Lockdowns “slowly suffocating businesses” says South Yorkshire MP as Tier three restrictions announced

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Barnsley Central’s MP has said that the government needs to provide a clear exit plan for the new tier three restrictions that have been announced today.

All of South Yorkshire is set to enter the strictest tier of restrictions after the national lockdown lifts on December 2.

Mat Hancock today announced that the area will be placed into tier three restrictions next week, which means that pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants must remain closed, no meeting indoors with other households, and all entertainment venues must remain closed, including cinemas and museums.

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However, the restrictions differ from the national lockdown – gyms, hairdressers and personal care businesses will be allowed to reopen, and up to six people may meet outdoors in public.

Barnsley MP, Dan Jarvis. Picture: Chris EtchellsBarnsley MP, Dan Jarvis. Picture: Chris Etchells
Barnsley MP, Dan Jarvis. Picture: Chris Etchells

Dan Jarvis, MP for Barnsley Central and Sheffield City Region Mayor called for “clarity and consistency” from the government, and said there is “light at the end of the tunnel”.

Mr Jarvis said: “As we exit the national lockdown, the government has once again put South Yorkshire into the highest level of coronavirus restrictions, Tier 3. We now need them to work with us to make sure we do not stay there a moment longer than necessary, so that our businesses and people get the help they need to get through the pandemic.

“I welcome Government plans to review our tier arrangements every two weeks, because every extra day we are under restrictions could be the difference between a business surviving the pandemic or going under. It is now essential we get a roadmap to get us out of Tier 3 as a matter of urgency. Lockdown must not become limbo.

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“We need absolute clarity and consistency from the government about the criteria for areas moving between the Tiers. We need a test and trace system that is fit for purpose and we need clear communications.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel. In South Yorkshire the rate of new infections, and more importantly the number of older people in hospital with the virus, is moving in the right direction.

“We’ve been under tighter restrictions in South Yorkshire since October 24, and they are slowly suffocating businesses, particularly in the hospitality and events sectors. They are now being hit again just as they enter their busiest time of year.

“Any restrictions must come hand in hand with a robust package of economic support to protect livelihoods. There must be no gaps in support for people and businesses affected by COVID.

“These restrictions are necessary to protect the health of our residents, but it’s deeply concerning that the government yet again excluded Mayors and local leaders from the decision-making process around the new Tiering arrangements. We now have to make these restrictions work on the ground, so it’s only right that we are properly involved in the process. The failure to do that is part of a wider pattern of over-centralisation which has held us back for too long.

“I know how difficult things have been for the people of South Yorkshire throughout the pandemic, and I am incredibly grateful for their resilience in the face of adversity. I will continue to fight for our people and our businesses to ensure our lives and livelihoods are not restricted by these measures for a moment longer than is absolutely necessary.”

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