Local coronavirus restrictions were tightened in the North from last Friday, but the new rules have now been turned into law.
Police can now take action against those who break the new rules, including asking people to disperse or issuing fines.
Fines start at £100 and halve to £50 if paid within the first 14 days. They’ll also double for repeat offences – so £200 if you’re caught a second time, £400 a third time, £800 a fourth, £1,600 a fifth and £3,200 for the sixth time you’re caught.
The restrictions are in place across Greater Manchester, as well as some areas of Lancashire such as Blackburn, and some areas of West Yorkshire such as Bradford.
Under the new restrictions you are advised to not:
- Socialise with people you do not live within indoor public venues such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues and any other visitor attractions
- Visit friends or family in care homes other than in exceptional circumstances
You can now be fined for:
- Meeting people you do not live with inside a private home or garden (excluding support bubbles)
- Visiting someone else’s home or garden even if they live outside the affected areas
- Meeting in groups of more than 30 people at once in an outdoor public space
Although the advice released on Friday regarding meeting friends and family remains the same, it does not appear in the legislation.
This means, according to the clarification released on Friday, you can meet outside a pub or restaurant in groups of no more than six, as long as that is no more than two households.
By law, your household is defined as only the people you live with.
If you have formed a support bubble (which must include a single adult household, i.e people who live alone or single parents with children under the age of 18), these can be treated as if they are members of your household and follow the new rules accordingly.
However, under the new guidance you can meet up in groups of no more than 30 people at a time in outdoor public spaces, including parks and public roads.
People in Greater Manchester, it appears, can still go on holiday, including staying in a hotel, bed and breakfast, caravan site or ‘members club’.
Greater Manchester Police has released a statement regarding the new rules. It states that they will be ‘building’ on the work put in place over the weekend which saw a Major Incident declared in Greater Manchester.
This means they are ‘monitoring the situation and will have additional resourcing in place in order to meet our overall aim of protecting our communities and keeping people safe’.
The police have said they will be continuing with their four E’s approach which sees communication and encouraging people to do the right thing first. However they do point out that if people continue to ignore the latest guidance, Fixed Penalty Notices can be issued.
It also states that every weekend police officers are being taken away from local neighbourhoods to prevent and police large gathers and ‘this is neither acceptable or sustainable.’ This comes after they had a 1,614% increase in calls related to either covid or house parties, street parties and gatherings.
The statement continues: “The message from Greater Manchester Police today is clear. People need to start taking these new restrictions more seriously; because if they don’t there is every possibility that we will see further restrictions. We want people to get behind us so that we can get through this, follow the guidance and protect the public – this will prevent us from having to take action.”
The announcement, which you can read here, finishes with a statement from Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling where he thanks those who are following the guidance and ‘doing their very best’.
He added: “We recognise that this hasn’t been easy, but we know that one day we’ll look back at this period of time with a huge sense of pride.”
The new legislation is set to be reviewed at least every fortnight, which means by August 19th.
You can read the full legislation here.
Meat Loaf has died aged 74
The singer’s agent confirmed the tragic news this morning
Iconic singer and actor Meat Loaf has died at the age of seventy-four, his agent confirmed this morning.
A cause of death is yet to be announced.
The American musician – real name Marvin Lee Aday – reportedly died on January 20th with his wife Deborah by his side.
His family said in a statement: “Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight surrounded by his wife Deborah, daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends.
“His amazing career spanned 6 decades that saw him sell over 100 Million albums worldwide and star in over 65 movies, including Fight Club, Focus, Rocky Horror Picture Show and Wayne’s World.
The statement, which was posted today on his official Facebook page, also said: “Bat Out of Hell remains one of the top 10 selling albums of all time.
“We know how much he meant to so many of you and we truly appreciate all of the love and support as we move through this time of grief in losing such an inspiring artist and beautiful man.
“We thank you for your understanding of our need for privacy at this time.
“From his heart to your souls…don’t ever stop rocking!”
Drivers and passengers face £1,000 fines for opening their door incorrectly under new Highway Code rule
Here’s everything you need to know…
Drivers and passengers across the UK have been warned about a new Highway Code rule change that could land them with a hefty fine.
The new rule, which has been put in place to protect cyclists, will fine drivers and passengers as much as £1,000 if they open their car door incorrectly.
Instead of just opening the door, motorists will now need to adopt the ‘Dutch Reach’ technique, which involves you using the hand furthest from the door to open it – if you’re the one behind the wheel, you’d use your left hand, on the passenger side, you would use your right, just to clear it up a bit.
This technique has been proven to be safer because opening the door with the hand furthest away prompts a driver to turn their body towards the door, therefore giving them a look over their shoulder as they go to exit their vehicle.
This way, they will clock any cyclists or pedestrians approaching or passing by their car that they may have otherwise missed if they hadn’t have checked.
The new section under rule 239 will read: “Where you are able to do so, you should open the door using your hand on the opposite side to the door you are opening; for example, use your left hand to open a door on your right-hand side.
“This will make you turn your head to look over your shoulder. You are then more likely to avoid causing injury to cyclists or motor cyclists passing you on the road, or to people on the pavement.”
If someone injures a cyclist or pedestrian by opening their door without checking, they could face a fine of up to £1,000, though no penalty points can be added to the offender’s licence.
This comes as the Highway Code undergoes a number of rule changes in favour of pedestrians and cyclists; a new section under rule 186 states that road users will now be forced to give priority to cyclists on roundabouts.
The rule, expected to come into force from January 29th, states: “You should give priority to cyclists on the roundabout. They will be travelling more slowly than motorised traffic.
“Give them plenty of room and do not attempt to overtake them within their lane. Allow them to move across your path as they travel around the roundabout.”
The rule change will also require motorists to give way to cyclists and pedestrians at junctions, pedestrians waiting to cross the road into which or from they are turning, as well as pedestrians and cyclists on a parallel crossing.
The new rule has been introduced in an attempt to ensure that road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others.
You can read the new rules in full here.
People who test positive for Covid in England won’t have to self-isolate soon
‘The self-isolation regulations expire on March 24th, at which point I very much expect not to renew them’
The legal requirement to self-isolate after testing positive for Covid will by dropped ‘by March’, Boris Johnson has announced this week.
The Prime Minister told MPs during yesterday’s PMQs that the rule will be allowed to be lapsed when all Covid regulations expire on March 24th, adding that this date could even be brought forward to a closer date if a vote is passed.
Johnson told MPs: “As we return to Plan A, the House will know that some measures still remain, including those on self-isolation.
“On Monday we reduced the isolation period to five full days with two negative tests, and there will soon come a time when we can remove the legal requirement to self-isolate altogether, just as we don’t place legal obligations on people to isolate if they have flu.
“As Covid becomes endemic, we will need to replace legal requirements with advice and guidance, urging people with the virus to be careful and considerate of others.
“The self-isolation regulations expire on March 24th, at which point I very much expect not to renew them.”
Under the current guidance, those who test positive for Covid have to quarantine for at least five full days, so long as they test negative on a lateral flow test on days five and six.
Also at yesterday’s PMQs, the Prime Minister announced that restrictions on visits to care homes will be eased further, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid to begin setting out plans ‘in the coming days’.
It was also confirmed that from Thursday January 27th, mandatory Covid passes will no longer be needed and people will not be asked to work from home where possible.
Johnson added that face masks will not be mandatory anywhere from this date, prompting loud cheers and shouts from the Tory back benches.
And from today, face masks are no longer required to be worn by students in classrooms.