Covid Watch: Now we know – Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin are in Tier 2 – this is bad news for our the visitor and hospitality economy

Covid Watch: Now we know – Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin are in Tier 2 – this is bad news for our the visitor and hospitality economy

Now we know. Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin which entered the second lockdown in Tier 1 are to emerge in Tier 2 with stricter restrictions. It feels like we are being punished for having dealt with the infection risk effectively. It’s particularly galling for Ludlow where the infection rate is around 60 per 100,000 people. On the Isle of Sheppey, the infection rate is above 1,100.

We have no choice on this. The government will review our tier status on 16 December. By then, the damage to local retail and hospitality businesses will be significant. If we are promoted down to Tier 1, we are likely to get a rush before Christmas and that could bring its own dangers.  

It is disappointing that Shropshire entered lockdown in Tier 1 and will emerge from it in Tier 2. When we entered lockdown, two weeks too late in my view, cases were rising rapidly in Shropshire. But we got that under control. It now feels like we are being punished for getting things right.

I’m deflated. Ludlow relies heavily on hospitality. We have some of the best pubs, restaurants and cafes in the country. We are safe.

We experienced a recent surge in cases in and around Ludlow but they were localised and mostly in education and care settings. We are getting seven cases a week in Ludlow. That’s an infection rate of 60 per 100,000 people. It must be one of the lowest for a market town in the country.

Our tier status will be reviewed on 16 December. The trends suggest Shropshire will be moved down Tier 1. But that could lead to a rush before and over Christmas. That might undo the gains we have made locally. It would have been better to have eased restrictions now, allowing a gentle build up to the Christmas season.

I fear for the survival of Ludlow businesses that have been adhering closely to guidelines. Some are looking at going out of business for staying safe and doing things right.

Here are a few immediate reactions from two of our local hospitality businesses.

“In the first lockdown the government told us – don’t worry they have their arm around our shoulders. Now they appear to have their arm around our throats!!”

“Thousands can meet at a football match but you can’t meet in in the controlled environment of a pub.”

“This is a big month for us. Who is going to the pub where they are monitored when they can meet behind closed doors with no one looking?

It is no comfort that the only places in Tier 1 are Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. I hope we will jon them soon.

Tier 2: High Alert restrictions

This is for areas with a higher or rapidly rising level of  infections, where some additional restrictions need to be in place. In tier 2:

  • you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’
  • businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs
  • pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals
  • hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:
    • provide table service only, in premises which sell alcohol
    • close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, transport services and motorway service areas are exempt)
    • stop taking orders after 10pm
  • hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
  • early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances  that start before 10pm
  • public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  • public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  • places of worship remain open but you must not socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while you are indoors there, unless a legal exemption applies
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events such as wakes  or stonesettings.
  • organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue
  • organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with). There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing
  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
  • if you live in a tier 2 area, you must continue to follow tier 2 rules when you travel to a tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities .You can travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey
  • for international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list
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