Detailed guide: North West of England: local restrictions

An outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been identified in parts of Lancashire, Merseyside, Warrington and Halton. The government and relevant local authorities are acting together to control the spread of the virus.

Restrictions apply to the specified areas below.

Affected local areas

  • Pendle (whole area subject to restrictions on household mixing. The following parts have additional guidance in place):
    • Whitefield
    • Walverden
    • Southfield
    • Bradley
    • Clover Hill
    • Brierfield
    • Marsden
  • Blackburn with Darwen (all areas of Blackburn and Darwen are currently subject to restrictions. The following parts are already subject to restrictions on care home visits, hospitality venues, and household mixing detailed below):
    • Audley & Queens Park
    • Bastwell & Daisyfield
    • Billinge & Beardwood
    • Blackburn Central
    • Little Harwood & Whitebirk
    • Roe Lee
    • Shear Brow & Corporation Park
    • Wensley Fold

Additional restrictions below will apply to the following areas from 22 September:

  • Halton (borough council area)
  • Lancashire (county council area, including Blackburn with Darwen and Pendle, and excluding Blackpool)
  • Merseyside (county council area)
  • Warrington (borough council area)

Local restrictions

Business and venue closures

The following businesses and venues must remain closed nationally, including in the affected areas:

  • nightclubs, dance halls, and discotheques
  • sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars

In the named areas of Blackburn with Darwen with restrictions already in place, we continue to advise that operators of hospitality venues (including restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes) should halt walk-ins, and only seat people who make reservations in advance. You should also take steps to ensure that people do not socialise outside of their households inside and outside your premises.

From 22 September and for all areas affected, hospitality venues must only sell food and drink for consumption on the premises if it is served to customers sitting at a table. They may also sell food and drink for consumption off the premises. Hospitality venues include:

  • restaurants, including hotel dining rooms and members clubs
  • cafes (not including cafes or canteens at workplaces where there is no practical alternative for staff at that workplace, cafes or canteens at hospitals, care homes, schools, prisons and establishments intended for use for naval, military or air force purposes, or services and for providing food or drink to the homeless)
  • bars including bars in hotels or members clubs
  • pubs
  • social clubs
  • casinos

From 22 September and for all areas affected, the following businesses and venues must close from 22:00 to 05:00 each day (please see below an exemption for food and drink deliveries):

  • the hospitality businesses and venues listed above
  • amusement arcades or other indoor leisure centres or facilities
  • funfairs (indoors or outdoors), theme parks and adventure parks and activities
  • bingo halls
  • concert halls

From 22 September and for all areas affected, businesses and venues can still sell food and drinks for consumption off the premises between the hours of 22:00 to 05:00 but only for delivery service in response to orders received:

  • through a website, or otherwise by online communication
  • by telephone, including orders by text message
  • by post

Social contact restrictions

The following social contact restrictions currently apply to parts of Blackburn with Darwen, and the whole areas of Pendle and Preston. From 22 September, these restrictions will also apply to Halton, Lancashire (excluding Blackpool), Merseyside, and Warrington.

If you live in one of the affected areas, you must not:

  • host people you do not live with in your home or garden, unless theyre in your support bubble
  • meet people you do not live with in their home or garden, whether inside or outside of the affected area, unless theyre in your support bubble

A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household (on an exclusive basis). Households within a bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together.

People can still come inside your home or garden for specific purposes, set out in law:

  • where everyone in the gathering lives together or is in the same support bubble
  • to attend a birth at the mothers request
  • to visit a person who is dying
  • to fulfil a legal obligation
  • for work purposes, or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services (see guidance on working safely in other peoples homes)
  • for the purposes of education or training
  • for the purposes of childcare provided by a registered provider
  • to provide emergency assistance
  • to enable one or more persons in the gathering to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm
  • to facilitate a house move
  • to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
  • to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children where the children do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents

The police are able to take action against those that break these rules, including asking people to disperse and issuing fixed penalty notices starting at 100 for those who participate in illegal gatherings.

People aged 18 or over can be fined:

  • 100 for the first offence, lowered to 50 if paid within 14 days
  • 200 for the second offence, then doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of 3,200

The government has also introduced fines for those who hold illegal gatherings of over 30 people. Holding or being involved in the holding of an illegal gathering of more than 30 people is an offence, and police may issue fixed penalty notices of 10,000 to those who break the law.

As of Monday 14 September, when meeting friends and family you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) you must not meet in a group of more than 6. Further detail can be found in the guidance for meeting others safely, including associated exemptions.

If you live in the affected local areas, you must not meet or host people you do not live with in private homes or gardens unless they are in your support bubble. In addition to these restrictions, we advise that you should not:

  • socialise with people you do not live with, unless theyre in your support bubble, in any public venue. This applies to inside and outside of the affected areas. Examples of public venues include pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions
  • visit friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances. Care homes should restrict visits to these circumstances

If you operate a business or organise events within the affected areas you should take steps to ensure people do not socialise with people they do not live with, in line with COVID-19 secure guidance.

Travel restrictions

You should follow all relevant transport guidance when making a journey into, within or out of the affected areas.

You must wear a face covering on public transport and in substantially enclosed areas of transport hubs in England (as well as other indoor premises). You will be breaking the law if you fail to do so and could be fined. Some people do not have to wear a face covering including for age, health, or disability reasons.

You should try not to share a car with those outside your household or support bubble. If you need to, try to:

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