I want to update on the latest local restrictions. The latest evidence indicates that the Covid-19 infection rate is beginning to rise across the country. It is therefore now vitally important that Government takes decisive action to limit any further spread and reduce the likelihood of a further national lockdown of the type that was necessary earlier this year. We will continue to review the restrictions to ease or strengthen measures when necessary and based on the scientific evidence.
Changes to Leicester restrictions
Further changes are also being made to the Leicester restrictions. As of Tuesday 15 August, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Leicester) Regulations 2020 were amended to enable the opening of casinos, indoor skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas, exhibition halls and conference centres. Socially distanced indoor performances were also able to resume, and remaining restrictions on certain close contact services (treatments on the face, such as eyebrow threading or make-up application) were lifted. These changes meant that Leicester is subject to the same business restrictions as the majority of England and guidance was updated accordingly
The ban on inter-household gatherings in private homes and gardens remain in place to control the spread of the virus.
The government will continue to review the remaining restrictions in Leicester at least every 14 days, with the next review due to take place before 24 September.
Additional restrictions in Birmingham
In the West Midlands, the increase in Covid-19 infection rates can be seen particularly in Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell, where incidence rates and positivity rates have increased significantly. Transmission appears to be associated with household transmission, travel hospitality venues and other social mixing.
Given the broad transmission routes, we have considered and agreed the request of local authorities to restrict household mixing to try and curb the spread of the virus in the Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell areas of the West Midlands. Restrictions on households mixing within private homes and gardens was enacted in secondary legislation and came into effect on Tuesday 15 September. Residents in these areas should not socialise with people that they do not live with, either inside or outside. This was taken in consultation with local leaders, who are working hard to keep the transmission rates down.
Publicly available Government guidance on Gov.uk is being updated to ensure it fully corresponds with the new Regulations. Sector bodies will also produce updated guidance where relevant.