Statement from Cllr Martin Stears-Handscomb, Leader of NHDC on Tier 4 announcement
From 00.01hrs this morning (20 December), North Hertfordshire, along with the rest of Hertfordshire, London and the South East has been placed under the new Tier 4 coronavirus restrictions.
This has come at a particularly difficult time in the run up to Christmas and we are truly saddened for our residents and those businesses which now have to close. We know many people were already choosing to make tough decisions about whether to meet up with an extended bubble over Christmas, but unfortunately this will not now be possible due to the Tier 4 rules, although support bubbles are still allowed.
While our cases in North Hertfordshire have not been as high as in the south of the county, they are rising rapidly (as much as 61% in one week), and it is now clear that the new variant of the virus is causing a dramatic rise in those catching the virus and becoming seriously ill across the whole of the South East. The situation is extremely serious and we have to take even tougher steps to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the NHS. Our thoughts and prayers are with those families in our District who have already lost loved ones and those who are suffering from “long Covid”.
Under the Tier 4 rules, all non-essential shops will close as well as gyms, leisure and sports centres and hairdressers and barbers and we can only meet one person from outside of our household in a public space. We must not travel beyond Tier 4 and please stay local. We should only leave our homes for specific reasons such as food shopping, medical appointments and exercise outdoors. The restrictions will be reviewed on 30 December.
We know how much of a blow this announcement will come to our residents and businesses. While it is fantastic that there are vaccines on the way, I cannot stress enough what a critical point this is for our community. We must pull together and play our part to stop the spread of the virus. The reality is if we don’t, more of our loved ones will become ill and sadly some will die.
You have all been fantastic in playing your part this year, please let’s pull together during this next tough period. By supporting each other we will get through this. Please stay safe and stay at home.
For full guidance on Tier 4 visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus