TOUGHER restrictions on social gatherings in Bradford, introduced last week, will continue until at least next Friday – the Government has announced.
The District was included in a list of areas where restrictions would be tightened due to high infection rates.
It meant that people from different households were banned from meeting in a private home or garden.
It also halted the re-opening of facilities like gyms and pools.
An update on the restrictions was expected at 11am today – but was not announced until late this afternoon.
The Government has said current rules on gatherings in Greater Manchester, Leicester, parts of West Yorkshire and East Lancashire remain in place.
Preston was also added to the list.
The Government said: “The measures were announced last week to urgently tackle an increase in COVID-19 cases in these areas.
“With the latest data not showing any evidence of a decrease in the number of cases per 100,000 people in the area, the Health Secretary, in close collaboration with local leaders, has agreed that the rules must remain in place.
“This will help protect local residents, and allow more time for the changes to have an effect, cutting transmission among households.
“At the request of the local authority, Preston will be now be added to the list of areas included in the ban on households gathering in each other’s homes and gardens, effective from midnight tonight. Guidance will make clear that people should not be gathering with other households anywhere indoors.
“The restrictions on gatherings will be reviewed again next week with any changes to be announced by Friday 14 August.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The past week has been difficult for many people in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and East Lancashire, and I thank everyone in these areas for their patience and willingness to follow the rules.
“Yesterday I chaired a meeting of the Local Action Gold Committee, and unfortunately, the data does not yet show a decrease in the transmission of this terrible virus. It means we must keep the current restrictions in place to allow more time for the impact of this ban on indoor gatherings to be felt, and make sure local residents and their loved ones are protected. At the request of the local area we are also extending these restrictions to Preston.
“We are constantly examining the data on the prevalence of the virus in these areas, and we will review the measures again next week.
“As we continue to see rising rates of the virus across Europe, it is vital we take every precaution to protect our country. I urge everyone in these areas to follow the rules, get yourself a free test as soon as you get any symptoms, and isolate if NHS Test and Trace tells you to.”
Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe said, “We support today’s decision by the Government to continue the restrictions that it imposed last week on parts of West Yorkshire, including Bradford, and the North West.
“I would have been amazed if they had lifted them so soon. “We have very high infection rates and would therefore ask everyone to abide by these regulations. Only by doing so can we get the infection rates down and avoid a local lockdown of more businesses.
“The Council has teams out every day including weekends talking to residents, handing out masks and making sure businesses are supporting their customers to stay safe.
“Neither the Government nor the Council wants to close businesses and we understand how difficult this can be, but our top priority has to be to bring down the infection rate to help protect local residents and businesses.
“The Council has asked the Government to provide financial support for businesses affected by these restrictions. We are awaiting a response.”