Birmingham and the West Midlands look set to be moved up to Tier 3 of the coronavirus restrictions, according to the city council leader.
Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, told our sister site BirminghamLive today that covid-19 case rate numbers were going up and “we have to do something more”.
He said: “We are not seeing cases rise like they are in some areas of the country, our curve is flatter, but cases are continuing to rise.
“But all the indicators are there – we will be moving into Tier 3.
“This week, I have had two meetings with local metropolitan leaders (other councils in the West Midlands Combined Authority area) and with the chambers of commerce in order to get their view on the economic package and impact.
“The Government is firm on what is on offer (financially) – it will be on a par with the support offered to Greater Manchester, the Liverpool region and elsewhere.”
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Five of West Midlands’ seven districts were placed in Tier 2 earlier this month before Coventry and Dudley were later upgraded from Tier 1.
The move would see a raft of businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector, greatly affected with restrictions on different households mingling.
There would also have to be negotiations between the Government and the West Midlands’ leaders over taxpayer-funded support packages for those affected.
Tier 3, also known as ‘Very High’ risk level, means:
– People cannot socialise with anyone outside their household in any indoor and many outdoor settings
– Pubs and bars forced to close unless they are operating as a restaurant
– Weddings and funerals allowed but with restrictions on number of guests
There is a range of support packages available to affected businesses in Tier 3 areas but there have been regional variations between what was agreed for Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Liverpool City Region.
These could be loans, finance to pay part of employees’ wages and grants – read our handy guide here for more details.
Mayor Andy Street is working with the region’s council leaders in talks behind the scenes to ensure a full package of support measures and financial backing for affected businesses is in place before restrictions come into force.
The situation in the West Midlands was discussed yesterday at a Gold Command meeting chaired by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
The case rate in Birmingham is now above 250 cases per 100,000 people and there are now more than 300 patients with coronavirus in hospital beds at University Hospitals Birmingham, including more than 30 fighting for life in intensive care.