An outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been identified in the North East of England. The government and the relevant local authorities are working together to control the spread of the virus.
Restrictions and guidance apply to the specified areas below.
Affected local areas
- Durham (County Council area)
- Gateshead (Metropolitan Borough Council area)
- Newcastle (City Council area)
- Northumberland (County Council area)
- North Tyneside (Metropolitan District Council area)
- South Tyneside (Metropolitan District Council area)
- Sunderland (City Council area)
From 3 October, the additional local restrictions outlined in this guidance will apply to the following areas (until that time, the national restrictions still apply):
- Hartlepool (Borough Council area)
- Middlesbrough (Borough Council area)
Business and venue closures
The following businesses and venues must remain closed nationally, including in the affected local areas:
- nightclubs, dance halls, and discotheques
- sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars
Early business and venue closures
Across England, the following businesses and venues must close from 10pm to 5am each day except to deliver food or drinks or provide drive-through services. Take-away is not permitted during this time period.
- cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes, including those located inside other premises (workplace canteens are not included if there is no practical alternative for staff at that workplace)
- bowling alleys
- amusement arcades or other indoor leisure centres or facilities (this does not include gyms and fitness studios)
- funfairs (indoors or outdoors), theme parks and adventure parks and activities
- bingo halls
- concert halls
Cinemas, theatres or concert halls can stay open beyond 10pm to conclude a performance that has begun before 10pm, but they must close once the performance has concluded.
Hospitality venues must take reasonable steps to ensure:
- customers only consume food and drink while seated in the premises
- that if the business serves alcohol for consumption on the premises, orders are only taken from customers who are seated
- bookings are not accepted, or customers admitted onto the premises if:
- groups include more than one household and support bubble if they will be located indoors
- groups include more than one household and support bubble, or more than 6 people if the group includes multiple households, if they will be located outdoors
- customers do not join other groups inside the premises (including outdoor areas such as beer gardens)
- tables are appropriately spaced to enable social distancing
Take-away orders can continue to be made at a counter or bar (as can orders inside venues that do not sell alcohol).
Hospitality venues subject to these restrictions include:
- restaurants, including restaurants and dining rooms in hotels or members clubs.
- bars, including bars in hotels or members clubs
- public houses
- social clubs
- cafes and workplace canteens (other than specific exemptions, such as canteens in a hospital, care home, school, military establishments, or homeless shelters)
There are also some limited exceptions to the one household restrictions indoors or the 6 person limits outdoors set out in law. In particular, for hospitality settings, there is a limit of 15 persons in relation to people attending a wedding or civil partnership reception.
Across England, unless you have an exemption, you must wear a face covering in a range of indoor premises. This now includes hospitality venues (bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes), except when eating or drinking.
Businesses can be fined by local authorities or the police if they fail to fulfil the obligations placed on them in law. This includes ensuring that people do not meet in their premises with people outside of their household or support bubble, ensuring that tables are appropriately spaced, that loud music isnt played, and that customers do not sing in non-household groups, or dance. Fines will be issued:
- 1,000 for the first offence
- 2,000 for the second offence
- 4,000 for the third offence
- and then 10,000 for the fourth and all subsequent offences
If you live in the affected local areas, you must not (unless theyre in your support or childcare bubble):
- host people you do not live with in your home or garden
- meet people you do not live with in their home or garden, whether inside or outside the affected local areas
- meet with people who you do not live with in indoor settings, whether inside or outside of the affected local areas
Your household is defined as the people you live with and any support bubble.
A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household (on an exclusive basis). Households within a bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together.
A childcare bubble is where someone in one household can provide informal (i.e. unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household. This must occur on an exclusive basis – always the same two households.
The police will be able to take action against those who break these rules, including asking people to disperse and issuing fixed penalty notices starting at 200 for those who participate in illegal gatherings.
People aged 18 or over can be fined:
- 200 for the first offence, lowered to 100 if paid within 14 days
- 400 for the second offence, then doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of 6,400
The government has also introduced fines for those who hold illegal gatherings of over 30 people. Holding or being involved in the holding of an illegal gathering of more than 30 people is an offence, and police may issue fines of 10,000 to those who break the law.
Gatherings within indoor settings, as well as your home or garden can still take place for specific purposes set out in law:
- where everyone in the gathering lives together or is in the same support bubble
- to attend a birth at the mothers request
- to visit a person who is dying
- to fulfil a legal obligation
- for work purposes (see guidance on working safely in other peoples homes), or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services
- for the purposes of education or training
- for the purposes of childcare provided by a registered provider and informal childcare as part of a childcare bubble
- to provide emergency assistance
- to enable one or more persons in the gathering to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm
- to facilitate a house move
- to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
- to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children where the children do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents.
In line with the national restrictions, when meeting friends and family you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) you must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside. Further detail can be found in the guidance for meeting others safely (which only applies when meeting others outside), including associated exemptions. In the affected local areas, we also advise that you should not:
- meet with people you do not live with, unless theyre in your support bubble, in any outdoor public venues. This includes outdoor areas of venues (such as a beer garden) and areas directly outside of settings or venues, such as the pavement or road and parks. This applies to inside and outside of the affected local areas.
- visit friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances. Care homes should restrict visits to these circumstances.
You should follow all relevant transport guidance when making a journey into, within or out of the affected local areas.