NO new COVID-19 restrictions are to be placed on Warrington as part of the new national alert system.
Although Warrington has been confirmed as being a Tier 2 “high risk” area in the new national three-level coronavirus alert system, no new restrictions are currently planned for the town.
The government has confirmed that Warrington’s current restrictions will remain the same – in line with the new three-tier model, which defines the town as being a ‘high risk’ location.
It had been feared that Warrington would be placed in Tier 3 and face further lockdown restrictions following a recent spike in new cases but ongoing talks between Warrington South MP Andy Carter and Public Health leaders with the Government over the weekend have helped retain the existing rules and advice for the town.
Mr Carter said: “I’ve spent the weekend engaging with Department of Health and have spoken to the Council CEO on numerous occasions so that Warrington isn’t simply included within the wider Merseyside region where the demographics are different and rate of infection is much higher.
“We are however at a tipping point, the virus is spreading and with an infection rate of 332/100,000 for Warrington, we need to keep these measures constantly under review and I urge that everyone play their part to try and keep this virus under control.
“Under tier two – the higher alert level – household mixing in homes is not permitted however hospitality can remain open. Keeping schools open and allowing businesses to continue to operate in a safe way remains critical and I’ve asked the Prime Minister to ensure the right level of economic support is in place for both individuals, business and the local council.”
The current national restrictions are:
•Use of public transport for essential purposes only
•Allow only 15 people to attend weddings, civil ceremonies and receptions
•Face coverings must be worn in hospitality settings when not sat at your table, and in taxis (unless exempt)
•Hospitality for food and drink must be table service only
•Late night restriction of operating hours, with hospitality, leisure and entertainment venues required to close between 10pm and 5am
•Workers who can work from home, should do so
•People are advised against spectating at amateur/semi-professional sports
The additional measures currently in place across Warrington are that, unless you’ve formed a household support bubble, you cannot:
•host people you do not live within your home or garden
•meet people you do not live within their home or garden, whether inside or outside the affected local areas
•meet with people who you do not live within indoor settings, whether inside or outside of the affected local areas (COVID-secure schools and workplaces do not apply).
Leader of the Council, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “The government announcement today is a fair reflection of the current situation in Warrington. We need to be doing all we can as a town to bring the number of cases of coronavirus down – whilst ensuring we protect as many jobs as possible – so I’m pleased that the government has listened to our arguments as a council and positioned us in the second tier.
“This is the right decision for Warrington. It gives us a fighting chance of avoiding being put into the ‘very high risk’ tier which, make no mistake, could be a real blow to our local businesses and jobs, particularly in the hospitality sector.
“We pushed hard for the current restrictions to remain in place and not to be escalated. Once again, we all need to pull together and do our bit, for ourselves and for our loved ones, to turn around the trend of increasing coronavirus cases in town. Put simply, if our case numbers don’t come down, there’s the very real chance of our hospitality and leisure sectors closing in line with the measures for ‘very high risk’ areas.
“As always, we will keep the situation under review with our health colleagues, looking at the latest data and working with our partners to ensure that the right decisions for Warrington are being made.
“In the meantime, please keep doing all you can. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, keep your distance from others, wear a cloth face covering when you need to and don’t mix with other households. Importantly, if you have any symptoms of coronavirus, however mild, self-isolate immediately and book a test.”
For the latest coronavirus guidance for Warrington, visit warrington.gov.uk/coronavirus
In response to the news that Warrington will placed into ‘Tier 2’ of the Coronavirus restriction tiers, Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols said: “With the decision to place Warrington into ‘Tier 2’ rather than ‘Tier 3’ I am pleased that we will not have to deal with the greater restrictions seen in Liverpool City Region. Throughout this process, the Government has tried to treat Warrington as a part of the Liverpool City Region, showing a complete disrespect to our town’s history, local democracy and institutions.
“In order to ensure that Warrington does not have to go into Tier 3 people must of course continue to follow the guidance on social distancing, hand washing and mask-wearing. In turn, the Government must step up itself, continuing to increase the provision of testing in Warrington, devolving Track and Trace locally and providing the meaningful financial resources that allows people self-isolate.
“It is also important that the Government has a comprehensive plan to protect the economies of boroughs in Tier 2. I will continue to fight for the financial support needed to keep struggling businesses afloat and to protect local jobs. Because the Chancellor’s new job support scheme is only in place for ’Tier 3’, Warrington will lose out, despite the obvious difficulties for businesses to operate given the ban on household mixing. If being bartender is a viable job in Liverpool, then it is viable in Warrington too.
“In addition, the people of Warrington deserve to see an exit plan from the Government, setting clear criteria for when the existing restrictions can be ended. We also still need to see the scientific basis behind restrictions like the 10pm curfew.
“As people in Warrington play our part the Government must play its part too.”
For the latest information for Warrington visit https://www.warrington.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-warrington