Hertfordshire has been classified in the medium level of the new three-tier systems for local lockdowns within England. Under this tier 1 level, a 10 pm curfew is set for pubs, bars and restaurants. Additionally, gatherings of over six people are banned with the exception of some settings, for example weddings and funerals.
The news comes after Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, on Monday (12th October) unveiled the government’s plan to place various restrictions on areas depending upon their Covid-19 infection rate. The three alert levels which will come into force on Wednesday are medium, high and very high. The system has been introduced following a rise in Covid-19 infections across the country.
In a joint statement David Williams, Leader of Hertfordshire County Council (HCC), and Jim McManus, the County Council’s Director of Public Health said:
“It has been announced that Hertfordshire, as a whole, has been placed as a medium-risk area in the government’s new system of Local COVID-19 Alert Levels. This means that Hertfordshire is currently rated in Tier One – the medium alert level.”
However, ‘despite’ being placed in the lower tier the county has in fact ‘seen a significant rise in positive cases of coronavirus.... over the last 10 days.’ Both warned ‘the situation’ in Hertfordshire ‘remains serious, and that ‘there is no room for complacency.’ Mr Williams and Mr McManus added:
“We’re urging all of our residents to act now to avoid our county moving to high-risk status for which there will be stricter, tougher measures introduced. We are properly prepared, and have a detailed plan in place to deal with each scenario. But now is the time to redouble our efforts to keep the virus at bay.”
In the statement both ‘understand that many... residents have been playing their part’ by adhering to ‘government guidelines, particularly on face-coverings, social-distancing, the ‘rule of six’, and self-isolation.’ Furthermore, they ‘are appealing to everyone to be even more disciplined’ in order ‘to help... control the spread of the virus.’ Mr Williams and Mr McManus conceded that ‘unless we act now it is likely’ the infection rate ‘will continue to rise,’ and ‘could mean further restrictions.’ Both ‘want to keep’ local residents ‘safe,’ whilst ‘also keeping the county up-and-running to support’ Hertfordshire’s businesses and economy.
The advice from HCC remains to ‘self-isolate if you are asked to.’ In addition, the council has announced ‘there will be increased enforcement checks by the police.’ Secondly, HCC is asking that individuals ‘limit the number of people’ they ‘see from outside’ their homes. Finally, they are ‘calling on’ residents to ‘keep doing the basics’ by wearing face coverings when required, and regular hand washing.
Mr Williams and Mr McManus concluded:
“Everyone must take responsibility now to lower the risks involved in all of the things we do in our day-to-day lives. Unless we do that, coronavirus could get a stronger grip than it has now. We still have a limited window of opportunity to stay in control of the spread of the virus in Hertfordshire, rather than having stricter measures implemented. We urge all of our residents to help us make sure that is the case, by following the guidance. If you keep playing your part, we can all stay safe in Hertfordshire together.”
What is the current situation regarding the coronavirus infection rates within Hertfordshire?
To date, there has been 7,436 cases of coronavirus across the whole of Hertfordshire. Between 3rd – 9th October the number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in the population, for the following local areas was:
Three Rivers - 107
Hertsmere - 91
Watford - 81
St Albans - 75
Dacorum - 71
At present, Three Rivers has the highest rate of coronavirus infections within Hertfordshire. The average rate for other English areas was 74. Last week, 110 cases were recorded in the district. Yet, it must be noted that these infection rates are comparatively lower in relation to other parts of England. For example, in Liverpool a total of 3,033 new cases were logged during the same week. The city region has now been placed under the highest alert level (tier 3) of the new English lockdown system. This means that from Wednesday pubs and bars will close. There will also be a ban on households mixing, in either indoor or outdoor settings.