Warrington, along with the rest of the country, has entered national lockdown.

The decision for a national lockdown follows a rapid rise in infections, hospital admissions and case rates across the country.

This drastic jump in cases has been attributed to the new variant of COVID-19, which scientists have now confirmed is between 50 and 70 per cent more transmissible.

Under the new national restrictions people will only be allowed to leave their homes for the following reasons, to:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person.
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home.
  • outdoor exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one.
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse).
  • attend education or childcare - for those eligible.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential and should not attend work.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “This new lockdown will be difficult for everyone but it is vital if we are to bring the virus under control. The bleak national picture means that we have to act now to save lives.

“This will require further sacrifices from all of us. I would like to thank the people of Warrington for their ongoing efforts and I would ask everyone to once again play their part, stick to the rules and help us get through this pandemic together.

“We will continue to work tirelessly to support our businesses, families, health staff and keyworkers throughout this period.”

From today, all primary schools, secondary schools and colleges have moved to remote learning, except for the children of key workers and vulnerable children. Early years settings such as nurseries, alternative provision and special schools will remain open.

Cabinet member for housing, public health and wellbeing, Cllr Maureen McLaughlin said: “The roll out of the vaccine gives us hope for the future but it is so important in the here and now that we continue to do all we can to stop the spread of the virus and save lives.

“Please follow the guidance of hands, face, space – these basic prevention measures have never been so important. We have been in this position before and we know how important it is that we do our bit to bring case numbers down. I’m confident that we will continue to show the resilience, compassion and togetherness we need to get through this period.”

Under the new restrictions all non-essential retail, hospitality and personal care services must close, or remain closed. Restaurants can continue delivery, takeaway or click-and-collect of food and non-alcoholic drinks. Essential shops and garden centres along with places of worship can remain open. But entertainment venues and attractions such as zoos must close.

In addition playgrounds can stay open but indoor and outdoor sports facilities such as sports courts, gyms, golf courses, swimming pools must close.

Stockton Heath, Gatewarth and Woolston community recycling centres (CRCs) remain open for essential trips only.

The restrictions are expected to last until mid-February when they will be reviewed.

For the latest information about Warrington’s coronavirus restrictions, visit warrington.gov.uk/coronavirus.

For the full details of the national lockdown, visit gov.uk/coronavirus.