Gateshead Council leader Martin Gannon confirmed in a statement he had taken part in a meeting with leaders of Durham, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland councils on Thursday, October 15 to agree their collective opposition to being moved into Tier 3 restrictions, stating that the current set of measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus were working and needed more time.
The Government may be basing its decision on whether to escalate the danger level from Tier 2 (high) to Tier 3 on the infection rate among over-60s, Mr Gannon added, although officials were not told this was the case.
He said: “There’s a bit of confusion about what the Government is looking at, we think it is based on the number of cases in over-60s.
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“It would be helpful if they would clarify that.
“If we are forced into Tier 3, we would like to know the criteria so we would know the criteria to remove us (later).”
North East local authorities were confirmed as being in Tier 2 following an announcement of a new Covid-19 alert level system for England by Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week.
Under Tier 2 rules, people must not meet friends and family indoors in any setting, unless they live with them or have formed a support bubble.
This includes in private homes, and any other indoor venues like pubs and restaurants.
The Government was reported to be proposing a move to Tier 3 for the North East and other locations in England, including Greater Manchester and Lancashire.
Mr Gannon continued to say the support package proposed for the 100,000 people employed directly and indirectly in the North East’s hospitality sector would be “catastrophically disastrous”.
Tier 3 restrictions would see ‘non-food’ bars and pubs, alongside gyms and casinos, shut.
He added: “We would oppose Tier 3 on those grounds alone, but we think the current strategy is working.”