The Government has announced that local restrictions will return for the whole of Kirklees next week, with rates of COVID-19 infection continuing to increase.

Like many other areas in the country, Kirklees has seen a significant rise in rates over the last seven days. In the past week, 72.71 per 100,000 people in Kirklees tested positive for COVID-19, compared to last week when it was 37.8 per 100,000.

The Government has today announced that the whole of Kirklees, from Tuesday 22 September, will return to being under the local restrictions originally introduced on 30 July.

This means that, in addition to the national restrictions, in Kirklees you cannot:

Meet people you do not live with inside a private home or garden, except where you have formed a support bubble.

Visit someone else’s home or garden even if they live outside of Kirklees.

Socialise with people you do not live with in other indoor public venues – such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions.

Visit friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances. Care homes should restrict visits to these circumstances.

These restrictions have remained in place in Dewsbury and Batley since 30 July but were lifted for the rest of Kirklees on 2 September. You can read more on restrictions in Kirklees on Kirklees Council’s website.

Kirklees’ Outbreak Control Board has written to the Government to ask for more clarity on how the decision has been made and what needs to do be done for the restrictions to be lifted.

As well as good hand hygiene and social distancing, getting a test if you have symptoms is one of the most important ways you can help beat the virus. Read more on testing in Kirklees and find out how to get tested at your local testing centre.

Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, said “I know how difficult this news will be to hear. It’s an incredibly tough sacrifice to have to make.

“Since the restrictions were first introduced in July, I have said we will work in partnership with Government and have continuously asked for the rationale on how they make these decisions

“We’re also concerned that frequent changes in restrictions could have a serious impact on the effectiveness of them, but also people’s mental health. A better understanding of how data is interpreted could help us prevent this in the future.

“In order for us to tackle this in the most effective and joined up way, we need to know more about how these decisions, which have a huge impact on the lives and livelihoods of our residents, are made.

“That’s why Kirklees’ Outbreak Control Board has written to the Government to ask them to reconsider this decision, and share with us the rationale for the extra restrictions the whole of Kirklees is now under.

“A more open discussion on the way data is interpreted and how the decisions on local restrictions are made, will help us target our activity and resources so we can get our freedoms back as soon as possible.

“We’re looking forward to continuing to work well with Government, as we have done throughout the pandemic, so we can keep people safe and get our freedoms back.

“The best way of preventing the spread of COVID-19 is still to social distance, wear a face mask in enclosed spaces and wash your hands regularly.”

You can stay up to date with rates of positive cases, which areas the cases are in, how Kirklees compares to neighbouring areas and the rest of the country and more by viewing the council’s new dashboard.