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New Covid-19 restrictions: Stevenage residents required to stay at home

The Government has announced today (19 December) that Hertfordshire and a number of other parts of southern and eastern England will be placed into new ‘Tier 4’ restrictions tomorrow (20 December). This means that it will not be possible to join together with other household ‘bubbles’ over the Christmas period, and other additional restrictions will be in place. There has been a sharp increase in the number of people with Covid-19 in the region, and a new variation of the virus means it is spreading much faster.

I recognise these are deeply challenging and worrying times for local people and businesses this Christmas, along with our colleagues in the NHS and carers who helping to look after those who are vulnerable or unwell.

Under these new Government Tier 4 rules, all local residents have been given a ‘stay at home’ order by the Government, meaning we all must to stay at home. The exceptions to this are for those who are not able to work from home, or need to travel for education. There are further restrictions for businesses, with all non-essential shops required to close, along with places such as hairdressers, nail bars and indoor entertainment venues.

Under these measures, households will not be allowed to mix or get together over Christmas, but one person will be allowed to meet with one other person outside in a public space. Support bubbles and those meeting for childcare will be exempt, as are the exemptions for separated parents and their children.

Those of us in Tier 4 must not stay overnight away from home, and cannot travel abroad. These measures will be formally reviewed on 30 December.

At this time of year, the resurgence of this virus has a truly dreadful effect, changing many people’s Christmas plans at short notice after a deeply difficult year. For some, it means closing businesses and more worry for many workers and families caring for a loved one suffering from this awful disease. It also means real pressure on our colleagues in the NHS, and other agencies helping the town through this very challenging chapter.

Our team and partners in Stevenage are continuing to do their level best this Christmas, to support the community and local businesses through the worst of the pandemic. We will share any further information we have, particularly about what support is available, on our website as quickly as possible.

While people have started to be vaccinated against this virus, we must all do all we can to play our part in stopping the spread of the virus, by:

  • Staying at home
  • Following these new rules
  • To self-isolate, and get tested, if you have symptoms
  • Wearing face coverings
  • Avoiding crowded places
  • Cleaning your hands and clean hard surfaces
  • Keeping a two metre distance from people from other households

A detailed list of what the restrictions mean will be posted on this website. I recognise the outstanding efforts of Stevenage residents in following the Covid-19 rules, and doing all we can to stop this virus spreading.

This is not the Christmas that any of us would have wished for. But I ask us all to follow these new rules to help stop the spread of this terrible virus, while other vaccines and medical treatments come forward to help us look to a brighter 2021.