PENDLE - including Barnoldswick and Earby, will move into tier three, or very high - the top level of coronavirus restrictions in England - from Saturday.

It means tighter restrictions will be put in place in Pendle and across the whole of Lancashire where infection rates are among the highest in the country and are continuing to rise rapidly.

In the UK, the Office for National Statistics estimates that one in every 240 people had the virus in the week from September 25 with the number of people infected doubling every seven to 12 days.

In Lancashire, rates are highest for those aged 16 to 29 years old at 552 per 100,000 people.

Councillor Mohammed Iqbal MBE, leader of Pendle Council, said: “It is with a very heavy heart that we move into tier three local Covid alert level: very high.”

From Saturday:

* People are not allowed to meet socially with anyone they do not live with in any indoor setting or private garden unless they are part of your support bubble

* People are not allowed to meet socially with anyone they do not live with at most outdoor hospitality venues such as pub gardens and outdoor ticketed events, unless they are part of your support bubble

* People can meet in parks, outdoor sports venues, beaches, countryside or forests, as long as they are not in a group of more than six

* Pubs and bars must close unless they are serving substantial meals and alcohol can only be served as part of a meal

* People are being advised not to travel into or out of tier three areas, other than for work, education, or because of caring responsibilities or to travel through as part of a longer journey

* People from the local Covid alert level: very high tier three areas are being asked to avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK and people from outside tier three areas are being asked to avoid staying overnight in very high alert areas.

From Monday (October 19), in addition:

* All licensed clubs, casinos, bingo halls, bookmakers, betting shops, adult gaming centres and soft play areas must close

* Car boot sales will be prohibited

* Universities will have to move to distance learning where possible.

Cllr Iqbal added:“We do not think closing pubs and bars is the right approach to bring down the level of Covid-19 in Pendle, although we are pleased that those serving substantial meals such as lunch or an evening meal, can remain open.

“I know how hard businesses across Pendle have worked to make sure their businesses are safe places to visit and for the Government to impose closures is simply wrong.

“We’re doing everything we can to protect them and our community to ensure those in financial hardship get the help they need."

He added: “Pendle and other Lancashire authorities have been negotiating with the Government and have fought for a support package for Lancashire which is not available in other areas in the country.

“In my view, the package the Government has agreed is not enough, but it will offer a measure of support to businesses and local people.

“We must all pull together and do everything we can to beat the virus.”

Barnoldswick councillor David Whipp, deputy leader of Pendle Council, added: “The Government moving us up into the very high alert level is a disappointing blow for Pendle residents and businesses.

“We know more needs to be done to curb the infection rate and it’s a fine balance between keeping the economy going and imposing unwelcome extra restrictions.

“Please continue to be as cautious and careful as you can. We owe it to each other.

He added: “Together, we can raise defences against the virus with the simple steps in our everyday lives.

“Please remember to wash your hands, cover your face and keep a safe distance from anyone you don’t live with,” he said.

Other aspects of life can continue in Pendle and the rest of Lancashire:

* Schools will remain open

* Places of worship remain open but household mixing is not allowed

* Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of those attending but wedding receptions are not allowed

* Exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors

* Gyms can remain open.

Information on the new restrictions Pendle people must follow, how to get tested and the support available is on Pendle Council’s website: