What's happening in Middlesbrough?
Middlesbrough has moved up the government's coronavirus watchlist, because our number of cases is rising quickly. We are now classed as an 'area of enhanced support'.
Being an 'area of enhanced support' does not mean that there are any local restrictions or lockdowns at the moment. But it means people are not doing enough to stop coronavirus spreading in Middlesbrough.
If we cannot stop the spread, we're at risk of being put into a local lockdown by the government. We've seen in other areas that local lockdown means business cannot open, and there are restrictions on people meeting up.
The government's latest rules - venues having to close at 10pm, and people not being able to meet up in groups of more than 6 - are already having an impact on what we can do and who we can see. If we're put into local lockdown, these rules will be even tighter. In lots of places, people are banned from meeting up with anyone they do not live with.
We do not want any more restrictions on where we can go, and whether we can see family and friends. But these restrictions will happen if we do not get the virus under control.
You can read more about what being an 'area of enhanced support' means, and what could happen if we do not stop the number of cases increasing, further down the page. You can see the latest number of cases on the Local Outbreak Plan website.
Wash your hands
Wash your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds, when you're away from your home - including before and after using public transport, and before and after eating food.
Cover your face
Wearing a face covering (unless you're exempt). This includes in public places and on public transport. View the government's list of places you must wear a face covering.
Keep your distance
Stay 2m away from anyone you don't live with (your 'household') or who is not part of your 'bubble'. If 2m is not possible, try and keep as far away as you can. Do not meet in more than groups of 6, either indoors or outdoors.
Don't forget, the 2m rule applies to anyone who is not part of your household or 'bubble'. This means friends or family members who you're out with, people you don't know, and staff members in pubs, restaurants, cafes, etc.
If you have any concerns about businesses not following social distancing rules, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with details.
What happens next?
There are three levels of the government's coronavirus watchlist:
- areas of concern
- areas of enhanced support
- areas of intervention
'Area of concern' is the least serious, and 'area of intervention' is the most serious. Middlesbrough is an 'area of enhanced support'.
Areas of concern
The council and its partners will work to manage outbreaks, and reduce the amount the virus is spreading in the community. Public Health England and the NHS Test and Trace service will support the council.
Work may include:
- extra testing for high-risk areas or groups, for example in care homes
- extra communications (for example, leaflets, online, on social media, on the radio) about the importance of social distancing, hand washing, face coverings, and other ways of staying safe
- research to see if there are clusters of the virus, for example, linked to specific businesses, families, events, or areas of town
Areas of enhanced support
Areas of enhanced support have all the support given to areas of concern, as well as various kinds of extra support from the government.
This extra support can include significantly increased testing, and in-depth work with high-risk groups and sectors to help increase how well Test and Trace can work in those areas. It might also include more mobile testing sites, and extra support from professionals with special knowledge of how viruses spread.
Areas of intervention
Areas of intervention have all the support given to areas of concern and areas of enhanced support, as well as various kinds of extra support from the government.
This is the stage we call 'local lockdown'. The government can make an area in local lockdown follow different rules to the rest of the country. The exact rules depend on the area, but they can include restrictions on businesses, and people gathering.
There will also be even bigger increases in the amount of testing, and the amount of communications to remind people to behave safely.