Plymouth to become a Tier 3 Very High Alert Area

The Government has announced that Plymouth, alongside Cornwall, Devon and Torbay, will be a Tier 3 Very High Alert area from midnight on 30 December as part of a national effort to stem the increase in COVID-19 cases.

This introduces further restrictions to the current Tier 2 measures that the city has been under since 2 December.

The change in tier will mean that:

  • Pubs and restaurants have to close, though they can provide takeaway and delivery services

  • Mixing with other households indoors, or most outdoor places, apart from support bubbles, is not allowed. You can meet in groups of up to six in parks and, public gardens

  • Museums, including The Box, and indoor entertainment venues will close

  • Accommodation, including hotels and B&Bs, must close

  • Shops can remain open, as can libraries, places of worship and gyms (though exercise classes cannot take place)

  • Plymouth’s Household Recycling Centres at Chelson Meadow and Weston Mill will remain open.

The Government says travelling outside tier three areas should be avoided, other than where necessary such as for work or education.

The announcement comes after the rate of COVID-19 cases in Plymouth more than doubled this month, even taking into account the recent Royal Navy cases. On 30 December there are 187 cases per 100,000 people which compares to less than 50 cases per 100,000 people on 8 December.

Ruth Harrell, Director of Public Health for Plymouth, said: “This announcement is not unexpected given the recent rapid increase in cases and the threat posed by the new variant of the virus, which spreads even more easily.

“Plymouth is still in a better position than many other parts of the country – and this is reflected in the higher restrictions elsewhere – but the speed of the increase in cases has been a real concern. We must make sure we benefit from the additional new restrictions by working together to reduce the number of cases. This will only happen if everyone gets behind it and treats this virus as seriously as they should.

“We know that one in three people who have the virus don’t have symptoms, so it is safest to behave as if you might have it and be rigorous in following hands, face, space measures at all times.”

Councillor Tudor Evans, leader of the Council and Chair of Plymouth’s Local Outbreak Engagement Board, said: “While we absolutely have to take action to stop the virus spreading and get the number of cases down, the announcement of further restrictions will be a bitter disappointment for many businesses.

“It is really important that we all get behind the measures and work together to get the number of cases down, so the restrictions are in place for as short a time as possible.

“We need to remember that this won’t be forever. There is an end in sight with the roll out of the vaccine but in the meantime we all need to do everything in our powers to keep saving lives and protecting the NHS.”

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