Pubs, bars and restaurants to remain open: Burnley MP offers clarity on local lockdown

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham has outlined just what a partial lockdown will mean for the town after tighter restrictions were announced tonight.

From midnight, different households in Burnley, other parts of East Lancashire, Greater Manchester, and West Yorkshire will be banned from meeting each other indoors.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said "households gathering and not abiding by the social distancing rules" was a reason for the stricter rules and it was in order to "keep the country safe".

He said: "We take this action with a heavy heart but unfortunately it's necessary because we've seen that households meeting up and a lack of social distancing is one of the causes of this rising rate of coronavirus and we'll do whatever is necessary to keep the country safe."

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham

He added: "We're constantly vigilant and we've been looking at the data, and unfortunately we've seen across parts of northern England an increase in the number of cases of coronavirus."

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham said he had been on a call with the health minister, NHS Test and Trace and Public Health England and he wanted to reassure the Burnley and Padiham that all was being done to ensure the virus remained under control in the area.

In outlining the changes, he said: "From midnight tonight households can't mix inside a house, so what that means is that one family can't go into the house of another family. But what doesn't change is all the other easing of restrictions we've had so far. So if you're a cafe owner, a bar, a pub, a restaurant, you can stay open.

"Households should avoid mixing in any setting. People can still go to pubs, bars and restaurants, but should do it as single households. The reason for this is that having looked at the data, the government has worked out that prevalence of the virus is increasing when people are inside the house. So what we need to do is remove that and see what that does to the data."

Mr Higginbotham said he had asked for an increase in local testing.

"This should me a difference to the figures," he said. "If we look at what has happened around the country in places like Leicester and Luton, after really targeted government intervention the prevalence rate has started to come down and were going in the right direction.

"I know this will be really concerning for people across Burnley and Padiham but I hope the measures that have been taken reassure you that where the data suggests that action needs to be taken, we will take it."