Appeal to help keep Leeds safe when you socialise

Visitors to pubs, bars, restaurants and social gatherings in Leeds are being urged to do their bit to keep the city safe following a rise in cases of COVID-19.

Ahead of the weekend, public health officials, council leaders and partners are reminding those going out to eat and drink or to attend any social gatherings about the important part they’ll be playing in avoiding further restrictions being put in place across the city.

Earlier today (Sept 4), Leeds was added to Public Health England’s weekly watch list of areas of concern for COVID-19. The latest seven-day infection figures show Leeds as having a rate of 32.4 cases per 100,000 people and a positivity rate on testing of 3.5 per cent.

The latest data suggests that a lot of the cases are in different areas of the city, meaning they may be linked to social interaction and leisure activities.  

The spread is broad and changeable across wards and cases have also been increasingly detected in younger people aged 18-34, with some concern over activities like house parties and gatherings.

While being on the list will not mean any further restrictions on the city at this stage, it does mean increased monitoring of cases and potential additional steps in future if the city’s infection rates do not start to fall.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council and chair of the city's Outbreak Control Board, said: “We have been working tirelessly with our partners and communities, doing everything within our power to keep the spread of this virus under control and to ensure Leeds stays open.

“However, we can’t accomplish that alone and this rise in infection rates means that inevitably, our window of opportunity is shrinking by the day and the city is rapidly approaching a tipping point.

“We completely understand that these past six months have put a tremendous strain on everyone in Leeds and that being able to get out, socialise and enjoy ourselves has provided a massive lift.

“But it is absolutely crucial that if we want to continue to do that, we all do it sensibly and responsibly and follow the latest guidance which is there to keep us all safe.”

People in Leeds can play their part by following the following key advice when meeting people they don’t live with:

  • Only socialise indoors with members of up to two households ‒ this includes when dining out or going to the pub.
  • Socialise outdoors in a group of up to six people from different households or up to two households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household).
  • Don’t hold or attend celebrations (such as parties) where it is difficult to maintain social distancing and avoid close social interaction.
  • Only stay overnight with your household (including your support bubble) and one other household.
  • Limit social interaction with anyone outside the group you are attending a place with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship
  • Try to limit the number of people you see, especially over short periods of time.

Victoria Eaton, Leeds City Council’s director of Public Health said: “We’ve seen a tremendous amount of collective determination from people in Leeds to keep their city and each other safe through this crisis.

“Now it’s more important than ever that we all dig deep and do what we can to reverse this upward trend in our infection rates and curtail the spread of the virus.”

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