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Trick-or-treating ‘banned’ in Greater Manchester with parents facing £200 fines

Some sad news…

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Halloween traditions will be very different this year, and trick or treating is set to be banned in local lockdown areas, including Greater Manchester.

Boris Johnson’s deputy spokesperson has said the ‘rules are clear’ in terms of households mixing in different areas, and in places where local rules are not in place, children will be included in the ‘rule of six’ for maximum group size. 

However, there is some confusion as to whether this includes the people answering the door.

Meeting in groups of more than six indoors or outdoors is currently against the law and can land you with a hefty £200 fine if caught breaking the rules. This will double each additional breach up to a maximum of £6,400.

David Menidrey/Unsplash

Asked about Halloween, the Prime Minister’s deputy spokesperson said: “The Rule of Six is clear, it includes children. We are asking people not to meet in groups of six or more.

“In local lockdown areas, we have been very clear that households should not mix. In other areas not in lockdown the Rule of Six applies.

“It is correct, parents will be fined if children meet in groups of more than six children.”

The Department for Health and Social Care has now confirmed that trick or treating in areas where household mixing is not allowed, like Greater Manchester, will be banned.

In parts of England not in local lockdown, one parent could potentially take up to four kids out, as long as no more than one person answers the door to bring the total number of people over six.

The BBC spoke to Dr Chris Smith, a virologist at the University of Cambridge, who said: “If you’re doing something that increases your contact with other people then you are automatically increasing their risk and your risk.” 

He added: “Because it’s Halloween I’d say people are quite likely to be wearing a mask anyway so if they can make a face-covering work it’s way into their costume then even better.”

To reduce the risk of spread on the sweets he recommends individually wrapped sweets and to leave them outside, or even leaving individual bags of sweets tied to fences or trees. 

US Army Garrison Japan/Flickr

The BBC recommends five alternatives to trick or treating:

  1. Organise a Halloween treasure hunt within your own household
  2. Host a virtual party with themed games and music
  3. Watch a scary movie with the family
  4. Decorate your own house and organise a spooky trail, avoiding face-to-face contact
  5. Try reverse trick or treating by dropping off pre-packed sweets on neighbours’ doorsteps

A group of families in Marble have created an online map of houses that will be decorated, making a Halloween trail for families.

Organiser Aurelie said: “I think this year people are even more keen to get involved because of the circumstances, I feel like this winter could be very grim if we don’t do something to break it up.

“Something like this really lifts the spirits.”

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Greater Manchester Nightingale Hospital open again due to high levels of coronavirus

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Peter McDermott/Geograph

The Nightingale Hospital for the North West will open later this week and house non-Covid patients.

The temporary facility to treat patients with Covid-19 opened originally in April but has been closed in summer. 

However, later this week it is set to reopen for non-Covid patients.

It is set to reopen as figures show the number of coronavirus patients being treated in the North West is now approaching the level it was in the first surge of the virus.

A spokesperson said: “The NHS Nightingale Hospital North West will accept patients from today to provide care for those who do not have Covid-19, but do need further support before they are able to go home, such as therapy and social care assessments.”

As of October 26th, North West hospitals had 2,407 patients with coronavirus, the highest number of cases since April 23rd.

Dr Jane Eddleston, medical director of the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Nightingale will not be used as a critical care facility and neither was it in the first phase. It will be used as a facility for patients to have additional rehabilitation.”

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Sacha Lord says 10pm curfew will be reviewed next month

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David Dixon/Geograph & SachaLord/Twitter

Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser, Sacha Lord, has said the government will review the 10pm curfew in November. 

All hospitality venues must shut their doors at 10pm under current laws, however, Sacha Lord and other industry members have been campaigning the curfew.

Since September 24th, when the curfew was put in place, the #CancelTheCurfew movement has been backed by a number of industry professionals.

The Parklife founder, Lord, filed a pre-action letter last night which claimed there was no scientific justification of the Tier 3 regulations and the limits on pubs and bars operating hours. 

Lord has tweeted that the government ‘are reviewing the UK 10pm curfew’ in November.

He wrote: “In November, the Government are reviewing the UK 10pm curfew.

“It doesn’t work for the public or operators.

“Overloaded transport, crowded takeaways, supermarkets etc.

“It’s doing far more harm than good. Operators are running safe and secure COVID19 venues.

“Cancel the Curfew”

Lord confirmed they had a formal response from the government regarding the judicial review where he said ‘we consider it insufficient’.

He added “I cannot go into detail, but I can say that we have considered it and it is insufficient. I have instructed my lawyers to commence legal proceedings.”

Lord is now backing the OneGM campaign, which sees different sectors of the industry coming together to show support for businesses and people in Greater Manchester. 

It is unclear yet when Greater Manchester will be removed from Tier 3 restrictions.

 

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Dr Hilary backs calls for tier 3 restrictions across all of England by Christmas

It’s not looking good.

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S&B Vonlanthen/Unsplash & GMB/Twitter

Dr Hilary has responded on GMB this morning to reports that the whole of England should be in tier 3 by Christmas. 

It comes following some reports that all of England could be placed under the strictest coronavirus restrictions by mid-December. 

The UK deaths hit their highest level in five months on Tuesday, when 367 new fatalities linked to coronavirus and nearly 23,000 more cases were recorded.

The Sun explained that SAGE member, Professor Sir Mark Walport said it is ‘not unrealistic’ to think that 25,000 people could be in hospital with Covid-19 by the end of November.

With total Covid related deaths reaching 61,000 across the nation, there are predictions that figures will be higher than the Spring peak come December.

Members of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Body (Sage) are reportedly warning that virus rates all over the country will soar past the levels seen in areas in the North already.

A government source also told The Sun ‘the latest Sage numbers are utterly bleak.’

According to the Daily Telegraph, ‘Downing Street is working on the assumption that the second wave of COVID-19 will be more deadly than the first.’

From next week parts of Nottinghamshire and Warrington will be placed into Tier Three.

This means that more than eight million people in England, predominantly in the North, will be under the most stringent Covid-19 restrictions by the end of the week.

The Environment Secretary, George Eustice, told Sky News: “The prime minister has been very clear, as we all are, that we want people to celebrate Christmas in a way that is as close to normal as possible.

“But it is too early to be able to say exactly what the situation will become Christmas, and exactly what different parts of the country will or will not be able to do.

“Obviously checking the spread of this virus is paramount, but alongside that we want people to live their lives as close to normal as possible, including at Christmas which is an incredibly important time for families.”

Dr Hilary Jones spoke on Good Morning Britain this morning explaining that a vaccine ‘won’t stop a rise in infections’.

Jones said: “Just look at the figures, the hospital admissions are increasing, doubling every two weeks. In a month from now, we’ll be worse than we were in the first wave.”

He said: “We can’t rely on a vaccine, we hope it will save people from dying but it won’t stop infections, not the early vaccine anyway.”

Adding that: “I think we still need to rely on the basic principles which is hands, face, space and if we all do that and we’re realistic and don’t say Christmas is an exception.

“If we make Christmas an exception, then every celebration will be an exception. A birthday, a Friday night, a promotion…” 

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