14 October 2020

West Yorkshire people need to act now to protect each other

As new restrictions come into force across the region, West Yorkshire Prepared is asking everyone to take responsibility and work together to do all they can to bring the rate of infection down, protect each other and prevent more severe restrictions being put in place.

From today (Wednesday 14 October), the whole of West Yorkshire will be required to follow new restrictions under ‘Tier 2 – High alert level’, as laid out in the government’s announcement of the new tiered system. The region’s Local Resilience Forum is warning that although West Yorkshire has been rated as Tier 2 for now, if the rate of infection continues to rise, it may not stay that way for long.

Tim Kingsman, co-Chair of West Yorkshire Prepared and Assistant Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, said: “We know people are become extremely jaded with being told what they can and can’t do, with some people now choosing to ignore the legislation and guidance put in place by the government. But West Yorkshire’s COVID-19 rates have been consistently increasing in recent weeks so now more than ever, we really need everyone to work together to protect our communities and tackle the spread of infection.

“If we can all do everything we possibly can as individuals to take responsibility for protecting ourselves, families, neighbours and wider communities, we might have a positive impact in reducing the number of infections.”

For most areas of the region – Kirklees, Calderdale, Bradford and Leeds – there has been a small change in that people can now meet with others not in their household or support bubble in outdoor areas, up to a maximum of six people. Wakefield has now also been included in the same restrictions as the rest of the region.

Under the new restrictions, people in West Yorkshire must not:

  • Socialise with anybody outside their household/support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
  • Socialise in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space, such as a park (other than where specific exemptions apply in law).

It is also advised people should not visit friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances.

Due to the restrictions in place across the region, celebrations such as Halloween, Bonfire Night, Remembrance Day and possibly Diwali are going to look very different this year. Trick or Treating is being strongly discouraged, public bonfires and other public events have been cancelled or drastically limited and families and friends are unable to come together to enjoy larger celebrations.

Robin Tuddenham, co-Chair of West Yorkshire Prepared and Chief Executive of Calderdale Council, said: “In the run up to winter – and particularly thinking ahead to Christmas – we really need to double our efforts over the coming weeks to have as positive an impact as we can and to avoid further spread of the virus.”

One particular area that urgently needs addressing is adherence to self-isolation legislation as self-isolating is one of the most effective ways to reduce transmission. Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19, or has been told they need to isolate by Track and Trace, has a legal duty to quarantine. Fines can be issued with penalties starting at £1,000 and rising to £10,000 for repeat offenders. Support of a one-off payment of £500 is now available, through the Test and Trace Support Payment, for people on low incomes who are unable to work while self-isolating. If you think you may be eligible, please contact your Local Authority.

Robin added: “The virus is now widespread across the region and the increase in cases is no longer limited to a small number of community or workplace outbreaks. If you or someone in your household is required to self-isolate, please follow the guidance – stay at home, don’t have visitors inside your house, order shopping online or ask friends and family for help. This is essential to helping stop the spread of COVID-19, and protect each other.”

As a reminder, there are some very simple actions everyone can do to help prevent the spread:

  • At all times maintain social distancing from people you do not live with or who aren’t in your support bubble. You do not need to socially distance from someone you’re in an established relationship with.
  • Wear a face covering (unless exempt) over your nose and mouth in public places and where you can’t effectively social distance from others.
  • Continue to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water regularly throughout the day. Hand sanitiser can be used when soap and water is not available.
  • Limit your contact with other people, ideally to members of your own household or support bubble, avoid crowds and going to places that are not COVID-19 secure and meet people outdoors where practical as fresh air provides better ventilation.

To keep up to date with West Yorkshire Prepared, please visit westyorkshireprepared.test or follow us on Facebook (@WYPrepared) or Twitter (@WYRForum).

For reliable, up to date information on Covid-19, please visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus or www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.