Today’s Government announcement that Nottinghamshire, like most of the East Midlands, will move into England’s highest level of current Coronavirus restrictions from New Year’s Eve means that Ruddington will almost be back in ‘Lockdown’ for a third time.
It follows growing concerns about the new and apparently much more infectious variant of COVID-19 which is spreading alarmingly across Britain – leading to record numbers of confirmed new infections and hospitalizations.
Starting at 00:01 on Thursday December 31st, our shift up to Tier 4 effectively returns us to the ‘lockdown’ rules of November – with all ‘non-essential’ village shops, barbers, hairdressers, salons and gyms being forced to close again. Ruddington’s pubs, cafes and restaurants which are currently offering takeaways or deliveries in Tier 3 can continue to do so in Tier 4.
However, residents will now be encouraged to ‘stay home’ and are restricted to meeting just one other person from another household in an outdoor public space. People in Tier 4 should not stay away from home overnight, and those from lower Tiers are advised not to visit us. Villagers should ‘stay local’ and avoid overseas travel – and will only be able to go abroad for ‘essential’ business.
Leader of Rushcliffe Borough Council, Cllr Simon Robinson, says: “We know these further changes impact so many residents and businesses again but we must do all we can to protect the NHS and save lives. This is especially in light of the volume of hospital admissions here in the County continuing to rise rapidly day on day currently.”
He urges: “Please follow the rules so you can do all you can to relieve the pressure the service is facing. Thank you to residents who have already sacrificed so much this year but we must now stay at home and remember hands – face – space.”
Cllr Robinson adds: “We’ll outline any further support for businesses as soon as possible.”
Exemptions to the ‘stay at home’ message that applied in the November ‘lockdown’ also apply in Tier 4 – including support bubbles, childcare bubbles and children whose parents are separated. Pre-arranged visits to our care homes are also still permitted if measures such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or meetings behind windows are in place. Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed.
Another main difference from the first ‘lockdown’ is that our schools will remain open – however the new term for secondary schools will now be delayed by two weeks. Parents with pupils at James Peacock Infant and Nursery School, St Peter’s C of E Junior School or Rushcliffe School should expect to hear from the respective Head Teachers directly to clarify when in January their children should return. St Peter’s Head Mr Bradley has already emailed to confirm that his school will be reopening to pupils as planned on Monday January 4th.
Residents will be allowed to travel for education, childcare and to go to work if they cannot work from home – and this time around we are permitted unlimited outdoor exercise. Nottingham City Transport says service levels on its Navy 3 and Green 10 Ruddington buses will not be affected by moving up to Tier 4, although there are some timetable changes over the New Year period which can be found >>HERE<<.
The full list of Government ‘Tier 4: Stay at Home’ restrictions can be found >>HERE<<.
Dawn Jenkin, Public Health Consultant at Nottinghamshire County Council, says: “The rates of infection in our communities across the county are continuing to grow at a concerning rate. The impact this is having on our hospitals and the rate of infection in those aged over 60 are some of the key factors which determine how the government decides what tier to place each area into. “We appreciate how hard the new restrictions will be for many but what is important now is that we all observe the new regulations in place, understand what they mean and explain the rules to those around us.”
Ironically, these new Tier 4 restrictions have been announced on the same day that the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was approved for use in UK – with 530,000 doses available from next week.
“Whilst it is really positive news that the vaccine is starting to roll out across the county it will a while before it has the desired impact on infection rates, so now is not the time to let our guard down” says Dawn. “Remember that around 1 in 3 people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising it. So, the very best thing you can do now to help us overcome the virus is to continue to follow the rules of Hands, Face, Space.”
She continues: “Make your New Year’s Resolution to protect yourself, your family and your friends by sticking to these simple rules. In addition, if you develop any symptoms, it remains critically important that you self-isolate and get a test as soon as possible. It is these actions by each of us that will stop the spread of the virus in our communities.”