Detailed guide: North West of England: local restrictions

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An outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been identified in parts of Lancashire, Merseyside, Warrington and Halton. The government and relevant local authorities are acting together to control the spread of the virus.

Restrictions apply to the specified areas below.

Affected local areas

  • Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council area, with additional guidance and support applying in the following wards:
    • Audley & Queens Park
    • Bastwell & Daisyfield
    • Billinge & Beardwood
    • Blackburn Central
    • Little Harwood & Whitebirk
    • Roe Lee
    • Shear Brow & Corporation Park
    • Wensley Fold
  • Burnley Borough Council area
  • Chorley Borough Council area
  • Fylde Borough Council area
  • Halton Borough Council area
  • Hyndburn Borough Council area
  • Knowsley Metropolitan District Council area
  • Lancaster City Council area
  • Liverpool City Council area
  • Pendle Borough Council area, with additional guidance and support applying in the following wards:
    • Whitefield
    • Walverden
    • Southfield
    • Bradley
    • Clover Hill
    • Brierfield
    • Marsden
  • Preston City Council area
  • Ribble Valley Borough Council area
  • Rossendale Borough Council area
  • Sefton Borough Council area
  • South Ribble Borough Council area
  • St Helens Borough Council area
  • Warrington Borough Council area
  • West Lancashire Borough Council area
  • Wirral Metropolitan District Council area
  • Wyre Borough Council area

There is separate guidance to cover Greater Manchester and Bolton.

Local restrictions

Business and venue closures

The following businesses and venues must remain closed nationally, including in the affected areas:

  • nightclubs, dance halls, and discotheques
  • sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars

For England, including the areas affected in this guidance, hospitality venues must take reasonable steps to ensure that customers only consume food and drink while seated and, if the business serves alcohol for consumption on the premises, it must also only take orders for food and drink from customers who are seated. Take-away orders can be made at a counter or bar.

Hospitality venues subject to these restrictions include:

  • Restaurants, including restaurants and dining rooms in hotels or members clubs.
  • Cafes, including workplace canteens, but not including:
    • cafes or canteens at a hospital, care home or school
    • canteens at a prison or an establishment intended for use for naval, military or air force purposes or for the purposes of the Department of the Secretary of State responsible for defence
  • services providing food or drink to the homeless
  • Bars, including bars in hotels or members clubs
  • Public houses
  • Social clubs
  • Casinos

In the specific areas of Blackburn with Darwen listed above, we continue to advise that operators of hospitality venues (including restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes) should halt walk-ins, and only seat people who make reservations in advance. In all areas affected, hospitality venues should also take steps to ensure that people do not socialise outside of their households inside and outside your premises.

Across England, the following businesses and venues must close from 22:00 to 05:00 each day except to deliver food, or provide drive-thrus, but take-away is not permitted:

  • All hospitality businesses and venues listed above (save that workplace canteens can remain open if there is no practical alternative for staff at that workplace to obtain food)
  • Bowling alleys
  • Amusement arcades or other indoor leisure centres or facilities (excluding indoor gyms and fitness studios)
  • Funfairs (indoors or outdoors), theme parks and adventure parks and activities
  • Bingo halls
  • Cinemas
  • Theatres
  • Concert halls

Cinemas, theatres or concert halls can stay open beyond 22:00 to conclude a performance that has begun before 22:00, but they must close once the performance has concluded.

Local authorities or the police can take action against businesses and venues who commit such offences.
Businesses and venues can be fined:

  • 1,000 for the first offence,
  • 2,000 for the second offence,
  • 3,000 for the third offence,
  • and then 10,000 for the fourth and all subsequent offences.

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.

Social contact restrictions

If you live in one of the affected areas, in order to help prevent the spread of coronavirus you must not:

  • host people you do not live with in your home or garden, unless theyre in your support or childcare bubble
  • meet people you do not live with in their home or garden, whether inside or outside the affected local areas, unless theyre in your support or childcare bubble

Your household is defined as the people you live with and any support or childcare bubble.

A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household. 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.

People can still come inside your home or garden 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 (the visitor can be someone the dying person lives with, a close family member, friend or, if none of those is visiting, anyone else)
  • 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

The police will be able to take action against those that 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.

As of 14 September, 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. Further detail can be found in the guidance for meeting others safely, including associated exemptions.

If you live in the affected local area, you must not meet or host people you do not live with in private homes or gardens unless they are in your support bubble. In addition to these restrictions, we advise that you should not:

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