Government ministers have announced a new local lockdown across the North East coming into force from midnight tonight, following a recent surge in coronavirus cases. The new measures affect seven local areas from Northumberland to County Durham.
These restrictions will drastically affect life for the approximately 40 000 students expected back in the city in coming weeks. So, what exactly are the new rules and how will they affect students?
Here are seven areas of student life you need to know about.
- Activities banned by law:
- Socialising indoors or outdoors with people outside your household or support bubble in private homes or gardens.
- Hospitality services for food and drink will be restricted to table service only.
- There will be a 10pm curfew on pubs, leisure and entertainment venues.
2. Consequences for breaking the rules
Over-18-year-olds will be fined £100 for their first offence, lowered to £50 if paid within two weeks. This fine will be doubled for each recurring offence up to £3 200.
Our University campus will remain open. Vice Chancellor Chris Day told BBC News tonight that it was good the new measures are being enforced before students return, to maximise time for education.
4. Freshers Week
Also speaking to BBC News, Athletic Union Officer Benthe Tanghe said Freshers Week will be very different this year. With a mixture of virtual and face-to-face events planned over four weeks instead of one, watch the space for how the new measures will change this.
Pubs and leisure venues will remain open, but only for table service. We are advised not to socialise in public with people outside our household or support bubble.
We are advised to avoid all but essential travel on public transport and to avoid sharing cars with those outside our household or support bubble. Newcastle airport and train stations remain open, and people are allowed to travel to and from them.
7. Playing sport
Indoor and outdoor sports with people outside our household or support bubble is only permitted if organised by a sports club. The club must follow official guidance by a sports governing body.
These are hard times for Newcastle University students, but Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes said that unless we act now, we will see ourselves in the really challenging position that we were in in March and April.
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Last modified: 7th October 2020