The restrictions have been imposed because Oxford has moved to 'high alert' due to rising number of cases of coronavirus. It is understood an inquiry is underway to ascertain a level of under-reporting of cases because Oxford University was running its own testing programme for students.
Earlier this week official figures showed that Banbury had the most Covid-19 positive cases in the county but unconfirmed reports say Oxford could have as many as 200 more cases than thought, because of the anomaly.
Thames Valley Police Banbury tweeted this morning: "Oxford will be moving to Tier 2 (high alert) for coronavirus. This means (in Oxford) you must not meet socially indoors with anyone you don’t live with – unless they’re in your support bubble. The change will take effect from Saturday morning."
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Oxford City Council has issued the following information: "We know the virus is largely transmitted through inter-household mixing. By moving into Tier 2, which prevents different households from mixing indoors, we are taking preventative measures to stop the situation escalating further and to protect our most vulnerable residents."
The city council offered the following guide to those living in the city or visiting.
- You must not meet socially with anyone you don’t live with in an indoor setting, unless they are in your support bubble. This includes in your home or inside a pub or restaurant.
- Overnight stays are only allowed if they are with your own household or support bubble.
- You can meet people outdoors, including in a garden, but the rule of six still applies. Meeting in groups larger than six is against the law.
- If you live in a high alert level area you also cannot meet indoors with people outside of the area, unless exceptions apply.
- Work from home if you can.
- Aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible for access to work or an education setting. If you need to use public transport, do so on off-peak times.
- Pubs, restaurants, and other hospitality venues remain open but will only offer table service. You must only go to these venues with those in your household or support bubble and you must wear a face covering at all times, except when you’re sitting down to eat or drink. Staff will also wear face coverings during their shift.
- Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues will close at 10pm. Restaurants will be allowed to carry on doing deliveries after 10pm.
- Exercise classes can continue outdoors but indoor classes are only permitted if it’s possible to avoid mixing with people outside your household or support bubble. Exercise classes for young people or people with disabilities are allowed.
- Schools, colleges, universities and places of worship remain open
- Professional childcare arrangements can continue and informal childcare arrangements for under 14s can continue in private homes. These must be done by creating a childcare bubble with one other household. If you provide childcare for more than one family, your household must now decide on just one family to support.
- Friends or family who do not live with you and are not part of a support or childcare bubble must not visit your home to help with childcare. Childcare bubbles are to be used to provide childcare only, and not for the purpose of social mixing between households.
- The maximum number of people who can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions is 15 people. Funerals can still allow a maximum of 30 people.
- Face coverings are compulsory in many settings. This includes on public transport for the entire journey, in taxis and public hire vehicles, in shops, banks, cinemas, galleries, and places of worship. You should also wear a face covering when you cannot keep a safe distance from others. Read more on face covering guidance.
- Police can issue fines to those who refuse to comply with the rules such as failing to wear a face covering if you do not have an exemption, breaking the rule of six, holding an illegal gathering of over 30 people, or breaking self-isolation rules. Fines will also apply to business breaking COVID-19 rules, and the City Council has enforcement powers on businesses.
- If you have been the victim of crime, or are feeling threatened, controlled or abused at home, help is available. You can still make any journeys you need to keep you and your family safe, and you can meet with people outside your bubble to get help.