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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Stay Safe from Coronavirus This Winter

Wednesday, 02 December 2020

Now that we have come to the end of the second national lockdown, Tameside (along with the rest of Greater Manchester) has been placed in the highest tier of local coronavirus restrictions.
 

The complete list of rules can be found here, but the key points include; you must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble. Hospitality settings such as bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants will remain closed, although they will be allowed to continue sales through takeaways, click-and-collect- drive-through or delivery services. The guidance also encourages people to avoid travelling to other parts of the country unless absolutely necessary, and that everyone who can work from home should do so.

The current decisions on tiers will be reviewed every two weeks, which means that the earliest Tameside and Greater Manchester will be able to move out of Tier 3 restrictions is 16 December. Our infection rate as of 25 November was 249.4 cases per 100,000, a significant fall of 37% from our rate last week. A number of areas in Greater Manchester, such as Stockport and Trafford, are also below the England average for infection rates. I therefore agree with the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham that we have a very strong case to move out of Tier 3 at the earliest opportunity, and we will be lobbying the government to make the right decision. I hope they listen to us with more consideration and respect than they did the last time we stood up for our city region.   

 

From 23 – 27 December there will also be further guidance introduced to allow families from across the UK to meet over Christmas. This will allow people from up to three separate households to come together as a “bubble” that can meet indoors and stay overnight. You can only be in one bubble and the people in this bubble cannot be changed, but you are allowed to travel between different parts of the UK to meet up with each other. Tameside has had to follow some of the tightest restrictions for a longer period than most, and I know that being able to see some family for Christmas will be so important to many people who have suffered from loneliness and isolation over the past few months. That being said, I must remind people that the coronavirus pandemic is still with us, and to continue acting sensibly and taking the necessary precautions to have an enjoyable and safe Christmas.

My views on tiered lockdown measures remain unchanged. I still believe that, instead of a heavy-handed, top-down approach, the government should work closely with councils and Directors of Public Health to build a response based on sound local knowledge. I also continue to have significant concerns about the support available for individuals and businesses, many of whom have suffered terribly through the pandemic and are unfortunately likely to face more hardship before this is over. The current situation sees Tier 3 areas receive the same support as those in Tiers 1 and 2, and the £1.1 billion of Additional Restrictions Grant funding is based on a formula of £20 per head of population rather than the number of affected firms in an area – a decision which leaves urban areas such as Greater Manchester where businesses are densely packed together significantly worse off. We have also yet to hear the details about what the announced rollout of mass testing will look like in practice, and whether it will give areas such as Tameside a roadmap out of lockdown entirely.

With the announcement of progress being made on a number of vaccines, I hope that we may be finally reaching the beginning of the end of this terrible pandemic. However, even the best possible scenario shows that we will be living with the coronavirus for many months to come. Now more than ever, we need to do what we must to protect ourselves and others, and we need the right support from the government to help make it happen.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


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