The extra measures have been approved by the Secretary of State Matt Hancock following the request from Sunderland City Council, Durham County Council, Gateshead Council, Newcastle City Council, Northumberland County Council, North Tyneside Council and South Tyneside Council.
After midnight tonight (Thursday 17 September) there are new legal regulations on:
• Residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubbles in private homes and gardens
• Hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only
• Late night restriction of operating hours with hospitality venues (pubs, bars and clubs) required to close between 10pm to 5am.
Residents are advised that to help reduce rates of infection:
• Residents should not socialise with other people outside of their own households in all public venues
• Residents are advised to only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work
• Wear face coverings at all times on public transport unless exempt
• Holidays should be taken within your own household or support bubble
• Residents are advised against attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators.
The early closures at more than 400 Sunderland licensed premises are until further notice and to help reduce COVID-19 spreading and avoid a local lockdown.
Businesses who fail to comply face the loss of their premises licences. The restriction on opening hours also applies to hot food takeaways who can only offer home deliveries between 10pm and 5am.
The 10pm closure order applies across all Sunderland, County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, and North and South Tyneside.
In the two weeks since the end of August (Monday 31 August to Monday 14 September), Sunderland has seen 442 new cases. A high proportion of cases have been linked to the hospitality sector and there are a growing number of household transmissions.
Leader of Sunderland City Council and Chairman of the Sunderland Outbreak Control Board, Councillor Graeme Miller said: "The majority of our city's residents, organisations and businesses have all gone the extra mile to keep everybody safe and well. I want to put on the record a 'thank you' for that.
"The new measures are about protecting our city, our region, all residents and supporting a recovery from COVID-19. It's not about being over-eager to control or to follow the trend of other regions unnecessarily. It's a genuine, proactive effort, based on the statistics and evidence in relation to rising infection rates, including us here in Sunderland.
"Because we're a compact region geographically, and we have a lot of movement across council boundaries every day, our seven North East councils are completely together in wanting to take extra steps wherever we can, as a region, to get rising infection rates under control.
"These restrictions and new measures in Sunderland and across our region are to help prevent a lockdown."
More details are here: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)