Staffordshire is set to move to High Alert for Covid-19, in a bid to stem the rise of cases across the county.
The exact date of when the new measures will come into place has still to be confirmed, but it could be as soon as this weekend. The status of the alert will be reviewed in 14 days.
Alan White, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said: “Our residents and businesses have made huge efforts to keep our county safe and open, but despite this, cases continue to rise rapidly and we are now facing tighter restrictions.
“This year, Staffordshire has showed what it does best – pulling together and supporting our communities, but now we need to redouble our efforts to avoid any further restrictions and protect our county.
“We can, and we must rise, to this new challenge, but it is down to each and every one of us to stick to the new rules when they do come into force to help keep Staffordshire safe and open for business.”
The Government’s three tier alerts are: Medium, High and Very high. The main difference between Medium and High is the additional laws on households mixing indoors. The Very High Alert would see even tougher restrictions, including some businesses being forced to close.
The county council is continuing to work with district and borough councils and partners to manage the impact on the county and it will continue to lobby Government for support for residents and businesses struggling during the pandemic, as well as support for wider efforts to contain the virus.
Dr Richard Harling, Director of Health and Care, said: “The virus is spreading in Staffordshire largely through social contact, so this extra guidance on mixing indoors will hopefully help reduce the rate of infection.
“By sticking to the Covid High Alert rules, we have the best chance of not only curbing the spread of infection, but also of having these extra measures removed as quickly as possible.”
The new restrictions for the High Alert Level will mean:
You must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them. This includes private homes, and any other indoor venues such as pubs and restaurants.
You must not meet indoors with people in any other alert level, including those living in a lower alert level
You may continue to see friends and family you do not live with outside, including in a garden or other outdoor space. When you do so, you must not meet in a group of more than six. The “Rule of Six” includes children of any age
You can still travel to other areas, but you are advised to limit your trips as much as possible
You should not visit relatives in care homes unless there are exceptional circumstances