There was a review of the Government's three tier system and it has been announced that Bedfordshire will move to the highest tier.
From this Saturday, December 19, Bedford, along with the whole of Bedfordshire will be designated in the tier 3 (Very High alert) category by central government.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock made the announcement in the House of Commons today, as the number of cases continues to grow in the south east.
He said: "It is therefore necessary to apply tier three measures across a much wider area of the east and south east of England, including Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Peterborough, the whole of Hertfordshire, Surrey with the exception of Waverley, Hastings and Rother on the Kent border of Sussex, and Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant in Hampshire.
"These changes will take effect from one minute past midnight on Saturday morning."
The new rules will come into effect from 00:01 on Saturday, including no longer being able to mix with other households in private gardens and most outdoor spaces.
There are 3 tiers for local restrictions, Tier 1: Medium alert; Tier 2: High alert; Tier 3: Very High alert.
As Bedford enters tier 3, there are additional restrictions that everyone must follow. The key points include:
> You must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
> You must not meet socially (in a private garden or at most outdoor public venues), with anybody you do not live with or who is in your support bubble
> You can meet with people you do not live with (or do not have a support bubble with) in some outdoor public places, in a group of up to six people (including children).
These outdoor public places include:
- Parks and countryside
Work and education
> Everyone who can work from home should do so. Where people cannot do so, they should continue to travel to their workplace
> All pupils should continue to attend school and colleges, unless required to self-isolate.
Read the full guidance here.
Mayor Dave Hodgson said “The rise in cases we have seen locally since the end of lockdown is deeply worrying. We have to be clear, we have not been pulled into Tier Three by any surrounding authorities - Bedford Borough has seen a steep rise in cases and as a community we have to get a handle on it.
“These restrictions have been put in place to bring down our local infection rate, and keep people as safe as possible in the run up to Christmas.
“So please, stay at home as much as possible, minimise the amount of people that you see, and keep following the ‘hands, space, face’ advice.
"We need every single person to play their part, help protect the NHS, and save lives.”
Over the last seven days there have been 389 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Bedford. The case rate per 100,000 residents is 224.5.