Warrington Borough Council has secured £5.9 million in coronavirus (COVID-19) support from the government as part of its move from a ‘high risk’ tier 2 area, to a ‘very high’ risk tier 3 area.

Around £1.68 million of this funding package will be allocated to supporting the council’s Public Health response - including for public protection, testing and enforcement services - with £4.2 million to be used for business and employment support. This is on top of the new job support scheme measures announced by the Chancellor yesterday, which will provide additional business support in Warrington.

The necessary orders and regulations will now be worked on by government, with a view to the restrictions coming into play from 00.01 on Thursday 29 October - though the exact date is to be confirmed.

Warrington’s move to a ‘very high’ risk area means that:

  • You must not socialise with anybody you don’t live with, unless you have formed a household or childcare support bubble, in any indoor setting or venue – including homes or restaurants
  • You must not socialise with anybody you don’t live with, unless you have formed a household or childcare support bubble, in any private garden, or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events
  • You must not socialise in a group of more than six in an outdoor public space, like parks
  • Pubs and bars that do not serve substantial meals as a restaurant, like a main lunchtime or evening meal, must close
  • You should avoid travelling outside Warrington wherever possible – only essential journeys, such as for work or caring responsibilities, should be made
  • You should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK

The council has managed to agree a range of exemptions as part of the support package for moving into tier 3. This includes leisure centres, gyms, fitness centres, beauticians, hairdressers and trampoline centres remaining open, subject to them being COVID-secure.

In line with other areas in the North West however, betting offices, pubs (where substantial meals are not served), soft play centres and casinos are to close.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “Across Warrington, we have seen our case numbers remain stubbornly high, with more people being admitted to hospital and, upsettingly, more people being taken by the virus. As we approach winter, we need to take urgent action to drive down the number of coronavirus cases in our town.

“After negotiations with the government, we have agreed a package of measures and funding for Warrington that means our businesses and residents will get extra support. This agreement has been the result of positive discussions with government, and whilst we would have ideally liked a little more funding support, ultimately I think we have secured a very good package that will support our businesses and communities as we continue to do all we can to bring case numbers down. This has been a difficult decision but we need to prioritise the health of our most vulnerable and elderly people, and we also need to protect hospital capacity as far as possible.

“We will not stop speaking up for those who are most vulnerable or at risk during the pandemic. In the meantime, you can all play your part to stop the spread of the virus by sticking to the restrictions, and continuing to follow the basics like washing your hands, keeping your distance and wearing a face covering where necessary. Together, I know we can bring the case numbers down and help get Warrington out of these enhanced restrictions as quickly as possible.”

The full list of ‘very high’ risk guidance, restrictions and exemptions will be updated in due course at warrington.gov.uk/coronavirus