Today’s national tier review has confirmed that Brighton & Hove is to move to 'Tier 4 – Stay at Home' at 00.01 on Boxing Day.
The announcement also sees all areas within Sussex, Surrey, Kent and London will in Tier 4 – Stay at Home from Boxing Day.
The announcement comes as the latest data published on 22 December shows that in the seven days to 17 December there were 605 confirmed new Covid-19 cases in Brighton & Hove.
This is a 155% increase per 100,000 residents from the previous week and is equivalent to a weekly rate of new cases of 208 per 100,000 residents
New, more infectious variant of the virus
Speaking after the announcement, the city's Director of Public Health, Alistair Hill, said the continued increase was almost certainly due to the prevalence of the new, more infectious variant of the virus in the city. He said:
“It’s extremely worrying that our infection rate continues to climb. There should be little doubt that the new variant of Covid-19 is in Brighton & Hove and is the main factor for the increasing numbers of positive cases.
“Based on the latest data and patterns elsewhere in the south east, we expect numbers to continue to rise in the coming days.
“This new variant is more transmissible than the previous one. You are now much more likely to contract Covid-19 if you spend time with someone with the virus, than you previously were.
“Demand for all NHS services across Sussex has risen significantly with the annual pressures that come with winter and the addition challenge of higher infection rates of Covid-19 in the community in recent weeks.
“Staff across the NHS are working tirelessly to ensure they continue to provide safe consistent care and roll out the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
“Please help them by following all the guidance to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
“Stay home as much as possible and do not meet anyone outside your household unless the guidance allows this and you absolutely need to. If you do – remember: Hands. Face. Space.”
Moving into Tier 4 – Stay at Home means:
- The Clinically Extremely Vulnerable are advised to stay at home as much as possible, except to go outdoors for exercise or to attend health appointments.
- No household mixing, aside from support bubbles and two people meeting in public outdoor spaces.
- Hospitality closed, aside from sales by takeaway, drive-through or delivery.
- Essential shops can open. Non-essential retail must close and can only open for click-and-collect and delivery.
- Everyone must work from home unless they are unable to do so.
- Early years settings, schools, colleges and universities open during term time. Registered childcare, other supervised activities for childcare purposes, and childcare bubbles permitted.
- Gyms and indoor leisure facilities must close.
- Hotels and other accommodation must close (with limited exceptions)
- Personal care providers – hair, beauty, nail and massage – must close
- You must not stay overnight away from home. Limited exceptions apply.
- Funerals of up to 30 people permitted. Wakes and other linked ceremonial events can continue in a group of up to six. Weddings of up to six can continue in exceptional circumstances.
- Indoor entertainment venues are closed. Some outdoor attractions may remain open.
- Places of worship are open for private prayer and communal worship, but you cannot interact with anyone outside your household or support bubble.
- You must stay at home and only travel for work, education or other legally permitted reasons. If you must travel, you should stay local, and reduce the number of journeys you make. You must not leave a Tier 4 area or stay overnight away from home. Residents in Tiers 1 - 3 should not enter Tier 4 areas. Do not travel abroad if you live in a Tier 4 area unless an exemption applies.
- You can leave your home to exercise by yourself, with your household or support bubble, or with one person from another household. Outdoor sport allowed but gatherings limit applies except for youth and disabled sport.
- You can visit relatives in care homes with Covid-secure arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, and window visits.
- No sports or live performances can take place.
You can find guidance on all the tiers and Christmas advice on the government website.
Protecting the city
Council Leader Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty today said he understood that the move into Tier 4 – Stay at Home would worry and concern people but that he thought it was necessary to protect the city.
He also strongly repeated his calls for people do everything to protect their loved ones over the Christmas period and in the weeks ahead. He said:
“This is really hard and not the news anyone wants but Tier 4 is needed for the health of everyone in our city right now.
“We are seeing rising Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions. This alongside a wave of the new virus strain, which spreads much faster, is cause for real concern. And sadly, people are still dying from the pandemic.
“We have calculated that if we did nothing we would be about a week behind Kent and other areas in terms of the rates of the virus. We saw numbers come down during the second lockdown and that’s what’s needed again while the vaccination programme can be rolled out.
“I urge everyone to urgently rethink your Christmas plans if you’re still planning to meet up with additional bubbles on Christmas Day.
“The latest science is quite clear. Around one in three people with Covid-19 have absolutely no symptoms and will be spreading the virus without realising.
“It’s vital that we each take personal responsibility this Christmas to limit the spread of the virus and protect each other, particularly the vulnerable.
“The safest way to celebrate Christmas this year is with your household only or with your existing support bubble in your home.
“Once we go into Tier 4 on Boxing Day, the message is clear, you must not leave or be outside of your home except for specific purposes such as essential food and household shopping, essential work that cannot be done at home and medical appointments.
“Going into Tier 4 – Stay at Home will be hard for many of us. But staying at home means saving lives and preventing the spread of the pandemic while the vaccine rollout picks up pace. So it’s vital we look out for each other and play our part.
“There’s lots of support for people in the city who are feeling anxious, lonely or who are experiencing financial or relationship difficulties.
“Christmas can be hard at the best of times; this year is exceptional and lots of people will be feeling huge pressures. Please ask for help if you or someone you know needs it.
“Stick to the Tier 4 – Stay at Home guidelines and thank you to the many many people in our city who have already changed their Christmas plans.
“I know we have the resolve and resilience to get through this.”
Services and support
Our Covid webpages have information on the services and support available.
- Support in Brighton & Hove over Christmas 2020
- Christmas opening for Brighton & Hove City Council services
The Community Hub can be contacted for emergency help with food, energy bills and other essentials. Visit our webpages about requesting help or phone 01273 293 117.
And if you experience any Covid related symptoms – even if very mild – you must immediately self-isolate with your household and book a test.
There are three local testing sites in the city in Portslade, East Brighton and a new site at Preston Park. All tests must be booked online via www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by phoning 119.