Ahead of the new autumn term starting, we have been supporting schools to get ready to welcome pupils, students, and staff back into the classroom safely.
Sheffield moves to Tier 3 'Very High' alert in fight against COVID
The Government has announced today that Sheffield will come out of lockdown on 2 December and enter into the tier 3‘Very High’ alert category, along with Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham.
Some tier 3 restrictions will be different this time compared to when Sheffield was in tier 3 before lockdown started on 5 November.
The tier 3 rules will mean that:
People must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless they are part of your household or support bubble*. This includes private homes and indoors in hospitality venues. 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 must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside or a public garden.
Hospitality venues will be closed, with the exception of take aways, click & collect, drive through and delivery services. Shops and retail outlets will be open.
Indoor venues will be closed including indoor play centres and areas, trampolining parks and soft play, casinos, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, amusement arcades and adult gaming centres, laser quests and escape rooms, cinemas, theatres and concert halls, snooker halls, bowling alleys and skating rinks.
Leisure and sports facilities may continue to stay open but there will be no group exercise classes (including fitness and dance), saunas and steam rooms will close.
People will be required to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible but can travel to venues or amenities that are open. Travel to other parts of the UK needs to be avoided, including for overnight stays other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities.
Places of worship will be open, but people must not attend with or socialise with anyone outside of their household or support bubble while you are there, unless a legal exemption applies.
The number of people attending weddings and funerals will be restricted.15 people can attend wedding ceremonies but wedding receptions will not be allowed. 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events.
Everyone who can work from home should do so. Where people cannot do so – including, but not limited to, people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction, or manufacturing – they should continue to travel to their workplace. Public-sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work where necessary.
Across all tiers everyone:
- must wear a face coveringin most indoor public settings, unless they have an exemption
- should follow the rules on meeting others safely
- should attend school or college as normal, unless they are self-isolating. Schools, universities, colleges and early years settings remain open in all tiers
- should walk or cycle where possible, plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes when travelling
- must follow the gathering limits at their tier except for in specific settings and circumstances.
Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods and window visits. Regular testing will be offered to up to 2 family members or friends per resident by Christmas, which, when combined with other infection-control measures such as PPE, will support indoor visits with physical contact. Detailed guidance will soon be published.
Greg Fell, Director of Public Health for Sheffield said: “The important thing for us at the moment is to remember that although our rates are coming down they do remain too high so my message to everyone is to carry on doing the right thing to beat this virus; wash your hands, don’t touch your face with hands that aren’t clean and keep your distance – that two metres between you and another person makes all the difference.
“As we know, this is a virus that kills 1% of the people it infects and we have many people in the city who are at a higher risk than others from it. We have to remain vigilant. We’re not out of the woods yet and, even though we are hearing good news about a vaccination it is not in place yet so this is a crucial time for us to keep following the rules.
“That said, what Sheffielders are doing is working. We have the second or third lowest rates in Yorkshire which hasn’t happened by magic; it’s happened because a large proportion of people have followed the guidance and we thank them for that.”
Councillor Julie Dore said: "The people of Sheffield have sacrificed so much this year due to the impact of coronavirus and this week we have seen the reality that this will continue for the next few months. The government have announced continued restrictions and the tragic number of deaths across the country reported each day continue to reach levels we have not seen for months. We need to continue to act to get our infection rates down.
"The decision around which tier we are in has been taken by central government, there has not been input from local councils or Directors of Public Health. As Mayor Dan Jarvis has said it is important that the government give a full rationale for how they have made different determinations in different areas and also how you can get out of the restrictions you are placed in.
"Without this it will be harder to bring people along and to give hope that there is an end in sight to the sacrifices we are making. From the start I expressed my concerns about the localised lockdown system and we have seen the problems it creates with decisions about different places looking arbitrary. As we said before, businesses also need to be given enough support to get them through the higher level of restrictions they are being placed under than other parts of the country.
"We are all incredibly frustrated by the way that this continues to be handled by the government, however, it is important that people do continue to follow the restrictions as if we do not do this it is inevitable that the number of cases will rise and there will be more hospital admissions and tragically more people will die."
Full detailed guidance on the new tier 3 restrictions is at .GOV.UK
*A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household. Households in that support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together.
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