Local lockdown Leeds: rules explained and your questions answered as new restrictions in place
The coronavirus infection rate has reached 98.5 per 100,000 people in Leeds, with the city to be named an “area of intervention”
Stricter local lockdown restrictions are expected to be introduced in Leeds from midnight on Friday (25 September), in response to the rapid increase in coronavirus cases.
Leeds director of public health Victoria Eaton said the infection rate in the city has reached 98.5 per 100,000 people, with a positive testing rate of 8.4 per cent.
Leeds City Council has said Leeds is to be made an “area of intervention”, meaning that similar restrictions on household mixing are to be introduced as is currently the case in the West Yorkshire districts of Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale.
Here are all of your questions answered regarding the new restrictions.
When do the new restrictions take effect?
Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake has said the new local restrictions are expected to come into force from midnight on Friday 25 September.
Where do the restrictions apply?
The new rules will apply to all areas that pay council tax to Leeds City Council, with Leeds now considered an “area of intervention”.
What are the rules?
Council chief executive Tom Riordan said the fine details of the restrictions have not yet been confirmed with the government, but it is expected the following rules will become law as of midnight on Friday 25 September:
- People in Leeds cannot meet or host people who they do not live with in private homes or gardens, unless they are part of their support bubble. A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household.
- People cannot visit someone else's home or garden, even if they live outside of Leeds, unless they are part of their support bubble.
People are also being advised not to socialise with people they do not live with, unless they are in your support bubble, in any public venue either in Leeds or elsewhere. This includes pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions and parks.
Visits to see friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances, have also been advised against.
These changes are in addition to the nationwide six person limit on social gatherings that came into force on 14 September.
The 10pm curfew for hospitality, leisure and entertainment venues, including pubs, restaurants and cafes, will also still apply in Leeds.
Are there any exceptions?
People are still permitted to come inside your home or garden for specific purposes. This includes the following circumstances:
- where everyone in the gathering lives together or is in the same support bubble
- to attend a birth at the mother’s request
- to visit a person who is dying
- to fulfil a legal obligation
- for work purposes, or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services
- for the purposes of education or training; for the purposes of childcare
- to provide emergency assistance; to enable one or more persons in the gathering to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm
- to facilitate a house move
- to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
What about childcare?
Friends or family who do not live in your household should not visit your home to help with childcare, unless they are part of your support bubble.
Only people who you live with, people in your support bubble, or registered childcare provider, including nannies, should assist with childcare.
However, friends and family can still provide informal childcare for children under the age of 14.
Parents can also continue to use early years and childcare settings, including childminders and providers offering before- or after-school clubs, or other out-of-school settings, for children.
Existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children where the children do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents will remain exempt.
What are the rules in regards to transport?
Government guidance states that public transport should only be used for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work. People have been advised not to car share with people outside of their household or support bubble where possible.
Can I still go on holiday?
People who live in the affected area can still go on holiday, but this must only be with people who live in their own household, or are in their support bubble.
Will non-essential shops close?
Closure of non-essential shops has not been announced as part of the stricter measures. However, a 10pm curfew for leisure and entertainment venues will be in place.
Will schools stay open?
Schools will not close under the new restrictions.
In education settings with pupils in year 7 and above, face coverings should be worn by staff, students and visitors when moving around in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
It is not necessary for face coverings to be worn in classrooms.
Do I still have to go into work?
People who live both inside and outside of the affected areas can continue to travel in and out for work, and workplaces should implement Covid-secure guidance.
Can I meet my family and friends in a pub?
Rules state that people must not socialise with other people outside of their own household, or support bubble, in all public venues.
This applies to inside and outside of the affected areas, and includes pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions and parks.
Can I meet my family and friends in an outdoor space?
Residents are not permitted to socialise with people outside of their own household, or support bubble, in private homes and gardens.
As such, you should not visit other family members or friends in an outdoor space, such as a park or beach, unless they live with you, or are part of your support bubble.
Do those classed as “extremely high risk” or vulnerable need to go back to shielding?
The government has not yet advised that people who are considered highly vulnerable to coronavirus should go back to shielding.
The official advice only states that people should not meet with anyone outside of their household or support bubble.
How long are these restrictions likely to last?
Council leader Blake has said restrictions will be continually monitored and reviewed and additional measures could be brought in the coming weeks, if required.
She warned that such measures may need to extend into the coming weeks and months, and will depend on “everyone playing their part.”
There is no set level of infection that triggers a local lockdown, but areas with more than 40 cases per 100,000 people are likely to see extra restrictions considered.
In Leeds, the infection rate is currently well above this level at 98.5 per 100,000 people, with a positive testing rate of 8.4 per cent. This infection rate must fall to a safer level before restrictions can start to be eased again.
Leeds director of public health Victoria Eaton added that it is the expectation the national coronavirus restrictions will be in place for a long period of time, “potentially right through the winter.”