Politicians and businesses in Coventry have reacted to the new today that Coventry will remain under Tier 3 local restrictions in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, after the Government announced the results of its fortnightly review.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons he understands the disappointment and that, while the government considered different rules for certain areas, it risked seeing cases rebound.
He said there are currently 18,038 people in hospital with coronavirus across the UK and that the colder, winter months are always the most difficult for people’s health.
“We’ve come so far, we mustn’t blow it now”, he insisted.
Councillor George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council, said he is disappointed, but not surprised by the news.
He said he felt that Coventry’s chances of moving from Tier 3 to 2 was borderline after a recent increase in positive cases – rising from 128 per 100,000 of the population on Friday to 161 today.
Today’s announcement will be a “bitter blow” for Coventry’s hospitality businesses, he added, and called for the evidence on their continued closure be made public.
Nick Abell, chair of the city’s Local Enterprise Partnership, concurred that the announcement was “not surprising.”
“Whilst the pandemic continues to impact significantly on our long-suffering businesses, the government has to balance everyone’s freedoms against the clear issues around the increase in COVID-19 especially as we head towards Christmas”, he said.
Louise Bennett, chief executive of the local Chamber of Commerce, said that businesses in the events, tourism and hospitality industries need to be given an opportunity to trade if they have made themselves COVID-19 secure.
“Businesses are going to need further support through to the end of the crisis and beyond. It simply won’t be possible for them to reopen and everything return to normal. The recovery is going to need nurturing after such a lengthy and deep crisis”, she said.
Neighbouring Solihull and Warwickshire will similarly remain in Tier 3 until at least January.
The owner of a Leamington Spa restaurant told the Coventry Times that the news “feels like Armageddon, I just feel like crying”.
Jose Ribeiro, who is losing more than £2,000 for every week that his restaurant We Love Pizza is closed, has only been permitted to welcome diners for only 60 days since its launch in September.
“For us a new business opening at reduced capacity during the lockdown period, Christmas was the best chance for the restaurant that I manage to make the cash to get us through the rest of winter”, Jose explained.
“After a massive amount of work, we thought we had made it to the other side of the tunnel – now we can’t even see the other side.”