By Grahame Anderson

Wednesday 2 September will see coronavirus restrictions lifted in parts of West Yorkshire where rates of incidence have gone down. In total, nine of the 30 wards in Bradford will see extra lockdown measures released from that date.

The decision came following meetings between the Health Secretary, local leaders, NHS Test and Trace, the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), and the Chief Medical Officer for England.

Mixing With Family And Friends

As a result more than a million people will once again be able to mix with family and friends away from their household, as long as they stick to national social distancing guidelines. The move comes since restrictions were tightened a month ago.

It also means businesses and organisations including indoor play areas and bowling alleys will also be able to re-open in the same areas. The rest of the country are already doing so of course.

This has all been made possible because of local efforts to stop the virus spreading. This includes avoiding mixing with other households indoors and a rise in targeted testing.

Important Note

It should be noted however, indoor household gatherings will continue to be banned in both Dewsbury and Batley and parts of Calderdale.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We brought in measures to protect people in these parts of Northern England, and I want to thank residents who have worked so hard to get on top of this virus.

We’re seeing the positive results of our local approach, and are able to bring in increasingly targeted measures.”

He added: “It is vital we can maintain this good progress. I have every faith people across the county, especially in areas where we are seeing higher numbers of cases, will continue to play their part by following local rules, and self-isolating and requesting a free test as soon as they get any symptoms.”

Local Reaction

Bradford South MP Judith Cummins has said: “I am extremely disappointed that no part of Bradford South has been removed from the local restrictions by the Government this week.

“In the consensus meeting held on Tuesday I made the case for Bradford South to be removed from local restrictions and to revert to the national restrictions given the low to medium infection rate across the constituency.

“The Government needs to explain why they have ignored the views of me and my constituents.

“During this pandemic, it is vital that Government acts, and is seen to act, without political bias. I have written to the Health Secretary to ask him to explain his decision and to publish the data and criteria used to make it.”

Imran Hussain, Labour MP for Bradford East, told us: “I am deeply disappointed to see that the Government have chosen to play politics with their response to the virus in Bradford rather than address the inconsistencies and confusion in their approach, or tackle the endemic poverty and low pay across the District that is one of the root causes behind the virus’ transmission.

When many people do not consistently follow the news or see Government announcements, changes such as these where restrictions are lifted at one end of the road but kept in place at the other for no discernible reason only sows confusion. This confusion then leaves people less able to understand and follow guidance which in turn undermines our collective ability to tackle the spread of the virus.”

Fines Reminder

People need to be aware fines for not wearing face coverings start at £100, reduced if paid within 14 days. Those flouting the rules on public transport or in indoor settings will now have their fines doubled at each offence. Following the first offence, no discount will be offered. This means a second fine will amount to £200 and a third fine will be £400, up to a maximum value of £3,200.

Areas in Bradford, where restrictions are being lifted:

  • Worth Valley
  • Craven
  • Ilkley
  • Baildon
  • Bingley
  • Bingley Rural
  • Shipley
  • Wharfedale
  • Windhill and Wrose
  • In Bradford, both Bradford city and Keighley town are excluded.

Areas in Calderdale, where restrictions are being lifted:

  • Brighouse
  • Calder
  • Elland
  • Greenland and Stainland
  • Hipperholme and Lightcliffe
  • Luddendenfoot
  • Rastrick
  • Ryburn
  • Todmorden
  • In Calderdale: Halifax is excluded.

Areas in Kirklees where restrictions are being lifted:

  • Golcar
  • Greenhead
  • Heckmondwike
  • Holme Valley South
  • Lindley
  • Liversedge and Gomersal
  • Mirfield
  • Newsome
  • Cleckheaton
  • Dalton
  • Denby Dale
  • Almondbury
  • Colne Valley
  • Crosland Moor and Netherton
  • In Kirklees: Dewsbury and Batley are excluded.