BRIGHTON and Hove is at risk from tighter coronavirus restrictions after the number of weekly cases tripled in the latest figures - here is what a local lockdown could mean for the city.

A local lockdown could bring about an abrupt halt to households meeting and tighter restrictions for hospitality businesses if it were put in place in Brighton and Hove.

Brighton and Hove's director of public health Alistair Hill (pictured below) warned this week that the city needed to take "extra efforts" or risk being placed under the tightened restrictions.

This followed the near-tripling of the number of weekly cases recorded in the city, a figure which sparked the council to raise the Covid alert level to amber.

This, in the council's traffic light alert system, is the "last stage before the government will declare the city an area of national concern," the authority said.

The Argus: Alistair Hill.jpg

In the week leading up to October 1 there were 115 confirmed new Covid-19 cases in the city, compared to 39 cases the week before.

Mr Hill said some of the stark rise could be put down to improved access to testing in the city, but "this does not explain all the increase that we have seen".

He said: "It’s really concerning that the number of cases has more than doubled over the past week. 

"If transmission keeps increasing we risk the Government imposing more restrictions on the city. 

“We all now need to make extra efforts or risk a local lockdown."

But, what could a local lockdown mean for the city?

The Argus:

There are currently seven parts in the UK which have been placed under more stringent coronavirus restrictions.

These are; Greater Manchester; Leicester; the North East of England; Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen; Merseyside, Halton and Warrington; the West Midlands and West Yorkshire.

The government placed these areas under local lockdown in an attempt to quash outbreaks of coronavirus identified within communities living there.

Some of the precautionary measures initially introduced in these areas, such as the rule of six and curfew on pubs, have since been introduced nationally after a rise in the number of national cases.

But there are some restrictions which only apply to the areas placed under local lockdowns.

In some of the areas, these include people being unable to meet with people from other households in their home, garden or indoor public settings such as pubs and restaurants.

People are, however, allowed to meet people who are within their childcare or support bubble.

A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household, and a childcare bubble is where someone in one household can provide informal childcare to a child aged 13 or below in another household.

The police will be able to take action against those that break these rules, including asking people to disperse and issuing fixed penalty notices starting at £200.

The Argus:

It will be lowered to £100 if paid within 14 days, but doubled if the offence is repeated - rising to a maximum fine of £6,400.

It is also advised that people do not meet with other households in any public setting.

In some of the areas, such as the North East of England and Merseyside, Halton and Warrington, hospitality venues must "take reasonable steps" to ensure that the risk of customers spreading infection is minimised.

This includes not accepting bookings if they include more than one household, ensuring customers only eat or drink while seated, making sure tables are appropriately spaced out to enable social distancing and not allowing customers to join other groups inside their premises

Fines will be issued for any breaching of these restrictions which is identified.

Venues will be charged £1,000 for the first offence, £2,000 for the third, £4,000 for the third and £10,000 for any further misdemeanours.

The national restrictions on travel still apply, with all people using public transport required by law to wear a face covering- unless they are exempt.

People are encouraged to only use public transport for “essential reasons” such as going to work, food shopping, going to school or visiting someone who is vulnerable and needs support. 

However, people living inside the affected areas are still able to travel outside them.

The government website states: “You can still go on holiday outside of the affected areas, but you should only do this with people you live with.”