The mayor of Manchester has called on the government to remove England’s second city from tier three restrictions, claiming prolonging the tough measures would sound the death knell for hospitality businesses.
Speaking on Wednesday, Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, told the BBC’s ‘Today’ programme that he thought there was a “clear case” for his region to move into a less restrictive tier two.
The mayor’s comments come as the government reviews its tier system on Wednesday, which has already seen London shift from tier two to tier three, a move that has forced pubs, bars, and restaurants across the capital to close.
“This review is probably not going to be repeated for another month, so whatever decisions are made today will be in place for a month,” Burnham said.
“And if we get to mid-January with Greater Manchester still in tier three, there’ll be plenty of pubs and restaurants that will never reopen.”
Manchester has been subjected to tier three restrictions since October, with a month-long interlude for an even tougher national lockdown.
As a result, pubs, bars, and restaurants across the region have been closed for nearly two months, with the short-lived exception that businesses could remain open if they served a substantial meal.
“We have seen steady decreases across all of our boroughs pretty much ever since the last tiering decision, to the point where we are now essentially below the England average across the 10 boroughs – we are at 150 cases on average per 100,000 people, England averages 180,” Burnham told ‘Today’.
After the decision to move London and part of the south east into tier three, 60 percent of England’s population now lives under the toughest restrictions.
A further review later on Wednesday will likely see this figure change, with areas such as Bristol and North Somerset expected to move from tier three to tier two.
The tier system will be scrapped for five days across the Christmas period, a decision which has been branded “a terrible idea” by healthcare experts.