Local restrictions to control virus spread

Updated 23.10.20 09:29

Blackburn with Darwen, and the wider Lancashire area, is in tier 3 of the Government’s new Covid alert system.

The social restrictions are:

  • No socialising with anybody you do not live with or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in any private garden
  • Socialising in outdoor public spaces (eg parks, public gardens, sports venues) must be limited to no more than 6.

Government statement

Business and venue closures

The following venues must close:

  • Pubs and bars must close. They can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant – which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal; they may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.
  • soft play areas
  • adult gaming industry
  • casinos
  • bingo halls
  • bookmakers and betting shops
  • Car boot sales will not be permitted

The following businesses and venues must remain closed nationally – nightclubs; dance halls; discotheques; hostess bar; sexual entertainment venues.

The Government have announced additional financial support for businesses and workers. We are awaiting further details on this and will update the website when available.

Lancashire Leaders have negotiated a package of support with the Government who will establish a ministerial-led taskforce with additional funding to support businesses to recover over the coming six months. We will update our website when more details on the financial support is available from the Government.

Please check our Support for Business section for information.

Social restrictions

Indoors

You 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, such as pubs.

You must also not meet with people outside of your household or support bubble in a private garden or in most outdoor public venues.

Outdoors

You may continue to see friends and family you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) in groups of 6 or less in certain outdoor public spaces, such as:

  • parks, beaches, countryside, forests
  • public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them), allotments
  • outdoor sports courts and facilities, and playgrounds

When you do so, you must not meet in a group of more than 6, this includes children of any age.

When meeting friends and family you should follow social distancing rules and limit how many different people you see socially over a short period of time.

There are exceptions where people from different household can gather. These include:

  • For arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
  • For work and/or volunteering
  • Registered childcare, education or training
  • Supervised activities provided for children, including before and after school childcare, youth groups and activities and playgroups
  • For birth partners
  • To see someone who is dying
  • To provide emergency assistance, to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
  • Weddings, funeral (please see separate advice)
  • Outdoor exercise, organised sport and licensed outdoor physical activity
  • Indoor organised team sports for disabled people and youth sport
  • Formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or some other form of support – upto 15 participants and not in private dwellings
  • Protests: if organised in compliance with Covid-secure guidance

Childcare bubbles are to be used to provide childcare only. The social restriction rules apply on the occasions you are not providing childcare.

You can be fined £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.

Find out more about support bubbles.

Visiting other venues

You can continue to visit venues if they are open but no-one must mix indoors with anyone they do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with).

This includes:

  • Shops
  • Leisure and entertainment venues
  • Places of worship

In outdoor public spaces, such as parks and public gardens, you can meet in groups of upto 6 people, including children. You should maintain social distancing with those you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with).

Childcare

The Government have introduced ‘linked childcare households,’ also known as a childcare bubble. The Government regulations state that where a household has at least one child aged 13 or under it may link with one other household for informal childcare. This must be an exclusive arrangement and these two households must not be linked with another household for childcare. This means that grandparents/family members can form a childcare link with only one other household for childcare purposes.

Childcare bubbles are to be used to provide childcare only. The social restriction rules apply on the occasions you are not providing childcare.

Playdates and parties should not be taking place and friends or family who do not live with you and are not part of a support or childcare bubble must not visit your home to help with childcare.

You can 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. You can also continue to employ nannies, including those living outside of the region.

Care homes

You should not visit a care home except in exceptional circumstances, for example to visit an individual who is at the end of their life

We understand this will be very difficult, however this decision has been taken to protect vulnerable care home residents by limiting their interactions with people who may be carrying COVID -19 into care homes. Our priority remains to prevent the virus spreading in care homes.

Please speak to the care home to discuss alternative ways of communicating with residents whilst these regulations are in place.

Travel

From midnight on October 16, you are advised not to travel out of Lancashire as it is categorised as a very high alert area. This is part of wider measures to help manage the risk of transmission. You can continue to travel into or out of very high level alert areas if you need to for work, education, to access youth services or because of caring responsibilities.

The government ask you to avoid staying overnight in another park of the UK, except if you need to work, education or caring responsibilities. This includes second homes if you own one. You must not stay with anyone you do not live with elsewhere in the UK or visit their home.

Residents may travel to hotels and other guest accommodation within Lancashire, but you should only do this with people in your household or support bubble.

Remember, you must not travel if you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, are self-isolating, are sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms, or have been told to self-isolate after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

If you need to travel we encourage you to walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel.

Face coverings must be worn on public transport, in taxis and private hire vehicles unless you have an exemption. Find out more.

It is difficult to socially distance during car journeys and transmission of coronavirus can occur in this context. So you should avoid travelling with someone from outside your household or your support bubble unless you can practise social distancing. If you need to, try to:

  • share the car with the same people each time
  • keep to small groups of people at any one time
  • open windows for ventilation
  • travel side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow
  • face away from each other
  • consider seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle
  • clean your car between journeys using standard cleaning products – make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch
  • ask the driver and passengers to wear a face covering

Further information on safer travel guidance for passengers.

Sport and physical activity

Blackburn with Darwen is categorised as High Alert level however there are no additional restrictions on sport and physical activity. Gyms, leisure centres, dance halls can remain open.

Organised indoor exercise classes are only permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing in with people you do not live with or share a support bubble with). There are exceptions to enable disability and youth sport and physical activity indoors, in any number.

Organised indoor team sport should only take place in groups of up to 6 people.

Organised outdoor team sports are exempt from the rule of 6, and can happen in any numbers as long as undertaken in line with Covid-secure guidance.

Social interaction before and after playing sports should be limited and only take place in separate and distinct groups consistent of upto 6 people (or larger groups from the same household/support bubble).

People are advised not to travel into or out of areas that have a very high alert level, including for sport, unless this is necessary to enable individual exercise or to exercise for people from the same household or support bubble. This doesn't apply to travel where it is necessary to enable disability sport, sport for educational purposes, elite sport or supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s to take place.

Spectators at indoor events are not allowed. Adults who are acting in a safeguarding/supervising capacity are exempt.

More information on sports.

FAQS from Sport England

Weddings, funerals and other ceremonies

You can attend places of worship for a service in a Very High alert level area. However, you must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble.

Weddings

Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies must only take place in COVID-secure venues or in public outdoor spaces unless in exceptional circumstances. Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are restricted to 15 people. From midnight on October 16, receptions must not take place in a very high alert level area.

Funerals

Funerals must only take place in COVID-secure venues or in public outdoor spaces with up to 30 people in attendance.

Wakes or linked ceremonial events before or after the funeral are limited to 15 people and must not take place in private homes.

Where food or drink is consumed, this should be in the form of a sit down meal.

Other ceremonies and celebrations

Other belief-based/religious life cycle ceremonies and celebrations such as Christenings and Baptisms are limited to 6 people.

The maximum attendee limit for all the above events does not include anyone working at the ceremony or event.

Going to work, school, college and university

Work

To help contain the virus, office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter. Where an employer, in consultation with their employee, judges an employee can carry out their normal duties from home they should do so. Please speak to your employer first.

Public sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work where necessary.

Anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work.

Workplaces should be covid-secure. If you are concerned about a breach of restrictions in retail businesses, office or warehouse please email publicprotection@blackburn.gov.uk. Please report manufacturing businesses if they are failing to comply with social distancing using the Health and Safety Executive's online form.

School, college and university

The government has prioritised ensuring all children can attend school safely, to support their wellbeing and education and help working parents and guardians. Universities have welcomed students back and have their own arrangements in place.

You can move home and travel to go to university but you must not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time. Commuter students should be able to travel to and from university as normal. Please see the information regarding safe travel.

Mental wellbeing

Supporting people’s mental health and wellbeing is a key priority for the council. It is important than ever that you get help when you need it most.

Please read our Shuttle article for the latest mental health resources.

Shielding (protecting people more at risk from Covid-19)

The government has not reintroduced shielding for areas in the top tier of its Covid alert levels. However, it is important that people classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable follow public health advice to keep themselves as safe as possible.

The advice is:

  • Stay at home as much as you can, and only travel when essential.
  • Limit your social contact to the people you live with – you may also want to maintain social distancing within your household, if possible.
  • You may still meet up with your support bubble, but you are advised not to meet other friends and family who are not part of your support bubble.
  • You can continue to go outside for exercise, but are advised to avoid busy areas to minimise the chance of coming into close contact with other people.
  • If you can work from home, you should. If you cannot work from home and are concerned about going into work, speak to your employer.
  • Do your shopping online, or ask others in your household or support bubble to collect shopping and medication for you.
  • You can still attend any hospital or doctor’s appointments that you already have scheduled, following general advice around wearing a mask, keeping a 2m social distance and regularly washing your hands.

People who have been classed as Clinically Vulnerable previously are now advised to follow the same rules as the rest of the people in Blackburn with Darwen. This includes:

  • Hands – wash your hands regularly, especially when out and about
  • Face – where a face covering in all public enclosed spaces
  • Space – keep a 2m distance from anyone you don’t live with.

Anyone who needs support from the BwD Help Hub should:

Further guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from Covid-19.

Financial support

If you have tested positive for coronavirus or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, you may be entitled to a new Test and Trace Support Payment of £500. This is for residents on lower incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result. Self-isolation is a legal duty for all those who test positive for COVID-19 or are identified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact since 28 September 2020.

To be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment, an individual must:

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because they’ve tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive;
  • be employed or self-employed;
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result; and
  • be currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.

The Council is working quickly to set this up as details are finalised by the Government and further information will be available on the Council website shortly.