Tier 3 here we come - and phased return for Bay's secondary schools

A portrait picture of councillor Steve Darling

Council leader Steve Darling: 'we must follow rules' - Credit: Submitted

Torbay will move into Tier 3 for COVID restrictions from midnight tonight. 

The new move, announced by Health Minister Matt Hancock this afternoon, will shut down the Bay’s hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors literally overnight. 

The measures are being introduced to reduce non-essential contact between households and to avoid local NHS services coming under unsustainable pressure. 

Torbay Council leader Steve Darling said: “I recognise it is disheartening for all of us to move to even higher restrictions, but these measures are not taken lightly and it is essential we all follow the new rules and do everything we can to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in the Bay. 

 “Cases have risen again across Torbay and, with the threat of a new faster spreading strain of the virus, we must take action now. Back in November we reduced the number of cases and I urge everyone to double their efforts so that we can do that again.” 

Meanwhile, secondary schools have been told to stagger their return after the Christmas holidays. 

Pupils taking exams in 2021 will start back on January 11, with other year groups returning on January 18. 

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Most primary schools will return on January 4, except in some areas in the south of England where there are particularly high infection rates. 

All areas of England currently in Tier 2 are to move to Tier 3.  

A diagram showing the Tier 3 Covid rules

The Tier 3 rules - Credit: Submitted

Under Tier 3:  

  • All hospitality is closed with the exception of sales by take-away, drive-through or delivery 

  • Indoor leisure is open but with no group activities or classes 

  • Accommodation is closed (with limited exceptions) 

  • Avoid travel outside our local areas, unless necessary for work or education 

  • Rules on no mixing of households indoors (apart from support bubbles) and groups of a maximum of six outdoors continue to apply 

Deputy council leader Darren Cowell said: “With our businesses already struggling to keep going this year I know this announcement - particularly for our hospitality sector - is devastating, but it is unavoidable. We have a team in place processing funding applications from businesses and I encourage businesses that haven’t applied previously to do so. If you have previously applied under Lockdown measures you do not need to do so again.”