'Don't be lulled into a false sense of security' says Sunderland chief as he speaks on latest Covid restrictions

Follow the rules and protect our city if you want to return to normal life – that’s the call from Sunderland’s council chief as he unites with others to urge people to stick to the new Covid rules.

Thursday, 17th September 2020, 7:11 pm

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council has spoken about why it is vital to follow the new steps announced by the Government for Wearside and six other council areas across the North East.

They will be monitored closely and reviewed on a weekly basis, with the next steps to depend on the impact the measures have.

The restrictions were announced by the Secretary of State Matt Hancock earlier today, Thursday, September 17, following the request from the council alongside those in County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside following a rise in cases.

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A graphic showing the new restrictions.

In Sunderland, where 442 new cases have been seen since the end of August and up until Monday, September 14, it involves the early closures at more than 400 licensed premises between 10pm and 5am run until further notice and to help reduce Covid-19 spreading and avoid a local lockdown.

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Businesses who fail to comply face the loss of their premises’ licence, with the restriction on opening hours also applying to hot food takeaways which only offer home deliveries between the same times.

A number of cases have been linked to the hospitality trade, as well as household transmissions.

Sunderland City Council leader Councillor Graeme Miller has reacted to the annoucement the North East is facing an increase in restrictions to deal with the rise in Covid-19 cases.

Councillor Miller, chairman of the Sunderland Outbreak Control Board, said: "The new measures are about protecting our city, our region, all residents and supporting a recovery from Covid-19.

"It’s not about being over-eager to control or to follow the trend of other regions unnecessarily.

"It’s a genuine, proactive effort, based on the statistics and evidence in relation to rising infection rates, including us here in Sunderland.

"We know from our own outbreaks in Sunderland that, despite the constant advice, messaging and support, people can forget the rules and guidelines later on, especially when they are having an evening out.

New restrictions are in force to combat the spread of coronavirus.

"I get the sense that the vast majority of people were very concerned and very careful during lockdown.

"However, since the restrictions were lifted some may have been lulled into a false sense of security and think the virus has gone away, or they’re at much less risk of catching it now, but unfortunately, that’s simply not the case, and that's what we are seeing."

From midnight the legal regulations are:

*Residents must not socialise with others outside their own households or support bubbles in private homes and gardens

*Hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only

*Pubs, bars and clubs to close between 10pm to 5am

*Residents should not socialise with others outside of their households in public venues

*Residents should only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work

*Wear face coverings at all times on public transport, unless exempt

*Holidays should be taken within your own household or support bubble

*Residents are advised against attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators.

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