Gillingham, along with the rest of Dorset, is to be placed under Tier 2 Covid restrictions that will come into force from December 2 when the national lockdown ends.
This is despite the fact that this area was in Tier 1 before the lockdown and that figures show that the number of cases in Dorset has been falling.
Under Tier 2 people are not supposed to socialise with anyone they do not live with or who is not in their support bubble in any indoor setting – whether at home or in a public place.
And people are not supposed to socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside.
Meanwhile hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with ‘substantial meals’.
However, ‘non-essential’ shops can open, as can hairdressers and beauty salons plus also gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools and golf courses.
Responding to the news, Gillingham mayor Barry Von Clemens said: ‘I along with many others had hoped that Dorset would return in Tier 1 after lockdown 2. The main thing is we need to keep everyone safe and do all we can to fight Covid and if the science tells us this is the best way forward then we have to follow that advice.’
Councillor Von Clemens added: ‘It will be very hard for our local economy and I would urge everyone to do all they can to continue to support our local businesses. As always I ask everyone to continue to follow the guidelines look after each other and keep safe Gillingham.’
Sam Crowe, Director of Public Health for Dorset Council, said: ‘These measures are designed to help us bring infection and transmission rates down as quickly as possible. Over the last few months, we have seen rising cases where household mixing has led to more positive cases of COVID-19.
‘To help stop the spread we need everyone to do their bit and limiting social mixing is one of the most effective way to this.’
Councillor Nicola Greene, cabinet member for covid resilience and public health said: ‘We are disappointed to be placed in tier two, given the continuing fall in infection rates in our area, thanks to the positive behaviours of local people, who have been diligently following the rules and helping to control the virus. We must continue to do so, though, now and from 2 December, as this will give us hope of moving down a tier as soon as we can. This is vital to protect our older relatives, and increase the changes of a more flexible “normal” in the near future.’
Councillor Spencer Flower, Leader of Dorset Council, said: ‘I am disappointed that the Dorset Council area will be in Tier 2 following the end of national restrictions on Wednesday 2 December. The rate of COVID infection here is falling and is one of the lowest in the country. The people of Dorset have worked hard and made sacrifices to comply with COVID restrictions over many months. As a result, the number of COVID cases here has been relatively low. However, I am optimistic that by continuing to observe measures to reduce spread of the virus we can return to Tier 1 when the Government conducts its review on 16 December. Once again, thank you for everything everyone is doing to stop the spread of the virus.’
Dorset Chamber of Commerce chief executive Ian Girling said: ‘The tougher restrictions are not surprising yet remain disappointing.
‘Inevitably there will be an impact on the local economy, especially in the hard-pressed hospitality sector.
‘We must now focus and divert all of our efforts into doing everything we can to move from tier 2 to tier 1 as quickly as possible. I would urge everyone to stick to the rules so this can be achieved as soon as we can and to avoid moving into tier 3, which would be disastrous.
‘Disappointment at the higher ratings is tempered very slightly by relief that we will be emerging from the full lockdown next week and that a vaccination programme is on the horizon.
‘Clearly there are challenges ahead and I would encourage everyone to support their local businesses at this time, especially in retail and the sectors of hospitality which are able to open.’
The Tier 2 rules – for more information visit www.gov.uk/guidance/local-restriction-tiers-what-you-need-to-know
In tier 2:
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 socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’
businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs
pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals
hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:
provide table service only, in premises which sell alcohol
close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, transport services and motorway service areas are exempt)
stop taking orders after 10pm
hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm
public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
places of worship remain open but you must not socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while you are indoors there, unless a legal exemption applies
weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events such as wakes or stonesettings.
organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue
organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with). There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing
you can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
if you live in a tier 2 area, you must continue to follow tier 2 rules when you travel to a tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities.You can travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey