Millions of people living under the highest level of coronavirus restrictions in England are nervously waiting to see if they will be able to go to the pub or have a meal before Christmas before an announcement on the government prioritization system on Thursday morning.
Although political leaders have publicly advocated for their cities to be moved out of Tier 3 so their hospitality businesses can reopen, few really hope they will be relaxed before Christmas – especially after London has moved to the top tier. . level earlier this week.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to announce the result of his review of the tier system on Thursday morning, with reports suggesting the number of people living under the tightest restrictions may rise rather than decline.
More than 23 million people in the north of England, the Midlands, Bristol and Kent moved directly from the second lockdown to Level 3, and were joined by 11 million more from London and parts of the southeast Tuesday. Infections have declined significantly in most of the affected areas, although rates remain high in some places and have leveled off elsewhere.
Andy Street, the Conservative mayor of the West Midlands, was one of many regional leaders to advocate for their region down one level – and for businesses to be paid more if there is no change.
The tweeted: “It is clear that parts of the West Mids are leaving Q3 when the government makes its decision. But if they want to be cautious and keep the other parts in T3, then more money is needed. A monthly grant of £ 3,000 cannot support a closed hotel business. ”
In Tory-controlled Derbyshire, the head of the council, Barry Lewis, has also pleaded for the county to upgrade to Level 2.
He said he wrote to Christopher Pincher, the minister responsible for talks with the East Midlands. If Derbyshire remains at level 3, it will demand ‘more support for hospitality and tourism’, warning that important parts of Derbyshire’s heritage and shopping streets could ‘disappear for good’.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said he feared the government would “overcompensate” in its review of levels after a “mistake” was made in allowing too much mixing at Christmas.
He said there is a “clear case” for parts of Greater Manchester to move from Level 3 restrictions to Level 2 restrictions, using criteria that initially kept London out of Level 3.
Reiterating his call for ‘more support’ for cities to help them ‘come back strong in the New Year’, he told BBC Breakfast: ‘My appeal to the government is: please watch the evidence, please us give the same consideration. which was given in London in particular.
Asked on the BBC’s Today show whether the government was likely to lower restrictions anywhere in England, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The point is, the coronavirus is on the rise. We are seeing an increase in infections. Our goal is to protect the public and support public health. ”