Latest information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
You will be aware that the Government announced today that there will be extra restrictions introduced to deal with an increase in COVID-19 infections to parts of North East England including County Durham.
Please find set out below, the announcement from Durham County Council’s Chief Executive detailing the restrictions and links to further information.
As additional information affecting businesses emerges, we will share it via our usual communications channels.
Visit County Durham
Announcement from Durham County Council’s Chief Executive
New COVID-19 restrictions across the North East
Following rising cases of COVID-19 across the region, we have worked alongside Newcastle, Northumberland, South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Sunderland and Gateshead councils to request new stricter COVID-19 prevention measures from Government to stop the spread of coronavirus across the North East.
The Government has today (Thursday 17 September) announced that additional restrictions will come into effect from 00.01 Friday 18 September. The main points are outlined below; however we are still awaiting clarification from Government on the finer details.
Legislation - regulations will lawfully enforce the following:
- Residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households in private homes and gardens
- All hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only
- Late night restriction of operating hours will be introduced, with venues required to close between 10pm to 5am.
Guidance - Residents are also advised to adhere to the following guidance to further reduce rates of infection:
- Residents should not socialise with other people outside of their own households in all public venues.
- Residents are advised to only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work (rather than car sharing etc)
- Holidays should be taken within your own household or support bubble
- Residents are advised against attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators.
Further details are outlined in the FAQs (www.durham.gov.uk/localrestrictions) which we encourage you to read.
Locally, we are also seeing a significant rise in cases and a shift from isolated outbreaks to more general community transmission. Based on the current trend, we forecast that by the end of the month, we could be experiencing daily rates in the region of 60 per 100,000.
The distribution of cases now closely matches the distribution of population across the county.
- We are seeing an increase in cases in more isolated rural areas.
- In addition to areas where we have known outbreaks, we now have other parts of the county with equally high rates, but where we have yet to identify a common source or identifiable link between cases.
A similar picture is emerging in a number of local authority areas across the entire region, and the seven North East local authorities agreed to work to greater regional coordination and an enhanced approach to tackle the pandemic.
With cases significantly rising it is vital that everyone works together to help reduce the spread of the virus and any future lock down. We appreciate that some of the restrictions may be challenging but they are crucial.
Further information for businesses and other stakeholders will be shared as it emerges. Additional information can be found on www.durham.gov.uk/localrestrictions
If you have any further queries after reviewing the website please contact our County Durham Together hub on 03000 260 260 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We would urge you to monitor the Council website for non-business-related information and for any questions you may have.
Latest information and Announcements
We would advise all partners to regularly check the VisitBritain and Government business support web pages, which are being continually updated with the latest advice and information for UK tourism businesses.
As the situation evolves, we recommend all County Durham tourism businesses and stakeholders stay informed by reading the latest health information from the above resources. Please also provide feedback and comments direct to email@example.com
- New restrictions are being introduced across North East England from Friday 18th September to help address the significant rise in Coronavirus in the region over recent weeks. An FAQ document has been produced to provide more information. The new measures will be reviewed on a weekly basis.
- Guidance on NHS Test and Trace has been updated including: employers should not be asking members of staff to get tested before they come into the workplace; and people that do not have coronavirus symptoms and have not been advised to take a test by a doctor or public health professional, should not be booking a test.
- A new example of exceptional circumstance which may permit a person to leave their place of self-isolation has been added - if a person with a health condition or a disability that would be seriously exacerbated if they were not able to leave their accommodation to take exercise.
- From 26 August 2020 employers can claim Statutory Sick Pay for employees who have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery.
- The Government has announced that it will extend the moratorium on forfeitures until 31 December 2020. This means that landlords of commercial properties will not be able to evict tenants for not paying the rent that was due. The moratorium was previously extended from 30 June until 30 September as it was clear at the time that the protective measures were required for businesses struggling to pay rent. The Government is also extending the Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery provisions, to ensure that these measures extend until 31 December 2020, in line with the moratorium’s new expiry date
- Ruling on a test case presented by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the High Court has ruled that business interruption policies with pandemic or notifiable disease clauses should be read as to cover COVID-19, and that claims should be met “in most cases.” The test case has clarified that the COVID-19 pandemic and the government and public response are considered a single cause of the covered loss, which is a key requirement for claims to be paid. The ruling also notes that each policy needs to be considered against the detailed judgment to work out what it means for that policy.
- The latest UK COVID-19 Consumer Tracker Report for week 14, based on fieldwork from 31 August – 4 September is now available (please note this wave took place before the ‘rule of six’ announcement). The tracker will run fortnightly until February 2021.
- From today in England, you can only socialise in groups of up to six people.
- The new NHS COVID-19 App is due to launch on 24th September. Early notification of the launch has been given so that venues can prepare by downloading and displaying QR codes used by the app to support NHS Test and Trace. Using QR codes will help businesses meet the new legal requirement to record the contact details of customers, visitors and staff on their premises. Businesses currently using their own QR system are being encouraged to switch to the NHS Test and Trace QR code. For those people that do not have the NHS app, businesses must provide an alternative contact recording method.
- Sections of the working safely during coronavirus have been updated of Heritage Locations (priority actions to take to protect staff, visitors and customers) and Hotels and Other Guest Accommodation (updated guidance on social gatherings of more than 6 people).
- Effective 04.00 on Saturday 12 September, Sweden will be added to England’s travel corridor list, and the following territories will be removed (meaning people travelling from these places will need to self-isolate for two weeks): Portugal (excluding Azores and Madeira); Hungary; French Polynesia and Reunion Island.
- The Prime Minister announced new measures to help suppress coronavirus. Simplified guidance has been published alongside the announcement, but the main points of the new measures are:
- From Monday 14 September, it will no longer be legal to meet socially in groups of more than 6. This will apply indoors and outdoors, including in private homes and hospitality settings like the pub. There will be a limited number of exemptions
- Education and work settings are unaffected, and organised team sports will still be able to proceed, as will weddings and funerals up to 30. From Monday 14 September, this limit will be enforceable in law.
- COVID-19 Secure venues, such as places of worship, restaurants and hospitality venues, can still host larger numbers in total but groups of up to 6 must not mix or form larger groups. This rule will not apply to individual households or support bubbles of more than 6 who will still be able to gather together.
- Premises and venues where people meet socially will be legally required to request the contact details of a member of every party, record and retain these details for 21 days, and provide them to NHS Test & Trace without delay when required.
- The government will support local authorities to make further and faster use of their powers to close venues that are breaking the rules and pose a risk to public health.
- Fines will be levied against hospitality venues that fail to ensure their premises remain COVID Secure.
- The government will boost the enforcement capacity of local authorities by introducing COVID Secure Marshalls to help ensure social distancing in town and city centres, and by setting up a register of Environmental Health Officers that local authorities can draw upon for support.
- The government will restrict the opening hours of premises, initially in local lockdown areas, with the option of national action in the future.
- Plans to pilot larger audiences in venues later this month will be reviewed along with the intention to return audiences to stadiums and conference centres from 1 October. That doesn’t mean the programme will be scrapped entirely. The Culture Secretary is expected to provide an update in due course.
- Planned sports pilot events will be limited to smaller, safer numbers, with strict conditions to ensure social distancing, and will not take place in areas where incidence is high.
Catch up on previous annnouncements on COVID-19