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Covid-19: Nottinghamshire moves into tier 3 restrictions

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media captionCrowds gather in Nottingham ahead of new restrictions

Nottinghamshire has moved into the top tier of Covid-19 restrictions after an overall rise in infection rates.

Unlike some other tier three areas, betting shops, saunas, tattoo parlours and nail salons must close.

Alcohol cannot be sold after 21:00 GMT in shops, but can be sold until 22:00 if bought "in hospitality venues where accompanying a substantial meal".

The area, including the city of Nottingham, moves into the highest tier days ahead of West Yorkshire.

From Monday, it will take the total number of people living in very high restrictions to just over 11 million - 19.6% of the population.

Some business owners in Nottinghamshire have described the new rules as unfair and inconsistent.

The county's director of public health Jonathan Gribbin said the infection rate in the over 60s had been "rising significantly" and was of "grave concern".

On Wednesday, 413 people across the county were being treated in hospital for Covid-19, which is 40% more than the highest figures seen during the first wave of the virus.

image copyrightPA Media
image captionPeople were seen drinking alcohol in large groups in Nottingham on Thursday night

On Thursday evening, young people took to the streets of Nottingham in fancy dress in advance of the rules coming into force.

Youngsters were seen posing for photographs and chanting near police vehicles in Market Square.

Nottinghamshire Police said one man was arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.

They also issued dispersal orders after officers were called to St James' Street because of people said to be gathering and not social distancing when they were leaving bars.

Alison Challenger, Nottingham's director of public health, said she was "really disappointed" by the scenes.

"We've been working with colleagues and with stakeholders and with young people across the city and county to try and highlight the need for young people to also play their part," she said.

image captionSt James' Street was empty on Friday morning after a night when police were called there because of the crowds

Nottinghamshire County Council leader Kay Cutts previously said police had asked for the ban on buying alcohol after 21:00 to stop students partying.

She said the county could follow tier three restrictions for 28 days, and appealed to people "to crack down as hard as we can now" so residents "can have a more normal Christmas".

"But it will depend entirely on the trajectory of the virus," she said.

Within the new rules in Nottinghamshire, indoor entertainment and tourism venues have to close but there are exceptions for ice-skating rinks, cinemas, concert halls and theatres.

Joy Cotton, the director of Skateland UK, a family-run roller skating rink in Nottingham, said said she felt "pretty sad" about closing and thought there was "inconsistency" around the new rules.

"I've been in touch with the council and I don't seem to have an answer as to why ice skating can continue but roller skating can't," she said.

image copyrightJoy Cotton
image captionJoy Cotton believes there is also an argument Skateland should remain open as a sports facility

Lily Le, who has run Lily Nails in Mansfield for seven years, said it had been a "surprise" that the restrictions required nail salons to close.

"We don't have as many people as a pub. Why do we have to close?" she said.

"It's horrible we be to shut down again, even the customers aren't happy."

Pete Green, the owner of the Taurus Tattoo Studio in Newark, said: "I've just started building my clientele up and they've shut us down again.

"It's crippling, very unfair. I don't understand why they're picking on tattooists."

image captionLily Le, who runs Lily Nails, questioned why nail parlours had to close

At The Castle Barge pub in Newark, Frank Dyson said it would have to shut for the 28 days of the new restrictions.

"We are not in a position where we can do substantial food. We could get along with tier two but tier three is totally out of the question," he said.

James Aspell, the owner of the 400 Rabbits bar in Nottingham which will also have to close, said: "We've worked really hard over the past few months to get all the recommendations in the government has asked us to do.

"Once again, we seem to being punished for the rise in cases."

image captionPete Green described the changes as "crippling"

All areas of Nottinghamshire have seen a significant rise in infection rates, except for Nottingham.

At one point the city had the highest infection rate in the country with 834.2 cases per 100,000 people, but this has now reduced to 436.2.

Despite seeing a fall in new cases, Nottingham University Hospital Trust admitted more than 250 Covid-19 patients last week.

The only hospital trust in England that had more admissions was in Liverpool.

Initially only south Nottinghamshire was due to move into tier three, but the government expanded the area to the whole of the county earlier this week.

Mr Gribbin added: "Nottinghamshire's got rates which are rising really quickly, that's been driving a lot of the disruption we've been seeing in our hospitals."

Across all of the hospitals trusts that serve Nottinghamshire 64 people have died of Covid-19 in the seven days up to 25 October, a significant increase compared to 38 deaths the previous week.

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