From midnight tonight Croydon, like the rest of London, will be designated a Covid-19 Very High Alert level area and subject to Tier 3 restrictions.
The government announcement has come as Covid-19 cases continue to rise sharply across the capital, including in our borough. We continue to see a significant increase in the number of people being treated in our hospital, some of whom are seriously ill, and in the first week of December, 13 residents died after testing Covid-19 positive. My first thoughts today are with all of them and their loved ones.
The situation is extremely serious and it is imperative that we all act now to prevent the situation getting worse – to prevent more local people becoming seriously ill, to prevent loss of life and to protect our NHS.
I know how tough this is for everyone, particularly our restaurants, pubs and other businesses who will have to close their doors in Tier 3 and we will be working hard to support them during this very difficult time.
But safety must come first. The best way we can all help our businesses and our economy is to ensure we don’t stay in Tier 3 a moment longer than is necessary, by following the restrictions and doing all we can to drive the numbers down.
There is light at the end of the tunnel but it is a long way off and we cannot let our guard down now. It would be tragic for any more people to lose their lives needlessly to this virus just as the national vaccine programme has started to get under way.
It is now just a week before the planned relaxations of the restrictions start for the Christmas period (23-27 December). I implore people to think really carefully before they decide to mix with people beyond their household during the Christmas period.
Our director of public health, Rachel Flowers, has the following message for the community.
A message from Rachel Flowers, Croydon’s director of public health
London is now experiencing the highest rates of Covid-19 anywhere in the country and in our borough, cases are rising rapidly.
Croydon’s incidence rate is currently 197.3 per 100,000 and on Sunday, 88 people were being treated in Croydon University Hospital, some of whom are in intensive care.
We know from experience that an increase in cases means an increase in hospitalisations and ultimately, tragically it will mean an increase in deaths. We are already starting to see this, and this is why it is absolutely vital that we act now to reduce transmission in Croydon.
We are in talks with government about increasing testing capacity locally but I cannot stress enough that testing is only one part of our defence against the virus. The only way to protect ourselves and others, is to limit our social contact as much as possible.
This means from midnight tonight following the Tier 3 restrictions which include:
- You must not meet socially indoors, or in a private garden, with anyone who is not a member of your household or support bubble.
- Hospitality settings such as bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes must close except for takeaway, delivery and click and collect.
- You can attend places of worship for a service but you must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble.
- You can meet socially with up to six individuals in some outdoor public places, including parks, playgrounds and outdoor sport facilities, but you must all continue to follow the guidance on social distancing.
You can find the Tier 3 restrictions available in full here.
However we must all always follow the advice on hands, face, space:
- Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid enclosed spaces with others but if you must be in one, wear a face covering.
- Stay at least 2 metres from others indoors and outside.
- If you must be indoors with others, keep rooms well-ventilated, with doors and windows open.
We must all consider now whether the things we are doing – the trips and visits we are making – are really essential and whether there is any more we could all do, to help keep Croydon safe.