A Stark message from Preston council – “Don’t kill Granny”
Young people in Preston have been warned “don’t kill granny” by the city’s council as local lockdown measures were enforced following a spike in coronavirus cases.
Households in the city in Lancashire are now banned from mixing indoors or in gardens, with local leaders blaming people mixing in pubs and other homes for restrictions having to be reimposed.
Adrian Phillips, chief executive of Preston City Council, said “young people are inevitably among the brave and the bold”, but claimed they are spreading COVID-19 in the community in “many cases”
“I know our director of public health has said ‘don’t kill granny’ to young people to try and focus the message,” he told Radio 4’s Today programme.
“Young people are inevitably among the brave and the bold, they want to be adventurous and out and about, but we know that they have the virus… they often have less symptoms, but they do take it back to their household and the community spread we are seeing, we believe in many cases (is) young people taking it home and catching the virus.”
Mr Phillips backed a call from the Local Government Association (LGA) for councils to have greater powers to close pubs to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Current guidance says licensed premises should take customer details and ensure they have infection control measures in place, but they are still voluntary.
The LGA wants these guidelines to be made mandatory immediately, and has called for local authorities to be given stronger powers to enforce them.
It wants a temporary COVID-19 objective added to the Licensing Act, allowing councils to shut premises that fail to collect contact tracing data or enforce social distancing, or even revoke their licences.
“You need responsive powers,” Mr Phillips said.
“It is useful to have something that can move quickly and we can make it entirely clear to the licensee or the operator what the consequences are.”
The new restrictions in Preston that came into place from midnight are:
- You cannot have others in your homes and gardens
- You cannot visit other people’s homes or gardens, even if they are in an unaffected area
- You are not permitted to mix with other household in indoor venues
Social bubbles are exempt from the restrictions.
Residents can meet in groups of up to six, or more than six if exclusively from two households, in outdoor areas such as parks and beer gardens.
Households can also visit indoor hospitality venues as long as they do not mix with others.
Sixty-one new coronavirus cases were reported in Preston in the seven days to August 4, which is the equivalent of 42.6 cases per 100,000 people – up from 21.7 per 100,000 in the previous seven days.
Director of Public Health for Lancashire Sakthi Karunanithi said almost half of the cases reported were among people aged 30 and younger.
Mr Karunanithi said the “two main reasons” for the rise in infections were people meeting others in their houses and households coming together in venues such as pubs.
He added: “These two are key behaviours we’re trying to protect people from. Don’t meet with members of other households in pubs and clubs.”
The new restrictions in Preston come a week after the same measures were brought in for residents in Greater Manchester, parts of east Lancashire and West Yorkshire, as well as Leicester.
The rules will remain in place for those areas for at least another week.
Bedford and Swindon have also been added to the government’s “watchlist” of places where cases are rising.
Meanwhile, from today face coverings are now mandatory across England in indoor places of worship, museums and galleries, public areas in hotels and hostels, bingo halls, libraries, cinemas, concert halls, crematoriums, aquariums and indoor zoos.