‘Hoping we’ll be in Tier 1 – but this isn’t the end of the struggle’: MP on Covid-19 winter plan
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has said he hopes Suffolk will be kept in Tier 1 in England’s upcoming coronavirus winter plan – but has warned: “This isn’t the end of the struggle.”
Prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday that the country would exit national lockdown on December 2.
Regions will revert back to a three-tier system, with restrictions becoming more severe in areas where cases are the highest.
Suffolk has remained below the England weekly infection rate of 225.7 cases per 100,000 people in the week up to November 19.
In the same time period, Ipswich weekly infection rate was 128 cases per 100,000.
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However, that had risen from 88.4 cases per 100,000 people the week before, while the England-wide average dropped. Ipswich was the only district or borough to record a rise on the rate of the previous week.
Based on the lower infection levels in Suffolk, Mr Hunt said: “I’m hoping we’ll be in Tier 1.”
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The “medium alert” Tier 1 level allows people to meet in groups of up to six indoors and outdoors, with non-essential shops, bars and restaurants allowed to open.
But in the “high alert” Tier 2, pubs and bars must close unless they are operating as restaurants and can only serve alcoholic drinks with substantive meals.
That has led some, like Nick Mackenzie – chief executive of Bury St Edmunds-based Greene King – to warn the industry faces a “crushing blow” with “increased restrictions that will make pubs across the country unviable through the most important month of the year”.
Mr Hunt said it would be more challenging for hospitality businesses in Tier 2 and said: “If we get close to Tier 2, that will be a concern and I will be looking for confirmation from the government that there’s added financial support for the hospitality sector.”
And while he said the end of the national lockdown would be “good news for retail, essential and non-essential”, as well as sporting events and church services, Mr Hunt added: “The prime minister said this isn’t the end of the struggle.
“We have still got a difficult few months ahead.
“Whilst welcoming the end of the national lockdown, we have still got a role to play to suppress the virus and make sure we can get to the spring all in one piece.”