Leeds is “heading in the right direction” when it comes to entering tier 2 lockdown restrictions before Christmas, the leader of Leeds City Council has said.
However, she warned the city was not yet out of the woods and that people needed to be vigilant as the city comes out of the second national lockdown and enters so-called “tier 3” Covid-19 restrictions this week.
The Government announced last month that Leeds, along with the rest of West Yorkshire, would move from the national lockdown to regional measures – the biggest difference being non-essential retail would be allowed to reopen.
However, the restrictions still mean hospitality venues, such as bars and restaurants, will remain closed – the less severe “tier 2” restrictions, currently enjoyed in London, mean pubs and bars can remain operating as restaurants, and can serve alcohol with “substantial meals”.
The Government is understood to be reviewing the restrictions in mid-December, and Coun Judith Blake is hopeful Leeds is on the right track to do so.
“We are waiting on directions from Government,” she said. “There are five criteria that involve looking at the data and looking at the more vulnerable and looking at the rates of people going into hospital and intensive care.
“Looking at the data, we are definitely going in the right direction and other councils are talking to Government actively about what other measures we can take to go down to tier 2.
“We are conscious of the impact that tier 3 is having on hospitality businesses – people are suffering from not being able to work at the moment.”
The comments come after it was revealed by the council last month that government would review the lockdown restrictions on December 16, to monitor if rates had changed.
Speaking today, Coun Blake added:
“It is a critical moment – numbers are going down significantly, but we must maintain our vigilance to avoid another spike in cases.
“It requires everyone to follow the guidelines and be responsible in our communities.”
According to figures released by Leeds City Council on Monday, the Covid infection rate is now at 200.8 per 100,000 people in the city.
Under tier 3 restrictions, you must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, this includes in any private garden or at most outdoor venues.
Hospitality settings, such as bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed – but they are permitted to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.