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Monday, May 27, 2024

Tougher Covid-19 tier restrictions returns across England

55 million of us are now back under the tougher tiered system.

The tiers came back into effect at midnight on 2 December after the national lockdown ended.

In the strictest two tiers people, cannot mix indoors with those in other households.

Non-essential shops and other businesses, including personal care services such as hairdressers and beauty salons, can now reopen for the first time in four weeks.

However, Pubs and restaurants must remain closed unless for takeaways across Bradford and Kirklees.

Entertainment venues will also remain closed.

In tier 3 they cannot interact with anyone outside their households or support bubble.

15 guests will be allowed across all sectors for weddings, civil partnerships, receptions, and wakes. Tier 3 will be banned from holding a wedding reception.

30 guests will be allowed across all settings for funerals.

Exercise tier 3 cannot take place indoors if it involves people from different households.

Sport or live events cannot restart in tier 3 but if West Yorkshire gets its R rate under control and moved into tier 2, audiences will be allowed.

The measures were supported by 291 votes to 78 in a vote in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

55 Tory MPs voted against the government plan and a further 16 Conservatives abstained.

Opening the debate in the Commons on Tuesday, the Prime Minister urged MPs to support his proposals by offering an additional £40m for some pubs in tiers two and three.

He said he appreciated the feeling of injustice in some areas and pledged to look in granular detail at the human geography of the virus when the tiers are reviewed.

Although the tiered restrictions offer more freedoms after a four-week lockdown, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned it is too soon to take our foot off the pedal.

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The new tougher tier system coming into force on 2 December

“The next few weeks and months are the busiest time of year for our NHS, so it’s vital we all continue to follow new local restrictions, wash our hands, wear a face covering and observe social distancing,”

Reacting to the announcement Bradford Council Leader Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe said: “Our infection rates are going down so I welcome the opportunity of a regular review of these arrangements so that we can exit as soon as possible.

The restrictions must come with more government funding to support the many local businesses and their supply chains which have been battling restrictions for months now. The risk is, even with furlough, that many businesses will simply fold and cut their losses.  This is particularly true of businesses in the supply chain of the leisure and hospitality sector who have not been eligible for business grants but whose customer base has been closed or restricted for long periods.

“The good news is that non-essential retail can re-open at the busiest time of the year. But Bradford and West Yorkshire are going to need significant investment going forward to support businesses and jobs.  I’m already making the case to the Government.

Reacting to the announcement Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, said: “We’ll follow the restrictions, as we always do, and will continue to do everything we can to prevent the spread of the virus in our communities. This will be supported by our ongoing work directly in communities, a local test and trace system which we’ll launch soon and we have cross-party support in Kirklees for mass COVID-19 testing to be rolled out.

I’m pleased non-essential retailers can reopen from 2 December, especially at such a crucial time of year. I’d like to urge everyone to shop safe and shop local this Christmas and support our businesses who need us now more than ever.

“There is something we cannot ignore, and that’s how devastating today’s announcement is for our hospitality sector. Pubs, bars, restaurants, and others who cannot open under Tier 3 restrictions have gone above and beyond to keep their customers safe throughout this pandemic. I’m urging the Government to think more creatively about these restrictions and about how it can support the sector and the supply chain that relies on it so they are not laying more misery on these businesses.”

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