AS Coronavirus restrictions continue to be tightened in the North East due to rising case numbers, many say they are still unsure of the rules.

From midnight on Wednesday September 30, the new restrictions will become law. Residents will not be able to mix with people outside their household or support bubble in indoor settings, including pubs and restaurants, and in private homes or gardens.

The new laws affect those living in County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, Sunderland, South Tyneside, and North Tyneside.

Those who flout the rules could be faced with a hefty fine, but some people are not so sure the new restrictions will be followed.

In Durham feelings are still mixed, as the students return back to university with some eager to do something for freshers week and others applying more caution.

Durham University has published guidelines on its website for students to follow and stay safe.

Durham University student, Elizabeth Beesley from Birmingham said: “I am following the university guidelines which mostly correlate to the ones set by the government.

"We don’t mix with other households, we have to wear a face makes as much as we can, and use hand sanitizer which they have in most of the university buildings.

We know about the 10pm curfew for the pubs but not being allowed to meet people in there outside our bubble can be a bit confusing. I think our university households might count as a bubble, but no one seems to know.”

Jim Griffiths, 87, from Stanley said: “They should have made it law ages ago to stop the infections. The students don’t seem to care, they are giving each other hugs and queuing outside shops with no social distancing. Obviously, emotions are high as they have not seen each other for months or some are just making friends, in that case rules go out the window.

“As for the pubs I don’t think they know how to enforce the rules, I wouldn’t really know either. You can meet a friend in the street but not in a pub, when people get kicked out of pubs they will line up at the takeaway.

"These are students towns Durham and Newcastle, have been bragging about student nightlife so you can’t expect them to just close.”

Anne Morgan from Quebec, Consett: “I run a small café in Quebec, which is a tiny village so luckily we don’t get crowds but people are still confused by the rules, are face masks on or off in cafes, who can I meet, where can I meet them? Its sad because people don’t know whether they can pop in for a coffee or not.”

Gareth Rathbone, from Sunderland said: “I am no longer interested in what the government has to say. These rules are to control people and do not really curb the spread. The virus does not care what time it is or how many people you are with.”

The new restrictions will be reviewed weekly.