Council leader ‘disappointed’ at news Lincolnshire to go into Covid Tier 3 measures after lockdown
The Leader of Lincolnshire County Council has reacted to the “disappointing” news that the whole of Lincolnshire is to be put into Tier 3 when the second national lockdown ends on December 2 due to its ongoing high infection rates in some districts.
Coun Martin Hill said: “It’s very disappointing that the whole of Lincolnshire has gone into Tier 3 as we are seeing infection rates fall, especially in those few districts that were previously causing concern – and this could have a crippling effect on our hospitality sector.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock made the announcement on the new restrictions this morning, which a report from the department stating that there had been an overall improvement in Lincolnshire, but case rates of infection remain high throughout the county, at 307 per 100,000 and in the over 60s it is 281 per 100,000.
They said that NHS pressures in Lincolnshire remain high and show signs of increasing, particularly for the units treating the more serious cases.
East Lindsey, Boston and Lincoln had seen very high infection rates in the last couple of weeks, while neighbouring South Holland district has the lowest rates in the county, below the national average.
Coun Martin Hill, Leader of Lincolnshire County Council and chairman of the Lincolnshire Outbreak Engagement Board had sent a joint letter yesterday penned with the leaders of the other Lincolnshire districts asking for Mr Hancock to consider tiering the county on a district by district level. He said: “Although our figures have been high in some districts and lower elsewhere, there’s a clear levelling off and drop in the numbers as the lockdown restrictions and the considerable efforts of our residents begin to take effect. While some of our districts have infection rates well below the England average, why should the whole of Lincolnshire go into Tier 3 for the sake of higher rates in some districts – it doesn’t make sense.
“We’ll need to discuss support for our businesses, especially those in the hospitality sector who will lose most of their trade. This is an important aspect of our economy and we will want to have a conversation about the additional support our businesses would need during this time. We appreciate that the furlough and other support is in place until March 31, but many of our businesses will only partially open and need the Christmas economy to survive given the nature of this year.
“As a minimum we will need additional discretionary business support grants so we can assist those most in need and look forward to a conversation about these details so our economy is not disadvantaged.”
“It seems like a big blow for Lincolnshire, with our residents working with us all the way to bring down infection rates. Four of our districts have infection rates below the national average and I’m expecting the drop in those other areas to continue, which means we could soon be below the England average. We’ll be looking to move out of Tier 3 as soon as possible if the picture continues to improve.”
He added: “I must urge everyone to work with us to bring down our infection rates. Keep to the hands, face, space guidance, keep to the restrictions in place, so we can minimise the risk of catching or passing on the virus. If you develop any symptoms no matter how mild then please isolate yourself and book a test, and while you wait for the test and the result please continue isolating for the safety of others. We will work with everyone towards a better result in two weeks’ time when the tiers are reviewed.”