Tier 4 decision met with frustration by Northumberland traders - and a plea for more support

Traders have reacted with dismay to news that Tier 4 restrictions are being introduced in Northumberland.

Wednesday, 30th December 2020, 5:16 pm

The highest level of coronavirus restrictions – which means non-essential shops, personal care and indoor gyms must close – comes into force from the start of New Year’s Eve.

In Wooler, where the Covid rate is just 44.7 per 100,000 the news was met with frustration.

Beccy Smart, who owns the Forever Beautiful salon, said: “It’s pretty disheartening news. I wish I hadn’t bought a 2021 planner.

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Northumberland traders react to the Tier 4 announcement.

"It’s not exactly come as a surprise but a part of me had hoped that we’d be able to stay open. It’s the third time in a year now that we’ve been forced to close.

"It’s a decision that I do understand because there are other places that have very high rates but it’s also very frustrating.

"I feel that we are being pushed in with other places with higher rates, although I know it would be difficult to allow some town or villages to remain open.”

Alnwick traders have also reacted with disappointment and called for extra financial support.

Alnwick.

Fiona Nelson-van Loon, who owns Ruby Tuesday on Narrowgate, also called on the local community to help by using click-and-collect or delivery services where possible.

She said: “Business owners are not surprised but trying to remain positive is becoming increasingly hard.

"Alnwick, its traders and community will undoubtedly use closed time to focus on future proofing businesses and to looking ahead to brighter days when the community is safe and well.

“A word of warning though – without financial support, not every business will survive long term.

Beccy Smart of Forever Beautiful in Wooler.

"We need both Government and Northumberland County Council support as we battle through closure again.”

Covid rates in Northumberland reached 236.4 per 100,000 on December 28, the highest levels since early November. There have been 757 positive cases in the past seven days.

LA7 leaders, including Glen Sanderson, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “We understand this may be disappointing for our residents and businesses who have worked so hard with us to try and slow the spread of the virus, but we ask again for everyone’s support so that these Tier 4 restrictions have the impact they need to."Our view is that the Government should consider a national lockdown now to ensure the spread of the new variant is slowed and efforts can be focused on the crucial roll out of the vaccine. This is a national problem and a national solution is required now.

Fiona Nelson-van Loon of Ruby Tuesday in Alnwick.

"After a disrupted Christmas the last thing any of us wanted was further restrictions as we enter 2021 but sadly we feel this is the only sensible option to protect our health and care services and the most vulnerable in our communities.”

Between December 18-24 the weekly case rate in England rose to 402.6 per 100,000, a 32% increase on the previous week.

The NHS reports 14,915 patients have been admitted to hospital with COVID-19 in the past week, an 18% increase on the week before.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I know the measures place a significant burden on people, especially in business, but I am afraid it is absolutely necessary.”

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