PARTS of Dorset, including the Blackmore Vale area, will be moving into Tier 3, following the rise of Covid-19 cases country-wide.

The announcement was made today by Health Secretary Matt Hancock during the latest tier review.

The new restrictions, which come into force from one minute past midnight tonight (December 31), allow non-essential retail to remain open but pubs and restaurants will have to operate a takeaway service only.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole will be entering Tier 4.

The whole of Dorset was previously in Tier 2 and had remained under those measures during previous reviews.

According to government data, as of December 29 at 4.30pm, there has been 4,447 Covid-19 cases in Dorset since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Sam Crowe, director of Public Health for Dorset and BCP Councils said: “The number of positive cases of Covid-19 across the Dorset Council area has risen rapidly over the last week. Tier 2 measures are not enough to stop the virus spreading.

“Our infection rates have risen in people over the age of 60 which is putting increased pressure on already stretched NHS services. Making sacrifices now means we could prevent an even larger spike in January.

“It is essential, now more than ever that everyone follows the rules for Tier 3 to help drive infections down. Until the vaccine is rolled out wider, we must do all we can to supress the virus by staying at home as much as possible.

"Remember; hands, face, space and ventilating your home are simple measures we can all do that will make a difference.”

Spencer Flower, Leader of Dorset Council, added: “With case numbers rising rapidly, further action now will help to contain the spread of the virus here in Dorset. I’m afraid there’s no room for complacency here, we all need to continue to play our part to protect people’s lives and our NHS.

“As ever, I’d like to thank people for all they are doing as a very difficult and unprecedented year draws to a close.

"I know moving into Tier 3 will be hard for many residents and local businesses but, with the vaccine now being rolled out, I sincerely hope it won’t be too long before we can return to some form of normality.”

Tier 3 guidelines include:

  • No mixing of households indoors, or most outdoor places, apart from support bubbles. Maximum of six in some outdoor public spaces (including parks and public gardens)
  • Hospitality is closed, with the exception of sales by takeaway, drive-through or delivery
  • Retail businesses are open
  • Everyone who can work from home should do so
  • Early years settings, schools, colleges and universities are open. Childcare, other supervised activities for children, and childcare bubbles permitted
  • Indoor leisure remains are open. Group activities and classes should not take place
  • Accommodation is closed (with limited exceptions)
  • Personal care businesses such as hairdressers and beauty salons are open
  • Avoid overnight stays other than with household or support bubble
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead. 15 guests for weddings, civil partnerships and wakes; 30 for funerals. Wedding receptions are not permitted
  • Entertainment indoor venues are closed
  • Places of worship remain open, but you can't interact with anyone outside household or support bubble
  • Avoid travelling outside your area, other than where necessary such as for work or education. Reduce the number of journeys where possible. Plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. Avoid car sharing with those outside of your household or support bubble.
  • Exercise classes and organised adult sport can take place outdoors, but people should avoid higher-risk contact activity. Group exercise activities and sports indoors should not take place, unless with your household or bubble. Organised activities for elite athletes, under-18s and disabled people can continue.
  • Large events should not take place. Drive-in events permitted