Everything you need to know if you are planning on travelling from Wakefield to Leeds this weekend as the city is placed in local lockdown

Leeds is to be placed under a local lockdown from midnight tonight, Friday, with the new restrictions likely to impact on anyone planning to visit the city for shopping or to go out to enjoy its food and drink scene.

By Graham Chalmers
Friday, 25th September 2020, 4:14 pm
Updated Friday, 25th September 2020, 4:18 pm

The new tougher set of restrictions in the city come after a surge in positive coronavirus cases across the city.

The latest seven day COVID-19 rate in Leeds is 98.5 per 100,000 people, with 8.4 per cent of those tested being positive and cases showing a consistent upward trend for a number of weeks.

Leeds is to be placed under a local lockdown from midnight tonight, Friday with the new restrictions likely to impact on anyone planning to visit the city for shopping or to go out to enjoy its food and drink scene.

That compares with figures for the Wakefield district of 42 cases per 100,000 people.

Announcing the new lockdown for the city which could well be in place through Christmas, Leeds City Council Leader Judith Blake said: "We are in a time of fast moving changes which affect us all. We are in a situation with the rest of the country implementing the rule of 6.

"The curfew came in at 10pm last night and I understand we had good compliance with that regulation.

"I understand that the four medical officers for the UK have put out a statement saying we are at the start of a second wave.

"We haven’t had a formal announcement from government yet. We have the expectation that we will be asked to move into a different category.

"Our understanding is that we will be moved onto the 'Area of Intervention' list, which means we will see more household restrictions in line with Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale."

In a media briefing held this morning, Leeds Council announced they expect Leeds to go into lockdown as of midnight.

The council is warning that restrictions could last throughout the winter when questioned about potential implications for Christmas.

The new lockdown in Leeds come despite months of extensive work by agencies and partner groups across the city which has seen increased testing, community engagement and public awareness campaigns.

This has also been supported by work alongside the city’s universities to prepare for the imminent arrival of students to start the new university year in Leeds.

When will the new lockdown in Leeds begin?

It is expected to begin from midnight.

Coun Judith Blake said: “We expect that these restrictions will come in from midnight tonight."

Which areas of Leeds are included?

All the areas which pay council tax to Leeds City Council will be under lockdown restrictions.

What lockdown means in Leeds: New restrictions in full

People in Leeds cannot meet or host people they do not live with in private homes or gardens unless they are in a support bubble.

People cannot visit someone else's home or garden even if they live outside of Leeds.

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 will remain exempt.

Friends and family can also still provide informal childcare for children under 14.

People in Leeds should not socialise with people they do not live with in any public venue in Leeds or other cities.

Examples of public venues include pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions and parks.

They should not visit friends or family in care homes.

How long is Leeds expected to remain under restrictions?

National restictions such as the curfew and rule of six are expected to remain in place throughout winter.

Local lockdown is likely to remain in place as long as it is needed and cases continue to rise.

There is no set level of infection that triggers this in a particular place, but if it posts more than 40 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people, it is likely that extra restrictions will be considered.

Leeds City Council said restrictions would be continually monitored and reviewed and additional measures could be brought in the coming weeks if required.

Leeds City Council Leader Judith Blake said: “Building on Leeds' sense of community spirit, I’d appeal to everyone to follow these rules, consider the impact your actions could have on others and take your share of the responsibility for protecting our city.”

Did university students play a part in Leeds lockdown?

It doesn’t appear that students are being sent home at this time in Leeds and a testing centre had already been set up at Leeds University open to all students and all residents.

Victoria Eaton, Leeds' director of public health, said the city had "very strong arrangements in place" to deal with the pandemic.

Ms Eaton said: “As well as the work within campuses we have been working really closely in the areas where students live and socialise.

"The challenges are around household and social cases but we’ve been working with universities, police colleagues, community groups and student members around that.

"It remains a real challenge around higher education.

"On the ground in Leeds we have very strong arrangements in place.”

But Leeds City Council's chief executive Tom Riordan said students should bring a "sense of responsibility" to the city as Leeds 'warmly welcomes' those who will study from across the country and beyond.

He said: "I guess we need everybody to do what we’re asking and I have an 18-year-old in my house and I know the challenges of being a student and wanting to make friends and people wanting to enjoy the start of university life.

"We warmly welcome the students to the city, but we also ask that those students bring a sense of responsibility to the city as well.

"It may be that they aren’t at as great a risk of older people if it spreads, but the way universities have organised themselves, they’ve got zoned areas, deep cleans, bubbles and cohorts of students doing online learning where it makes sense.

"We need them to keep that in place and form social bubbles which restrict the movement of the virus between them.

“Using the app as well is a big thing we need students to do.

"We need the students to be good citizens of Leeds as well as really enjoying their university careers and we do have sympathy for them while still asking them to do the things we need them to do.”

Is Leeds alone in lockdown?

Government ministers announced a tightening of rules last week in response to “major increases” in cases of the virus, with Merseyside, Warrington, Halton and Lancashire – excluding Blackpool and Greater Manchester – escalated to “areas of intervention”.

Earlier this week on Tuesday, parts of Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale, were also banned from socialising with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens.