The PM’s new system places various areas of the country in either medium, high, or very high, with Manchester falling into the high category.
Northern leaders had previously criticised the government for lack of clarity regarding restrictions in the north.
Manchester has been placed in ‘Tier 2’ of the system, meaning pubs, restaurants and takeaways will stay open, but must close by 10pm, after it has been widely disputed that there was sufficient evidence that pubs and restaurants were responsible for spreading the virus.
Gyms, sports centres, hairdressers and cinemas can also carry on as normal, however the ban on home visits and gatherings of over 6 will stay in place, unless they are taking place in private gardens, as meeting indoors with those outside your bubble are banned.
Much to the disappointment of many readers, this year’s Christmas markets have been cancelled, after it was deemed they would be a public health risk.
Many have argued that it’s totally unfair to treat Manchester and the north like a testing ground for the north, with one local politician adding the government could not ‘just switch the economy on and off like a light switch’.
Areas in Tier 2 of the lockdown system will be reviewed every 14 days, and new restrictions are to be reviewed every 28 days.
Businesses and venues have been instructed to remain closed between 10pm and 5am, and to ensure those meeting on the premises adhere to social distancing guidelines and do not mix households or support bubbles.
People can still attend places of worship, as long as people do not mingle with others from outside of their support bubble or household, while weddings and funerals can still take place, but are limited to 15 people respectively.
The Prime Minister said if the new rules are not implemented, there would be an unbearable strain on the NHS: “Doctors and nurses would be simply unable to devote themselves to other treatments – cancer, heart disease and countless more.”
Discussions have already taken place as to whether Manchester should be placed in Tier 3.
So far, Merseyside and Lancashire are the only areas to be placed in Tier 3 – very high alert – meaning betting shops, casinos, gyms and leisure centres have closed, however pubs and restaurants have closed unless they serve ‘substantial meals’, with affected staff being placed on furlough, and Greater Manchester is expected to follow.
This comes after intensive care units in Liverpool have reportedly almost reached full capacity, with Liverpool’s leaders have also criticised the government’s measures, claiming they were not consulted or informed, before they were put in place, and that their local economy would suffer.
Reportedly, the government’s Joint Biosecurity Team’s Gold Command is considering Manchester, as well as much of the North East and North West, large sections of Yorkshire, the Midlands and London in Tier 3 – very high alert, although no final decision has been made.
Andy Burnham has said he is ‘considering legal action’ if the government chose to go ahead with the Tier 3 lockdown.
The Prime Minister, as well as from advisors from Sage, has been under pressure from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to call for a short ‘circuit breaker’ national lockdown, citing the recent spike in infections and hospital admissions, with cases having reached 100 per 100,000 over seven days.
Infections have been rising at such an alarming rate that Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty warned the Tier 3 system would be ‘not sufficient’ to fully curb the spread of the virus.
However, Johnson resisted these, wanting to ‘seize this moment now to avoid the misery of another lockdown.’
Mr Burnham has claimed that the government must give more financial support before placing Manchester into full lockdown.
Yesterday, he spoke out against the government, saying they were ignoring the advice of their own experts and that a Tier 3 lockdown would have a severe impact on the local economy, saying ‘people are fed up of being treated in this way.’