 30 people on both public and private land.
The council is now advising anyone who has organised an event that’s due to take place or is planning to, to contact them so alternative arrangements can be made to deliver safe events that do not increase rates of infection.
New powers which were introduced by the Government on 24 July 2020, allow councils to take unique local action to control infection rates or outbreaks.
These powers allow councils to close premises, cancel events and shut outdoor public spaces as well as other measures.
Kirklees Council has said they will look into using these powers to cancel events that could cause a risk if necessary.
Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Strategic Director of Public Health at Kirklees Council, said: “We understand the disappointment this may cause to local people and event organisers, but this is something we have to do.
“This will help to not only protect the health of local people but to also make sure we avoid a local lockdown which would be a much worse position to be in.
Ms Spencer-Henshall added that areas like Kirklees that have already been identified as an ‘area of concern’ are expected to take additional steps to reduce infections, and that the council will follow these instructions.
She added: “People might be wondering why other areas are not taking this stance on events but the situation is not the same here as in many other places and this means we need to be extra vigilant.
“We are urging anyone organising an event to please contact us so we can work with you and offer you support.
“This will help us to avoid a local lockdown and to make sure we don’t have to introduce measures that could be disruptive to people’s lives and livelihoods.
“We’ve seen some lockdown measures reintroduced in Oldham this week due to a large spike in their infection rates and this is the kind of situation we need to avoid.”