The whole of the North West is now in the highest category for Covid-19 restrictions, to try and bring down the number of Coronavirus cases.
A week ago (Weds 14th) Liverpool City Region moved into Tier 3.
Two days later (Fri 16th) Lancashire moved into this category and today (Weds 20th) it was announced that Greater Manchester will also be joining the Tier 3 category.
Why have Tier 3 restrictions been introduced in Liverpool City Region?
The Government took the decision to impose Tier 3 Covid-19 restriction on Liverpool City Region.
This was because at that time we had more Covid-19 cases than other areas of the North West, including Lancashire and Greater Manchester.
We had no choice.
Not only did we have more cases of Covid-19 than other areas, we also had higher numbers of people affected who were over 60 years of age.
That group is more likely to end up seriously ill and in need of urgent hospital care.
We knew that further restrictions were needed to stop the spread of Covid-19 in our communities and to prevent our hospitals being overwhelmed.
Government drew up a list with the aim of reducing the amount of interaction people have with each other, reducing the potential for transmission between people.
We have always been clear that we were given no choice about the specific package of restrictions that would be applied to our region.
We have continued to demand the scientific evidence to support these measures.
What about the impact on jobs and businesses?
We knew that Tier 3 restrictions – without a financial compensation package – would strike a hammer blow to our economy, in particular to our vital hospitality and leisure sector, which supports over 50,000 jobs across our region.
Our political leaders negotiated with Government for a package of economic support to help all the affected workers and businesses.
What is the Tier 3 financial deal secured for Liverpool City Region?
As a direct result of our pressure on the Government, Liverpool City Region secured a £44 million support package.
This works out at £28 per head of population for all 1.6 million residents.
£30 million is for Covid-19 business support and £14m to help support the local Test, Trace and Isolate system and enforcement efforts.
By way of comparison, Lancashire is receiving £42 million, which also works out at £28 per head for their 1.4 million population.
Greater Manchester’s compensation package has – at time of writing – not yet been agreed.
Is the financial package good enough?
Here in the Liverpool City Region we are continuing to make the case for a national 80 per cent furlough scheme and business support package in line with what was made available for the full lockdown.
If it was right then, it’s right now.
Why did you not stop gym closures?
The Tier 3 restrictions were imposed on us, and it was made clear it was non-negotiable.
We have written to the Prime Minster to demand one of three options:
· An immediate review of gym and leisure centre closures and the scientific evidence explaining why they have been closed
· Legislation change so that our gyms can re-open, unless the scientific evidence proves this is not wise
· The local powers to re-open the gyms ourselves in three weeks, when the restrictions are reviewed
We simply will not accept our region being treated differently to other Tier 3 areas, without robust scientific evidence.
These inconsistencies in restrictions between areas, within the same tier, risk undermining the new system from the beginning.
How quickly will we get out of Tier 3?
We won’t get out of Tier 3 until we can bring the virus under control. We must lower the rate of infection – wash our hands, wear a face covering in confined spaces and socially distance.
We will work with Government to identify what the clear exit strategy for Tier 3 looks like. Until then, we must all work together.
Follow the rules – if you have symptoms (a cough, fever or lose your sense of taste or smell), get a test and self-isolate. The quicker we do this, the quicker we can get back to normal.