Government places Stockton-on-Tees into Tier 4 of COVID-19 restrictions
The Government has placed Stockton-on-Tees into Tier 4 of England's system of COVID-19 restrictions.
Under the system, areas are placed into one of four tiers - Tier 1 (medium), Tier 2 (high), Tier 3 (very high) or Tier 4 (stay at home) - with each having a different set of restrictions.
And the Borough of Stockton-on-Tees, along with Tees Valley and the rest of the North East region, has been placed into Tier 4 - the strictest of those tiers.
This means a number of new restrictions will come into effect from 00:01 on Thursday (December 31).
"Sadly, like many areas across the country we are seeing a rise in COVID-related deaths and mounting pressure on the NHS so today's announcement is not unexpected," said Councillor Bob Cook, Leader of the Council and Chair of the Borough's Local Outbreak Engagement Group (LOEG).
"As always, our main focus is on supporting our most vulnerable residents and protecting the NHS but we can only do that by following the rules to get our numbers down again. It is absolutely critical that we all follow the "hands, face, space" advice, keep indoor spaces well ventilated and in particular, follow the Tier 4 rules to stay home and avoid mixing with other households.
"We saw a significant fall in rates during the last national lockdown - let's not waste that effort. Let's go again and get the numbers down and keep them there.
"It's not just about protecting yourself - it's about protecting those most vulnerable to the effects of the virus, and preventing our NHS from being overwhelmed."
He added: "We'll also be seeking clarity from Government on the support available to businesses under Tier 4 restrictions."
In response to the new Tier 4 restrictions, the Borough's libraries and Family Hubs will close to the public and offer a very limited range of services .