Local lockdown measures come into force in Flintshire – it means you cannot travel out of the county without a valid reason
New measures aimed at protecting people’s health and controlling the spread of coronavirus came into force at 6pm in Flintshire.
The move follows a sharp increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Flintshire County Council area.
The new restrictions also apply to everyone living in Denbighshire, Conwy and Wrexham.
It means residents will not be able to travel out of the county in which they live without a valid reason amid concerns over growing infection rates.
Wales’ health minister Vaughan Gething said the spread of the virus in north Wales is “largely linked to people socialising indoors” and the pattern of transmission “similar to what we have seen in South Wales.”
By taking early action, senior public figures said they were hoping to slow the upward trend in cases over the last few weeks in order to protect people from the virus.
They added businesses currently allowed to open could continue to do so, with work ongoing to prevent the need for more radical lockdown measures.
Flintshire County Council’s Leader, Councillor Ian Roberts, said: “For those who have downloaded the NHS Covid app, you will know that Flintshire’s risk level is now high.”
“We really do understand that this means that everyone has to make sacrifices, but we must appeal to everyone to be responsible and follow the local restrictions.”
“We know many businesses will be worried about further restrictions, but by taking these measures now, we hope we can protect them from the need for tighter restrictions in the future.
We will continue to work in partnership and lobby Welsh Government for additional support for businesses affected as a result of these stricter regulations.”
People will not be allowed to enter or leave the county in which they live without a reasonable excuse such as travel for work or education;
People will only be able to meet people they don’t live with outdoors for the time being. They will not be able to form, or be in, extended households.
Unlike the original lockdown restrictions introduced in March, shops, restaurants, pubs and cinemas will all remain open.
However, residents are unable to visit businesses with anyone outside of their household.
Policing the new measures:
North Wales Police have said officers will “continue to support the Welsh Government and local partners to implement the restrictions, adopting the same 4Es approach used since the beginning of the pandemic.”
“Officers will be visible in our communities, working with the public to engage, explain and encourage compliance. Enforcement action will be taken where necessary and will be proportionate.”
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Nigel Harrison said: “We completely understand that the news of these latest restrictions is hugely disheartening for many of us; but it’s really important that we all play our part by adhering to the new measures to help control and prevent further spread of the virus and keep all of our loved ones safe.
“Coronavirus doesn’t discriminate. Anyone – young or old – can get ill and spread the disease as such it’s incredibly important that we continue to take this seriously.
“The message from North Wales Police today is clear. People need to take these new restrictions seriously; because if they don’t there is every possibility that we will see further restrictions. We want everyone to work together so that we can get through this, follow the guidance and protect the public – this will prevent us from having to take action.
“We are working hard to keep you safe from coronavirus and from crime. We’ve also seen a return to normal in crime levels since the easing of lockdown measures were announced, and now the demand has reached even greater levels due to blatant breaches of COVID legislation. We need people to recognise that wilfully flouting the guidance places unnecessary strain on already stretched resources, and ultimately endangers those people who may need the Emergency Services in their hour of need.
“However, we will not stand-by and allow blatant breaches of the legislation to happen across our communities. We will of course engage with the public and explain the new legislation, and encourage people to take personal responsibility for their own safety and that of others. If, however, people continue to flout the regulations, demonstrate a blatant disregard for the health warnings and put significant strain on already stretched resources, we will take action.
“Lastly, we want to say a huge thank those who are doing their bit and continuing to take this virus seriously as we all navigate our way through this pandemic. You really are playing your part in helping to save lives.”
Dr Robin Howe, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said: “Public Health Wales supports the introduction of new coronavirus restrictions in four local authority areas in North Wales Denbighshire, Flintshire, Conwy and Wrexham following a rise in cases.
“The new measures will come into force at 6pm on Thursday 1 October, to protect people’s health and control the spread of the virus in the four areas.
“These arrangements are necessary in order to bring transmission of the virus under control in these areas. It is very important that we abide by the regulations in the areas in which we live and that we do not travel between local authority areas without a reasonable excuse.
“We thank the public in advance for sticking to these new restrictions, which are essential in reducing spread of the virus, protecting older and vulnerable people, and keeping Wales safe.
“Following the introduction of restrictions in the borough of Caerphilly, our data is beginning to show a downward trend, and although we cannot categorically say this trend is a result of lockdown, we are cautiously optimistic and we are looking at a number of alternative sources to validate these results.
The ‘local lockdown’ will be reviewed in 14 days, and then on a ‘regular basis, at least every seven days’ thereafter.
You can view the full Q&A guide here on the Welsh Government Q&A
Welsh Govt Q&A
The Welsh Government have published a FAQ on its website on what the new restrictions mean for people living in the local lockdown areas. Answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we’ve received since the announcement are below:-
Can I visit members of my family or close friends who live outside the Flintshire area?
Generally speaking, no. However if you need to, you can leave the area to provide care for, or to help someone who needs it, such as an older person, a child or a vulnerable adult. But you should consider whether there are alternative sources of support available and it is strongly recommended that you do not visit more than one person outside the area. You can also leave the area to visit someone on compassionate grounds if necessary.
In considering whether there is a need to travel outside the area, please keep in mind that the purpose of the new restrictions is to prevent the transmission of the virus, including to those we care about – both within the area and outside it. People will need to make judgements for themselves about what is reasonable, in line with that overarching principle.
Can I continue with my extended household (or “bubble”) with other households?
No – not even if that household is also within the Flintshire County Borough Council area. Gatherings with members of any other household can take place outdoors only.
I share parental responsibility for my child, can they visit the other person with parental responsibility, wherever they live?
Yes. You can continue existing arrangements for access and contact if you share parental responsibility for your child with another person, including leaving the local area if needed. Please ensure you follow the guidance on frequent handwashing and do not place others at risk if you or a member of your household is self-isolating.
If however you have coronavirus symptoms, live in the same house as or are an identified contact of someone with symptoms, you should stay at home and children shouldn’t visit.
I am a grandparent and provide informal childcare for my grandchildren. Can I carry on doing this?
Yes, but this form of childcare should only be used when no other methods are available. Adults should not go inside any households other than their own. Where children are being cared for in households other than their own it will be important to ensure they are regularly washing their hands and that wider guidance on managing the virus is followed. Children should not be cared for outside their home if they are ill, or by anyone who is ill.
Can I still see people outdoors?
Yes, up to a maximum of 30 people can meet outdoors but for the time being they will need to be people who also live in the Flintshire County Borough Council area. You should continue to socially distance from people outside your household.
Can I meet people in my garden?
Yes. Visitors can also go through the house to reach the garden if needed. Only people who live within the Flintshire County Borough Council area should visit your garden for the time being. Also, please think carefully about whether visits should take place. If anyone has symptoms of coronavirus, visits should not take place.
Can I carry out building or repair work in someone’s home?
Yes. Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople, can continue. Our advice, however, is that both the tradesperson and household members should be well and have no symptoms of coronavirus.
Please see the self-isolation guidance for more information. Like other businesses, tradespeople must take all reasonable measures to ensure that 2m distancing is maintained at all times when working in other people’s households and should follow the advice in our social distancing guidance.
You can view the full guide here on the Welsh Government Q&A Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com