North East lockdown LIVE: New restrictions for Hartlepool and Middlesbrough

Full question and answer from tonight’s briefing

ChronicleLive’s political reporter Jonathan Walker attended today’s virtual press briefing to ask Mr Johnson about the new measures.

Here is exactly what we asked and how the Prime Minister responded.

JW: Under the restrictions that are in place in the North East, a person can’t legally visit their parents in the back garden but they can legally sit with five mates in the pub beer garden – although advised not to. Can you try to explain the logic behind these rules?

JW: What help is available to businesses who are struggling to understand and enforce these rules in the North East?

JW: Have you considered that just as complex national rules had to be replaced with something simpler in the rule of six, there may be a case of doing something similar in the local lockdowns?

The Prime Minister said: “What we’re trying to do here is to fight it nationally with a package of measures that I think everybody is familiar with – hands, face, space, the rule of six, the reduction in hospitality and so forth.

“Locally, in the North East, what we’re also doing is restricting contact. You can only meet in your own household group inside, whether at home or in a hospitality setting. That’s the rule. You’re also encouraged not to socialise outdoors.

“Of course people will pick up on various discrepancies, complications, complexities that have arisen as a result of this local approach.

“The best thing I can tell everybody in the North East or in Merseyside, Midlands, everywhere where there are local restrictions, is to get on the websites and look at precisely what you need to do.

“So much of this is about common sense and about following the basics of the guidance. Just restricting the possibility of transmission from yourself to somebody else or somebody else to you.

“I think people do instinctively understand how to do that. The more we do that the more efficiently we do that the better chance we all have of getting this virus down.”

Chronicle Live – Sunderland