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Covid-19 Update - Restrictions in the West Midlands

Coronavirus restrictions in the West Midlands – what are they and how do they affect you?

The government has now announced a three-tier system. As a result different restrictions apply to various areas of the region.

Everyone in the West Midlands is also advised to take three simple actions to keep on protecting each other:

  • Wash hands - keep washing your hands regularly
  • Cover face - wear a face covering in enclosed spaces
  • Make space - stay at least 2 metres apart - or 1 metre with a face covering or other precautions

 

Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton

These areas have been placed in Tier Three (Very High) as there is a higher level of infections, therefore additional restrictions are in place.

In this tier, restrictions include:

  • you must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, this includes in any private garden or at most outdoor venues

  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in some other outdoor public spaces, including parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, a public garden, grounds of a heritage site or castle, or a sports facility – this is called the ‘rule of 6’

  • hospitality settings, such as bars (including shisha venues), pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed – they are permitted to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.

  • accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses must close. There are several exemptions, such as for those who use these venues as their main residence, and those requiring the venues where it is reasonably necessary for work or education and training 

  • indoor entertainment and tourist venues must close. This includes:

    • indoor play centres and areas, including 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

  • indoor attractions at mostly outdoor entertainment venues must also close (indoor shops, through-ways and public toilets at such attractions can remain open). This includes indoor attractions within:

    • zoos, safari parks, and wildlife reserves

    • aquariums, visitor attractions at farms, and other animal attractions

    • model villages

    • museums, galleries and sculpture parks

    • botanical gardens, biomes or greenhouses

    • theme parks, circuses, fairgrounds and funfairs

    • visitor attractions at film studios, heritage sites such as castles and stately homes

    • landmarks including observation decks and viewing platforms

  • leisure and sports facilities may continue to stay open, but group exercise classes (including fitness and dance) should not go ahead. Saunas and steam rooms should close

  • there should be no public attendance at spectator sport or indoor performances and large business events should not be taking place. Elite sport events may continue to take place without spectators

  • large outdoor events (performances and shows) should not take place, with the exception of drive-in events

  • places of worship remain open, but you must not attend with or socialise with  anyone outside of your household or support bubble while you are there, unless a legal exemption applies

  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions are not allowed, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, 15 people can attend linked commemorative events

  • organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue, however higher-risk contact activity should not take place

  • organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes cannot take place indoors. There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s

  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible

  • avoid travelling to other parts of the UK, including for overnight stays other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through other areas as part of a longer journey

  • for international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list

You must:

You should continue to:

  • follow social distancing rules
  • work from home where you can effectively do so
  • walk or cycle where possible, or plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport

Find out more about the measures that apply in very high alert level areas to help reduce the spread of COVID-19

 

FAQs about the additional lockdown restrictions

Can I still go to a hospitality venue like a pub or a restaurant and meet up with family or friends that don’t live with me?

Those residents of Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton are no longer allowed to mix households indoors (this includes hospitality venues such as pubs or restuarants)

Why can I go to the workplace, school, or hospitality venues, but I can’t visit other households?

We understand that it can be frustrating to be able to go to these certain places but not visit your family and friends within their household.

However, the reason that these restrictions have come in place is that the data shows that the infection rate has risen mainly due to household mixing in private homes.

In places such as shops, cafes and restaurants, schools and offices there are strict measures in place to ensure safety.

Can I still meet other households in outdoor public spaces e.g. local parks?

Yes -  these rules only apply to households, including indoors and private gardens. However, you must still be in line with the maximum numbers stated in the national guidelines. That means following the rule of six and remain social distanced at all times.

Can I go to meet a friend or relative in their home in an area not subject to these restrictions, such as somewhere else in the West Midlands or elsewhere in the country?

No – and they cannot come to your home either.

Can I still travel to work or school?  

People living inside and outside of these areas can continue to travel for work or school. Workplaces and schools themselves should also be implementing secure measures. 

How are community activities like support groups, clubs and classes affected?

Activities organised by community and voluntary organisations, including physical activity, education, providing support to vulnerable people, youth groups, charitable and voluntary work, are allowed to exceed the limit of 6 people based on their individual Covid risk assessment.  However, particular care must be taken to stringently follow guidance on social distancing, handwashing and the taking of attendees’ details for purposes of contact tracing.  

Can I have someone in my house (or go into someone’s house) to do repairs or other work?

You can go to other people’s homes for work purposes as long as you follow national guidance on how to work safely there. This includes limiting contact with customers, explaining your safety measures to them, making sure your staff are properly trained and understand what they need to do and avoiding crowded areas. Check before you go if anyone in your customers’ house has symptoms.

Can I go to a wedding or a funeral?  

Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, and funerals (including ceremonies at crematoriums) can still go ahead if they comply with the guidance and venue capacity, these are limited to a maximum number of 30 people current in national guidelines.

People living in areas of high restrictions (tier two) can travel to attend a wedding, civil partnership ceremony, or funeral, but they must not meet with another household in a private home or garden.

Can I go to a place of worship?  

You may attend a Mosque, Church, Synagogue, Temple, and other place of worship, but you should socially distance from people outside of your household. Please also follow guidance that these establishments have set out.

Can businesses that visit other households continue?

Businesses can continue as normal as per national current guidance if they are Covid safe.

Does this affect education?

All schools, colleges and other educational establishments should remain open and continue to allow all their students to attend.

Do pupils now need to wear face coverings in schools?

The only difference in education settings as a result of the updated rules is that where pupils in year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.

Does this affect childcare?

All nurseries, childminders and breakfast/after-school clubs should remain open and continue to allow all their children and young people to attend.

What about if a relative provides childcare for me?

Friends or family who you do not live with should not visit your home to help with childcare unless they are part of your support bubble. The only people who should help you with childcare in your home are people you live with, people in your support bubble or registered childcare providers, including nannies.

Is shielding being reintroduced for the vulnerable in the city?

No. These new restrictions only apply to the mixing of households in private households and gardens.

What do I do if I see people breaking the rules?

If you encounter individuals breaching the restrictions, you can fill out a reporting breach of restrictions form with West Midlands Police.

If you are concerned that a business or venue is not following the Government's regulations, you can anonymously report them to your local council.

How long can we expect these restrictions to go on for?

These restrictions will go on for as long as is needed to bring down the coronavirus rates of infection. They will be reviewed regularly by Government.