North East local COVID-19 restrictions

Additional restrictions – updated 30 September 2020

From Friday 18 September 2020, Newcastle, County Durham, Gateshead, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland became areas of national intervention. Some of the new local restrictions introduced have been brought into law from 00:01 on Wednesday 30 September.

These changes are in addition to the nationwide six person limit on social gatherings that came into force on Monday 14 September 2020. The ‘rule of six’ remains in place across the country and sits alongside these additional restrictions in the local area. Measures to protect people who are shielding are being developed for implementation in the affected areas.

We understand this is a worrying time for many and that you may have lots of questions on a variety of different topics. You’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions below. Information on this page will be updated as changes are introduced.

What are the new measures?

  • From 30 September 2020, it will be against the law for residents in the North East LEP area (Newcastle, County Durham, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland, Northumberland) to mix with people outside their household or bubble in indoor settings – including pubs and restaurants. Residents must also not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private gardens, and should avoid socialising with other households outside.
  • Hospitality venues serving food and drink are restricted to table service only
  • Late night restriction of operating hours will be introduced, with leisure and entertainment venues required to close between 10pm to 5am.

What areas are covered?

The whole of Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, Gateshead, County Durham, Sunderland and South Tyneside.

Why have the measures been introduced?

These measures will help to address the significant rise in coronavirus cases in the region in recent weeks. There is an increased risk of transmission the more people gather together. Data shows an increased rate of transmission in homes, hospitality venues and through grassroot sports. Local authorities are doing everything they can to protect our most vulnerable, keep businesses open, and children in school.

Why are North Tyneside, Northumberland and Durham subject to these measures when they’re not on the government’s ‘watchlist’?

Infection rates have risen significantly in all areas, with increased numbers of outbreaks leading to more community transmission across the region. While rates of infections are different, all local authorities in the area are seeing significant rises in positive cases. People also travel frequently between the different areas for work and leisure, so it makes sense for the region to come together to contain this latest increase in infections.

How long will it last?

The measures were introduced from 00:01 hours on Friday 18 September, and the restrictions on residents mixing with people outside their household or bubble in indoor settings – including pubs and restaurants – was brought into law from 00:01 Wednesday 30 September. The new measures will be monitored closely and reviewed on a weekly basis. The next steps will depend on the impact the measures have.

What are the changes for the hospitality venues?

The following must close from 10pm to 5am:

  • Pubs
  • Bars and restaurants (including hotel dining rooms and members’ clubs)
  • Cafes including workplace canteens (but not including cafes or canteens at hospitals, care homes, prisons, establishments intended for the use of naval, military or air force purposes and for providing food or drink to the homeless)
  • Social clubs
  • Cinemas
  • Theatres
  • Casinos
  • Bingo halls and concert halls
  • Amusement arcades or other indoor leisure centres or facilities
  • Static/fixed funfairs (indoors or outdoors), theme parks, and adventure parks and activities

During opening hours (5am to 10pm), there should be table service only, including ordering drinks and food.  As elsewhere in the country, venues must also take details of customers for NHS Test and Trace from September 18.

Between 10pm and 5am each day, hot food takeaways can only operate a delivery service.

Travelling funfairs are also prohibited.

How do the new measures impact workplaces?

COVID-secure workplaces are not affected by the new law banning inter-household mixing in indoor settings. People living inside and outside of the affected areas can continue to travel in and out for work. However, to help contain the virus, office workers who can work effectively from home are being advised to do so over the winter.

What support is available for those impacted by the new law and local restrictions?

A funding package is being agreed with councils to support the measures and tackle the rising infection rate, with further details to be confirmed.

What are the household changes?

You must not meet people who do not live with you or are not part of your support bubble, either indoors or outdoors, unless for the specific purposes mentioned below. As of 30 September it is against the law to mix with people outside your household or bubble in any indoor settings – including pubs and restaurants.

People should only come inside your home for specific purposes:

  • where everyone in the gathering lives together or is in the same support bubble
  • to attend a birth at the mother’s request
  • to visit a person who is dying
  • to fulfil a legal obligation
  • for work purposes (see guidance on working safely in other people’s homes), or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services
  • for the purposes of education or training
  • for the purposes of childcare provided by a registered provider
  • to provide emergency assistance
  • to enable one or more persons in the gathering to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm
  • to facilitate a house move
  • to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
  • to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children where the children do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents.

Do these measures affect childcare?

Childcare bubbles are allowed, allowing families to share caring responsibilities with another household, as long as they are consistent. This includes formal and informal childcare arrangements. 

You can continue to use early years and childcare settings, including childminders and providers offering before or after school clubs or other out-of-school settings for children. You can also continue to employ nannies, including those living outside of the region.  Children of parents who are separated can continue to move between households.

What is a support bubble?

A support bubble is a close support network between a household with only one adult in the home (known as a single-adult household) and one other household of any size. Once you’re in a support bubble, you can think of yourself as being in a single household with people from the other household. It means you can have close contact with that household as if they were members of your own household.

Once you make a support bubble, you should not change who is in your bubble. You should not have multiple bubbles.

Do these measures affect access to education?

No. Schools, colleges and universities remain open and are operating in a COVID-secure way.

Can I travel outside the area for work or school?

Yes, people living inside and outside of these areas can continue to travel for work or school. Workplaces and schools themselves should also be implementing covid-secure measures. 

Can I go to someone’s house in an area not subject to the restrictions?

No. You should not visit anyone’s home inside or outside of the restricted area (except for your support bubble).

Can I have someone in my house (or go into someone’s house) to do repairs or other work?

Official/registered tradespeople can go to other people’s homes for work purposes as long as you follow national guidance on how to work safely there.

Can I go to a hospitality venue, like a pub or restaurant, to meet with family and friends there who don’t live with me?

No. As of 00:01 on Wednesday 30 September it will be against the law for residents in the North East LEP area (Newcastle, County Durham, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland, Northumberland) to mix with people outside their household or bubble in indoor settings, including pubs and restaurants.

Why can I visit the pub but not my relative’s house?

This is because the hospitality industry has enhanced measures, such as risk assessments and test and trace, which private homes don’t have.

Can I still go on holiday?

You can still go on holiday within the UK or abroad, but you should only do this with people you live with (or have formed a support bubble with). You need to follow any rules in the area you visit and be aware of the self-isolation rules when travelling to and from certain countries. People can visit the region on holiday but must comply with the local restrictions.

What about public transport and car sharing?

Residents are advised to only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work. Face coverings must be worn unless exempt. Residents are advised not to share a car with those outside their household or support bubble, and to use public transport for essential journeys instead.

Are the airport, train stations and ports still open?

Newcastle Airport, train stations and ports remain open and members of the public are permitted to travel to and from these locations.

Can I move home?


What do I do if I see someone breaking the rules?

If an individual is breaching restrictions, you can report it to Northumbria Police. To do so, where possible, people are asked to use the reporting tool on the force’s website  Alternatively, you can call 101. The police will assess the circumstances to determine the appropriate action.

If you have concerns that a business or venue is not following the guidance, you can report it to your local council.

Businesses and venues can be fined:

  • £1,000 for the first offence
  • £2,000 for the second offence,
  • £3,000 for the third offence
  • and then £10,000 for the fourth and all subsequent offences.

The police or the local authority will be able to take action against those who break these rules, including asking people to disperse and issuing fixed penalty notices starting at £100 for those who participate in illegal gatherings.

People aged 18 or over can be fined:

  • £200 for the first offence, lowered to £100 if paid within 14 days
  • £400 for the second offence, then doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of £6,400

Where do I find information on infection rates?

You can find information on the Government’s website here.