Hastings Borough Council has urged residents to follow rules, get tested and stay safe as Hastings is set to move in to Tier 3 from Saturday.
The Tier change comes after a significant rise in cases in Hastings over the past two weeks. The town’s rate per 100,000 is now 507, which is well over double the national average of 165. It means Hastings – having for so long been the town with the lowest rate of infections in the country – is now one of the top 20 places in England for rises in cases.
Entering Tier 3 means we have tighter restrictions in place from Saturday. These restrictions include not mixing with any other households indoors or outdoors in a private garden or most outdoor public venues. Only meeting people you do not live with outdoors, in open public spaces in such as parks and beaches, groups of up to 6. Essential travel only, for education, caring responsibilities and medical reasons. Some businesses and venues will need to close.
In light of the rises the council, alongside Public Health, is urging residents:
- To make sure they understand the new Tier 3 rules and follow them
- Get tested even if they have only mild symptoms (there will be increased testing capacity in the town with two Mobile Testing Units operating in Hastings from Thursday to Tuesday)
- To think hard about their Christmas plans and put the safety of themselves and their families first
Councillor Kim Forward, leader of the council, said: “COVID-19 rates in Hastings are rising at a worrying speed and are not set to slow over the Christmas period. We must keep each other safe and protect our key workers and the NHS, so please stop and think before you leave your home. Let’s only go out to places where there are other people if it is essential and remember Space, Face, Hands.
“If you have any symptoms at all even if they are mild please have a test. If we do this then the chances of us taking COVID into our Christmas bubble are reduced.
“Public Health at East Sussex County Council are asking us to think about our Christmas gatherings again to decide if we can reduce the amount of contact with family and friends indoors.
“Let’s listen to the advice from Public Health and where we can reduce our contact with friends and family, take great care if we do meet up and help keep them stay safe this Christmas.”
MP Sally-Ann Hart said this morning: “Today our area has moved into Tier 3, which I know will be incredibly disappointing for local people and a hammer blow to the local hospitality sector. None of us wanted to be in this position, however, the data on the virus is stark. While I am bitterly disappointed with the decision, especially considering how hard we have pulled together to resist the spread of this virus, it is clear to me and the local health professionals that we currently haven’t got control of the virus and infection rates continue to increase rapidly. This is now having a knock effect on the pressures of our local health services.
“I want to urge people now to really stick to the rules and the guidance. We need to get this virus back under control so we can protect our NHS, avoid the vulnerable getting serious disease or worse succumbing to this dreadful virus.
“I know this is incredibly tough and we are asking a lot of people. We have all sacrificed so much already, but we simply cannot carry on as we with infection rates now well over 500 per 100,000 in Hastings.
“Just because restrictions have been lifted over Christmas, it does not mean we must take advantage of them. This Christmas we all need to think carefully about the visits and people we meet. Keep your visits short, your gatherings small and your journeys local. This isn’t going to be a normal Christmas, but in the months to come we can return to some semblance of normal, and return to Christmas as usual next year.
“We have the glimmer of hope in 2021 that is the vaccine. It is being rolled out as we speak and this will get us out of this dark moment in time, but until then we need to keep at it with the social distancing and Covid-19 precautions over next few months. We have come so far, let’s not chuck it all away now as we make our way down the final finishing straight.
Darrell Gayle, Director of Public Health for East Sussex, added: “We’re seeing a worrying rise in COVID-19 infections across Hastings and Rother. We must all act now to stop the virus spreading further, to save lives and protect the NHS.
“We all have choices to make. I would urge you to reflect on who you really need to see, especially over Christmas. What can wait until the risk of the virus has reduced further? Consider if it’s really necessary at a time of increasing infections.
“Avoid crowds where possible, especially in shops and marketplaces. If you really need to go Christmas shopping, try to do it at less busy times. Reduce your social contact as much as you can, the fewer people you see the less likely the spread.”