Our new MIDNIGHT rules
Matt Hancock announced the new measures, affecting Liverpool, Wirral, Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton, Halton and Warrington (as well as Hartlepool and Middlesbrough) in the House of Commons on Thursday.
As expected, the Secretary of Health brought our region into compliance with the additional measures imposed on the Northeast earlier this week.
What are the new rules?
The new rules mean that from midnight tomorrow (12:01 am Saturday morning), residents of our area will not be allowed to mingle with other households in any indoor environment.
This mixture was previously banned for private homes and gardens, but has now been extended to all indoor environments, including pubs, bars, and restaurants.
So you can only now mix inside with your own household or the people in your support bubble.
You can’t go have a meal or a drink indoors with someone you don’t live with (or who isn’t in your bubble) in a pub, restaurant, or cafe.
Covid-secure schools and workplaces are not affected.
But Mr Hancock’s statement left many questions unanswered and it is only now that the new official government rules for our region have been released.
Here we try to answer any other questions you might have about what you can and can’t do right now.
What happens if I don’t follow the new rules?
Anyone found breaking the new rules could be dispersed by the police.
If you are over 18 you could be fined and charged with £ 200 if this is your first offense.
The second offenses would result in a fine of £ 400, which would then double for each subsequent offense to a maximum of £ 6,400.
Can I go for a drink or eat with another household if it is outside?
Legally yes, Matt Hancock has said the ban on home mixing does not extend to outdoor hospitality.
However, the Department of Health advises against doing this.
What about meeting people in other outdoor places like a park?
Again, this is not illegal, but the DHSC says it is “advised” that people “should not meet anyone outside their home or support the bubble in an outside environment.”
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Who can I meet inside?
Obviously, the people you live with are fine. You can also mix inside with people from your support bubble.
You may also meet with formal support groups, including those that help addicts, help victims of crime, help new parents, those who are grieving, sexuality and identity support groups, and people who are grieving. take care of others.
What about public transport?
Although there is no law prohibiting the use of public transport in our region, today’s guidelines make it clear that this should only be done for “essential travel”.
Mr Hancock said work and school were classified as essential travel.
Anyone who has to use it must wear a mask or face a fine.
Can I carry someone else?
The government says you shouldn’t share a vehicle with anyone outside of your household or support the bubble.
Can weddings and funerals still take place?
These events remain under national direction which stipulates that funerals of up to 30 people and marriages and civil partnerships of up to 15 people can take place.
Can I leave Merseyside (or any affected area) to go on vacation?
Yes, you can go on holiday in England or abroad as long as you respect the restrictions in force and only travel with people you live with or who are in your support bubble.
But you must adhere to any additional restrictions in the areas you travel to and follow the quarantine rules for the affected countries.
What about traveling to Merseyside or the affected areas?
Yes, as long as you follow the restrictions in place and only travel with people you live with or who are in your bubble of support.
Can immediate family or grandparents take care of my children while I am at work?
Childcare bubbles can form to allow families to share family responsibilities with another household – but these must be consistent and not change.
This includes formal and informal arrangements.
As mentioned, people in Support Bubbles can continue to meet anywhere.
Can the builder come?
Registered traders are allowed to visit the homes of residents of Merseyside and affected areas, provided they follow national guidelines on how to work safely.
This includes social distancing, hand washing, and other measures.
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How long will this last?
We have no idea at this point, additional restrictions have now been in place in parts of Greater Manchester for nine weeks.
While Mr Hancock said today that he hopes the measures will not be needed for long, there will have to be a significant drop in the number of infections in the region for that to happen.
What about further additional measures?
It is a very real possibility.
In fact, leaders across the region have said they don’t believe today’s measures will go far enough to stop the spread of the virus.
It is understood that ministers are now monitoring the situation closely and may decide to go further if things do not change.