Toughest coronavirus restrictions to be introduced in Lancashire
By Harriet Line, PA Deputy Political Editor
Lancashire has become the second area of England to be placed under the toughest coronavirus restrictions.
From Saturday, people in the north west county will be banned from socialising with anybody they do not live with in any indoor setting or private garden, as well as in most outdoor hospitality venues.
All pubs and bars must close unless they are serving substantial meals, and casinos, bingo halls, bookmakers, betting shops, soft play areas and adult gaming centres will be forced to shut.
Car boot sales will also be banned.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “An unrelenting rise in cases in Lancashire means we must act now, and we have worked intensively with local leaders to agree on additional restrictions.
“I know how heavy these additional challenges will weigh on everyday life for the people of Lancashire but they are critical in bringing this virus under control.
“Without them, we risk the health of your loved ones, your most vulnerable, and your local NHS services.
“Now is the time to play your part, and we will make sure you are supported.”
Lancashire joins the Liverpool City Region as the only two areas of England facing Tier 3 restrictions, the most severe.
A furious political row between local politicians and Westminster has so far prevented Greater Manchester being moved into the “very high” risk category.