Q&A: How does the three-tier lockdown system work, and how will it affect Liverpool City Region?
3 years ago
The new three-tier system of local lockdown measures for England will be announced by the Prime Minister in an effort to curb rising Covid-19 rates within Liverpool CityRegion and in other areas of the UK.
What is happening?
Different parts of the country will be split up into “medium”, “high” or “very high” local coronavirus alert areas under the new system Boris Johnson is expected to announce on Monday.
It comes after the Prime Minister held a telephone conference with Cabinet colleagues on Sunday to discuss the situation and ongoing negotiations with local leaders in the north of England. See the latest full joint statement from Steve Rotheram and Liverpool City Region leaders below.
What do the tiers mean?
The three tiers represent an advancing scale of local restrictions.
Tier one restrictions are thought to be the baseline restrictions in place across England, including a 10pm hospitality curfew and a ban on most gatherings of more than six people.
Tier two restrictions are expected to be similar to rules currently in place in Middlesbrough and parts of the North East, where indoor mixing of households is not allowed.
Two households may be allowed to meet in a private garden, as long as the rule of six and social distancing are followed.
Many details are yet to be confirmed but leaders in Liverpool said pubs and bars, betting shops, casinos, and gyms would close under the third “very high” tier restrictions, while reports also suggest people will have to avoid all non-essential travel and to not travel between areas.
According to Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen, these restrictions are expected to last for four weeks at a time.
Which areas may be placed into tier three?
It is not yet clear how an area will be placed into a tier, or to what extent regulations will be written and enforced locally.
However, Nottingham continues to have the highest rate in England, with 2,763 new cases recorded in the seven days to October 8 – the equivalent of 830.0 cases per 100,000 people. This is a huge jump from 314.5 per 100,000 in the seven days to October 1.
What about Liverpool City Region?
Knowsley has the second highest rate, which has climbed from 485.9 to 669.5, with 1,010 new cases, and Liverpool is in third place, where the rate has increased from 504.4 to 598.5, with 2,981 new cases.
However, on Sunday evening Steve Rotheram, mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said negotiations were ongoing with the Government, which intends to put Liverpool into the third tier.
He said: “We have been clear that new restrictions must come with the financial support to protect jobs and businesses.
“A deal is not a deal until it is agreed.”
What has the response been?
The Government has said it is working with local leaders to decide which areas are covered by the third tier, as well as determining the right response for the specific area.
Last night Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson tweeted:
“We have not agreed anything, we have been told this is what Government intends to do with “no buts”. I and all the Leaders of the CA and @MetroMayorSteve”
have not accepted anything we have been trying to get financial support to protect our businesses and support our Region.
Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese previously said there was a “large gulf” in discussions about new restrictions.
He told Times Radio: “We seem to have an almost impossible task of penetrating the Westminster bubble.”
Northern leaders, including Sir Richard and the mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, wrote an open letter to northern MPs on Sunday, calling for financial support for businesses affected by restrictions.
What happens next?
Many of the details of how the tiers and the specific measures in each area will be negotiated and enforced are currently unclear.
On Monday, the Prime Minister will chair a meeting of the Government’s COBR committee to finalise what will be announced in Parliament.
He will later host a press conference at Downing Street where he will be joined by Chancellor Rishi Sunak and England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty.
Downing Street said MPs would be asked to debate and vote on the three-tier measures next week.
Joint statement from the Metro Mayor, City Mayor and Leaders of the Liverpool City Region’s six local authorities
“In response to the high and rising Covid-19 cases in the City Region, we have been working collectively throughout the whole weekend to negotiate a package of support from the Government in the best interests of the people of the Liverpool City Region.
“Following further conversations with the Government today, we are writing to set out the current position between the Government and the LCR.
“Together we agree and share the grave concerns with regard to the increasing pressure on our hospitals and remain absolutely committed to working with the Government to drive down the spread of the Coronavirus and the number of Covid-19 cases.
“We have made it clear that while our priority is the health and wellbeing of our residents, the wellbeing of our economy is also a top priority. We made it clear we do not feel that the Furlough scheme announced recently is adequate and that businesses in the Region especially those in the hospitality sector and those serving it will be damaged and many will suffer long term damage or close for good. Government made it very, very clear they would not shift and improve the scheme. We also challenged Government on further issues, like Track & Trace, enforcement and funding for the City and Local Authorities to deal with the funding crisis and manage our budgets this year and next year.
“The government has decided that the following further measures and closures will apply to the Liverpool City Region. Pubs and bars; Betting Shops, Casinos and Adult Gaming Centres and Gyms will close. These measures they feel will help stop the spread of Covid 19, reduce the levels of infection and relieve pressure on our Hospitals and NHS.
“We acknowledge the Governments’ offer on new local arrangements and funding support for Enforcement and for Test, Trace and Isolate, specifically:
• An enforcement package, with laws, not just guidance and advice, and funding and resources to enforce restrictions where necessary.
• An effective local Track, Trace and Isolate package with the funding to support it, cooperation on data, local control and the guaranteed supplies and resources required.
“We also welcome the opportunity to engage logistics and capacity support from the Armed Forces, working alongside our own Local Authority staff and Public Health officials.
“These measures will be supported by a specific package of financial support for our City Region to cover a six-month period and not dependent upon the Tier position of our City Region.
“However, we must be clear that we have not yet reached an agreement on the wider economic support package that will be required as we go into Tier 3 restrictions but we have agreed to remain in meaningful dialogue with government to establish a wider, appropriate and mutually agreeable financial support package to mitigate the impact of new Tier 3 restrictions.
“If pubs, bars and other hospitality and leisure businesses are forced to close, there must be appropriate support for them and their staff.
“We are also in dialogue with the sector, to understand the impact of the Chancellor’s statement on Friday for how best to use our emergency fund, announced last week.
“Any package should acknowledge the additional pressure on businesses and their employees in Tier 3 areas and we seek acknowledgement of that from the Government as we look to work with them to develop an acceptable solution to these challenges and to provide support for local businesses.
“Our Local Authorities cannot continue to exist hand to mouth and are currently unable to plan for the medium or long-term. A clearer funding settlement must be achieved that enables us to forward plan, continue to deliver essential public services, avoid large scale redundancies for Local Authority key workers and set a budget for next year with confidence.
“Therefore, we are seeking assurance from Treasury that, in coming to that national position, no local authorities placed on Tier 3 measures will be put in a position where they are unable to balance their budget this year or cannot set a legal budget next year. In this respect we have agreed that a further discussion with Treasury will take place on this matter.
“We also require clear definition of the Exit Strategy from Tier 3.
“We remain committed to dialogue with the Government to achieve a mutually agreeable solution.
“We would also like at this point to thank our officers, who have been working closely with us throughout the weekend, for their ongoing support.