Southport MP Damien Moore says he welcomes the more agile approach taken by the Government as new Tier 3 Covid restrictions come in force this Wednesday, but does not believe that Southport should be included in the High Risk category.
The MP also calls for leisure centres and gyms to be allowed to remain open saying: “We have to consider the mental welfare of our nation.”
He said: “Following the growing number of Covid-19 cases in the Liverpool City Region, the Government and local leaders have agreed the need for further action to tackle the spread of Coronavirus in the Liverpool City Region, including Sefton.
“The latest figures, in the seven days up to October 9, show that Sefton has risen to become the seventh highest in the country for Covid-19 rates. Positive Covid tests in the borough rose from 928 to 1,170, with a rise in rate of infection from 335.7 per 100,000 to 423.3 per 100,000.
“From Wednesday, the Liverpool City Region will be placed onto the ‘Very High’ Local Covid Alert Level, or Tier 3.”
“Amongst the new restrictions, pubs and bars will close. They can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant – which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal.
“Indoor gyms and fitness/dance studios, sports facilities, leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres and casinos will close.
“Wedding receptions will not be permitted, but wedding ceremonies are permitted up to 15 people.
“People should try to avoid travelling outside their local area, or entering another area rated Very High other than for work, education, accessing youth services, or to meet caring responsibilities. And people should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in the Liverpool City Region and avoid staying overnight in the Liverpool City Region if they are resident elsewhere.
“Whilst I welcome the more-agile approach taken by the Government, listening to growing concerns and moving toward a more localised system of restrictions, I want to be clear that I do not believe that our area should be placed in this very high-risk category.
“The lockdown we experienced in the early stages of this pandemic has already had a significant and adverse impact on our economy. Many businesses are struggling, and unemployment is increasing sharply. Pubs and restaurants in particular are suffering immensely by lockdown measures, and these new restrictions may put many businesses within the industry past the point of no return.
“I also cannot fathom the closure of our leisure centres and gyms. We have to consider the mental welfare of our nation and balance measures taken to control the spread of this virus with personal freedoms and what is realistic to expect of a population already disenfranchised with the idea that we are ‘all in this together’.
“Southport’s rate of infection, albeit a stark increase when compared to levels a few weeks ago, is not as bad as the rest of Merseyside, and I understand many of my constituents are already sceptical about their affinity to the wider-region.
“They will be questioning why they are being subject to the same restrictions and it will be a hard-sell to convince the majority of those living and working in Southport that this level of restriction is necessary when stacked against the adverse impact on our economy and long-term wellbeing.
“The government needs to explain how our region can de-escalate its level of severity in the fight against Covid and how residents living in Merseyside and Southport can regain control of their personal freedoms in the weeks ahead.”