'Scarborough heading towards Tier 3 restrictions unless we all follow the rules' ... and most fines handed out on the coast
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That is the warning from council chiefs as they urge residents to help avoid "a New Year spike in Covid-19 cases", like the one seen locally in November.
The call comes in the wake of a surge in infection rates in the area, which have risen from 132 per 100,000 to 214 per 100,000 since the national lockdown was lifted just a fortnight ago.
That will mean more disruption for the whole community and, especially, the local economy.
Today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a tightening of restrictions in England amid concerns over the rapid spread of a new variant of coronavirus.
From Sunday areas in the South East of England which are currently in Tier 3 will be moved into a new Tier 4 – effectively returning to the lockdown rules of November.
In addition, the rest of England will see the Christmas “bubble” policy – allowing up to three households to meet up over the holiday period – severely curtailed, applying on Christmas Day only.
Increases in cases also have an impact on local NHS and care services.
In North Yorkshire and elsewhere, transmission within households remains the biggest factor in the number of cases and, as Christmas approaches, people are being urged to think carefully before meeting family or friends.
"We know the great efforts and sacrifices so many people have made over the past nine months to keep themselves and others safe," said Richard Webb, North Yorkshire County Council’s Director of Health and Adult Services.
"Let’s make sure those efforts are not in vain.
"The vast majority of people are following the rules, and we thank you for that. It is a minority that is not doing so and is letting down everyone else and putting themselves and others at risk.
"Your actions now and over the holiday period will have a major impact on our way of life and could put extra strain on our local hospitals and GPs, at what is already the busiest time of the year for them.
"No-one wants to give or receive coronavirus for Christmas, so if you do decide to meet friends and family over Christmas, keep contact to a minimum, and start by reducing your social contacts now.
"A third wave of the pandemic and tougher restrictions are not inevitable. We can all take action now to keep the virus in check.
"Please follow the rules, avoid household mixing, limit your social contacts and remember to wash your hands and wear face coverings."
Nick Edwards, Scarborough Borough Council Director, added: ""We know more people are out and about getting ready for Christmas but that isn’t a reason to bend the rules.
"When communities pull together, as we saw last month, it has a really positive effect so we’re asking for the same effort again to avoid more severe restrictions in the New Year.
"Please do everything you can to follow the guidance to protect those around you and protect the NHS.
"Please think carefully about your plans and think small."
Meanwhile, police say the vast majority of fines being handed out for breaking coronavirus rules are landing on people in Scarborough.
North Yorkshire Police Chief Inspector Charlotte Bloxham said: "Unfortunately, we’ve seen an increase in the number of fixed penalty notices that we’ve had to issue in Scarborough due to people not adhering to the guidance around gathering.
"Of the 45 fines handed out since December 2, 36 of these have been in the Scarborough district. So, sadly, it’s not a surprise to see that the number of Covid-19 cases are increasing.
"What is sad to see is that the minority of people who are choosing to flout the rules and have parties and gather together, putting the lives and livelihoods of so many at risk.
"It’s clear to everyone – the more you mix and socialise, the higher the risk of contracting the virus and passing it on.
"As ever, we’ll be policing our coastal communities and we’ll be enforcing the Covid regulations where proportionate and necessary to do so. Please adhere to the restrictions, or you may find yourselves with the unwanted gift of a £200 fine for Christmas."
The councils said concerns about people travelling from Tier 3 areas to the coast are being addressed. But, they say the major challenge continues to be household mixing among people living in the borough.