Greater Manchester placed under Tier 2 restrictions

12 October 2020, 16:48

A coronavirus information sign in Manchester city centre
A coronavirus information sign in Manchester city centre. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

Greater Manchester will be placed under Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions to try and reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon confirmed that MPs in the region had been told their area will be placed under Tier 2 restrictions.

In the high alert level, which will apply to most of the areas already subject to restrictions, household mixing will be banned indoors. Support bubbles will still be permitted, however.

Read more: Boris Johnson confirms new three-tier lockdown system

The Labour MP tweeted: "Call with the Secretary of State (Matt Hancock) confirms Greater Manchester will be placed in Tier 2 with household restrictions on meeting indoors in any setting, but not outdoors.

"Pubs serving food remain open.

"Oldham will be removed from its enhanced lockdown measures and brought into line with Greater Manchester at last."

Mr Machon said: "Call with the Secretary of State confirms GM will be placed in Tier 2 with household restrictions on meeting indoors in any setting, but not outdoors.

"Pubs serving food remain open. Oldham will be removed from its enhanced lockdown measures and brought into line with GM *at last*."

Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham tweeted: "This is the right decision & we’re glad the Government has listened. But any restrictions will lead to loss of trade for businesses & challenges for councils.

"The PM must give all areas under restrictions full financial support. Anything less will see them levelled down."

But Labour MP for Wigan Lisa Nandy has criticised the way the Government has revealed details of the new restrictions system, saying she had not been invited to a briefing.

The shadow foreign secretary said: "Just learnt Greater Manchester will be placed into tier 2 restrictions via twitter. Apparently there was a government briefing for GM MPs but I can't provide details because I wasn't invited. I suspect this is because they don't know where Wigan is. What an absolute shambles."

Shadow business minister and Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell called on the Government to publish proof that hospitality venues such as pubs were associated with high risk of coronavirus transmissions.

She tweeted: "Government and scientists still haven't produced this evidence. The big problem for them is local leaders have all the same data (in fact better data for their areas) and they know hospitality settings make up a very small proportion of infection transmission."

Sir Keir Starmer said areas with high coronavirus rates had been treated with "contempt" by Boris Johnson's Government.

Read more: Fears of business 'devastation' ahead of fresh measures for North

The Labour leader told LBC: "The Government has been treating local communities, particularly in the Midlands, North West and North East - and their leaders - with contempt, that Whitehall knows best and we will simply tell you what's coming your way.

"It's just not good enough, you have to take people with you on this, listen to what local leaders are saying."

Sir Keir said he wanted Mr Johnson to set out how he will get the NHS Test and Trace system to operate properly and explain how areas which are subjected to local restrictions are able to get out of those measures.

"The tier system is the first part of what we need to hear from the Prime Minister, but there's a lot more than that we need to hear this afternoon," he said.

Business leaders and MPs in the north are worried about the financial implications of the new measures and are calling on Westminster to provide more support.

Night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord said: "When the UK went down into national lockdown it was 80% furlough. But now, if you live in the north and work in hospitality, you will see 67%.

"It doesn't make sense, it's not fair, and for us, and for many, many other operators, it feels reckless and like we're thrown under the bus."

He said it is "far safer, in our opinion" to go to a pub where there are restrictive measures in place, rather than people ending up at house parties.

He added: "Whoever's making these knee-jerk decisions in the Government are not dealing with operators because we saw what happened with the curfew and, by leaking that news that came out on Wednesday, what do you think happened in the city centres across the UK this weekend? On Saturday night it was like New Year's Eve."

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