The new rules were announced at 9.16pm and came into play at midnight last night.
New lockdown measures have been implemented in Bradford today – with a Government announcement heralding the changes coming less then three hours before they were due to be introduced.
Bradford, along with Calderdale and Kirklees, was included in a list of Northern areas that face new measures – such as meeting other households.
But the decision to announce the changes at 9.16pm, when they came into play at midnight, has been heavily criticised.
The changes come as many in Bradford prepare to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid.
They will apply to the whole Bradford district.
The changes announced by the Government include people being banned from meeting anyone outside their household in a home or private garden, or socialising with people from other households in other indoor venues like pubs or restaurants.
People can attend those venues, but only with people from their own household or support bubble.
The following businesses will not be allowed to open:
- indoor gyms
- indoor fitness and dance studios
- indoor sports courts and facilities
- indoor swimming pools, including indoor facilities at water parks
The Government is drafting new laws that will allow the police to enforce the measures – including being able to hand out fines of £100.
Bradford’s Council for Mosques Tweeted last night: “In light of this evening’s announcement from the Government, we would like to remind our community to strictly follow social distancing guidelines while offering both Eid and Jummah prayers.”
Bradford Council had taken measures to make sure people would be able to celebrate Eid safely.
At a meeting of the Council’s Bradford South Area Committee last night, held several hours before the announcement, members were told that Council wardens would be in Scholemoor Cemetery during Eid to hand out face masks and hand sanitiser to people visiting family members’ graves.
In recent days, rising infection rates in Bradford had raised the possibility the district might go into a Leicester-style local lockdown.
But the timing and nature of the announcement has been criticised.
Councillor Ralph Berry (Lab, Wibsey) posted this morning: “You can recognise there is a need to take steps and be absolutely appalled by the contemptuous and inept manner of the announcement .
“The picture I’ve seen is one where the evidence of the way this virus works has not been accepted or understood or acted upon by many .
“The impact of that collapse in message and example from Cummings and the entitled has a lot to answer for .
“But the entitled are not paying the price.”
Late last night Bradford West MP Naz Shah recognised the importance of the new measures, but added: “I remain hugely concerned as we do not have the actual regulations in place for these measures.
“I understand that this announcement would be a huge shock to many, but in the interests of public safety we must do everything to support these measures.”
Earlier this week Bradford Council issued a statement urging people to stick to social distancing measures, and raising concerns the District faced new local lockdown measures if the infection rate increased.
The warning was met with scepticism from some.
Former leader of the Conservatives on Bradford Council Simon Cooke, who stood down as a councillor last year, Tweeted: “I see Bradford Council is going all chicken licken today.”
And when the city’s newspaper the Telegraph & Argus reported on the Council’s warning, the paper’s Facebook page was inundated with comments dismissing the threat.
One commenter said: “Its time this s*** stirring panic mongering stopped and we are allowed to get on with our lives.”
Another said: “How about posting something positive for a change instead of scaring everyone?
Earlier this morning Bradford Council tweeted the following about where in the District the new restrictions will apply.
The new restrictions apply across the whole of the Bradford District. If you pay your Council Tax to Bradford Council, it means you. It’s not based on specific postcodes.— Bradford Council (@bradfordmdc) July 31, 2020
We will share more information as soon as we have further clarification. pic.twitter.com/m2X0xOug0j