PEOPLE from different households in the Bradford district – as well as in Greater Manchester, parts of east Lancashire and other areas of West Yorkshire – have been banned from meeting each other inside their homes or in gardens following a spike in virus cases.

The new rules also ban members of two different households from mixing in pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues, but these businesses will remain open for those visiting individually or from the same household.

The Government said it will give police forces and councils powers to enforce the new rules - adding that some exemptions will be put in place, including for the vulnerable.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said "households gathering and not abiding by the social-distancing rules" was a reason for the stricter rules, announced late yesterday evening, and that the move was in order to "keep the country safe".

He said: "We take this action with a heavy heart but unfortunately it's necessary because we've seen that households meeting up and a lack of social distancing is one of the causes of this rising rate of coronavirus and we'll do whatever is necessary to keep the country safe."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, while welcoming the measures, criticised the Government's handling of communicating the change to the public.

In a tweet, he said: "No one would argue with putting in place local action to reduce the transmission of coronavirus.

"But announcing measures affecting potentially millions of people late at night on Twitter is a new low for the government's communications during this crisis."

Mr Hancock added: "We're constantly vigilant and we've been looking at the data, and unfortunately we've seen across parts of northern England an increase in the number of cases of coronavirus.

"So I held a meeting of the Government's Gold Committee and working with local leaders, we've decided that we need to take action across Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire.

"So, from midnight tonight (Friday), we are banning households meeting up indoors."

Parts of West Yorkshire including Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees are impacted.

Bradford Council is urging people to heed the additional measures, full details of which can be found at

It says residents in the district must not:

• meet people you do not live with inside a private home or garden, except where you have formed a support bubble (or for other limited exemptions to be specified in law).

• visit someone else’s home or garden even if they live outside of the affected areas.

• socialise with people you do not live with in other indoor public venues – such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions. You may attend these venues with people you live with (or are in a support bubble with), but should avoid interaction with others. If you run such a business, you should take steps to ensure people do not interact with people they do not live with, in line with Covid-19 Secure guidance.

In addition, the following premises in the district must remain closed by law:

• indoor gyms • indoor fitness and dance studios • indoor sports courts and facilities • indoor swimming pools, including indoor facilities at water parks The advice to people who are shielding is to stay at home and continue to utilise support options already in place.

Bradford Council is urging everyone across the district to follow its revised Covid Code:

• KEEP YOUR DISTANCE: Keep at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from anyone you don’t live with.

• FACE COVERINGS: Always wear a face covering when in a shop, on public transport and when you can’t follow the 2 metre rule • HYGIENE IS KEY: Wash your hands with soap and warm water often.

• NO HANDSHAKE, NO HUGS, HANDS OFF: Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

• THINK OF OTHERS: Cough or sneeze into your elbow.

• GET TESTED: If you have a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss/change in your sense of taste or smell.

• STAY SAFE: Do not meet people you do not live with inside a private home or garden, except where you have formed a support bubble.

• DO NOT VISIT someone else’s home or garden even if they live outside of the district.

• STAY INDOORS: Isolate at home for 10 days if you have symptoms and 14 days if you live with someone who has symptoms.

• NO EVENTS: Do not socialise with people you do not live with in other indoor public venues.

• DON’T SPIT: if you are infected, spitting will increase the chance of the virus and other germs spreading.

• TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF: GPs, hospitals and other services are #StillHereToHelp.

Council leader, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, said: "Restricting businesses and stopping people gathering together is not something anyone wants to see happen but like many areas in the north of England, we’re at a critical moment in our district’s response to Covid-19. We hope that by taking these precautions we can prevent the introduction of much tougher lockdown measures.

"I want to thank the people of the Bradford district for their patience and forbearance. We’re really proud of the way so many people in our district are working together to beat the virus. We know that these measures will be massively inconvenient and disruptive for everyone, and especially distressing for people celebrating Eid, but we need everyone to work together so we can get the infection rates down and these measures lifted as soon as possible. We urge everyone to follow the Covid Code so they can keep themselves and their families safe and well.”