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Covid-19: South Yorkshire measures, parcel pick-ups and £40,000 fines

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  • Coronavirus pandemic

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday evening. We'll have another update for you tomorrow morning.

1. Tier 3 for South Yorkshire from Saturday

It's been another day focused on local coronavirus restrictions in England. South Yorkshire will face the toughest Covid rules from Saturday, with tier three measures for all four of the local authority areas - Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield. Meanwhile, ministers have offered a £60m package to support businesses and employees in Greater Manchester, which is to move into tier three from Friday. And gyms and leisure centres will be able to reopen across Liverpool after the government bowed to pressure to bring it in line with other areas under tier three measures. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said large parts of England face "months of prolonged agony" with no route out of Covid restrictions and inadequate support, but PM Boris Johnson has insisted his regionalised approach to restrictions is working.

media captionPeople in Barnsley town centre react to tier three restrictions being announced

2. Scotland hospitality curbs extended

Bars and restaurants in Scotland's central belt - an area containing about 3.4 million people - are to remain closed for another week after short-term Covid-19 restrictions were extended. They were closed on 9 October as part of what First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called a "short, sharp action to arrest a worrying increase in infection". These measures were originally meant to expire on 26 October, but Ms Sturgeon said they would now continue until a new "strategic framework" comes into force. Scotland is due to move to a five-tier system of virus alert levels from 2 November. Hospitality venues in other parts of the country can only serve alcohol outdoors.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe restrictions rollover will continue into the start of November

3. Royal Mail parcel pick-ups

Royal Mail is to start collecting parcels and mail from people's homes. The firm is trying to capitalise on a rise in online shopping, which has been accelerated by the coronavirus crisis. Royal Mail has seen parcel deliveries increase in recent years but is still on track to make a loss in 2020. The move to collecting could be beneficial if the company can work out logistical issues, an analyst said. Its Parcel Collect service will be available every day except Sunday, and there will be 72p charge per parcel, plus postage costs. Pre-paid return packages can be collected for 60p per item.

image copyrightGetty Images

4. Uni party students fined £40,000

Four university students in Nottingham have been fined £10,000 each after telling police who broke up their house party they were "spoiling their fun". Nottingham Trent University said the third-year students involved in the breach of coronavirus restrictions had been suspended. Officers on patrol spotted a party in Lenton on Tuesday night but were told everyone had left. But inside they found more than 30 people hiding and, when challenged, organisers complained they should be having the "time of their lives". With the exception of support bubbles, the mixing of households indoors has been banned since Nottingham went into tier two restrictions on 14 October.

image copyrightGoogle
image captionThe students were fined after officers spotted a house party in Kimbolton Lane

5. Juggling kids and a new lockdown business

"I always wanted to set up my own business, because I needed to have something that was mine," says Suzanne Pattinson, 35, from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. She's managed to do that in lockdown, despite the challenges of childcare during Covid restrictions. She and her husband, who's in the RAF, have two boys, aged two and three. Suzanne was balancing working as a freelance PR consultant with looking after the toddlers at home before the pandemic hit. She was forced to rethink her career goals when the freelance work dried up during lockdown. Read how she set up her own business creating handmade jewellery.

image copyrightSuzanne Pattinson
image captionSuzanne set up her own jewellery brand during the coronavirus pandemic

And don't forget...

Find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

Plus, we take a closer look at whether all employees unable to work in tier three areas will get 80% of their wages.

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