Lancashire retains Tier 3 restrictions
Lancashire is to remain under Tier 3 restrictions to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Infection rates across the county have been falling, though the announcement was expected. Matt Hancock, secretary of state for health and social care, explained: "We've come so far, we mustn't blow it now."
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and Bounce Back Loan Scheme have been extended until the end of April.
However, Coun Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, has long been unhappy with the decision to keep the resort under the strictest limitations. She argues that the infection rates are low and the lockdown is hurting local businesses.
She said: "It is disappointing that the Government is not willing to recognise the different circumstances within Lancashire. We are finding it increasingly difficult to understand how we can ever move into a lower tier if we are always going to be harnessed to other geographical areas.
"Our infection rates are significantly lower than when we were originally placed in Tier 3 and are now lower than places that are designated as Tier 2.
“The tourism and hospitality industry simply cannot continue to function with this level of uncertainty, not knowing whether they should be planning for closure or planning for reopening. There might be sectors where economic activity can be turned on and off at a couple of days’ notice, tourism is not one of them."
Councillor Paul Foster, leader of South Ribble Borough Council, added: "This is devastating for the region. Our businesses have been doing all they can to make sure they are sticking to the rules and making sure their businesses are Covid-safe, and to remain in Tier 3 over the Christmas period will truly be catastrophic for them. Our residents too have been making the ultimate sacrifice, to not spend time with their loved ones.
"We urged government to review the case figures and make fair choices and I don’t think this has happened. I’m more than disappointed that the government is not engaging or listening to us, or dealing with the real issues which are causing the virus to spread."
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