Council leaders told Government stricter measures 'not welcome' but warn residents there is a long way to go yet

North east council bosses are warning the region cannot afford to get complacent if it is to avoid being placed on the highest level of coronavirus restrictions.

Monday, 12th October 2020, 8:42 pm

The system, which grades areas as Medium, High and Very High, comes into force from Wednesday.

The government has placed the North East on a High footing, rather than Very High which would have let to more severe measures.

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(clockwise from top left) Prime Minister Boris Johnson; Sunderland City Council leader Coun Graeme Miller; Northumberland County council leader Coun Glen Sanderson, and South Tyneside borough council leader Coun Iain Malcolm

A statement by the leaders of Sunderland, South Tyneside, Northumberland, Newcastle, Gateshead, and Durham County councils, and the Elected Mayor of North Tyneside Council and North of Tyne Mayor welcomed the decision.

"We were clear in our discussions with government that stricter measures for our region would not be welcome,” they said.

The leaders say that they did not want the region to move to Tier three, but are calling on more support for businesses, many of which will struggle under the tier two restrictions.

Several pubs across the region have been forced to close their doors due to dwindling footfall which they say is due to people no longer being able to meet with others outside their household.

The letter continues: "Our discussions with government will continue to push for businesses in our region to be given the backing they need to survive the months ahead.

"We will also continue to work with government to develop a tracking and tracing system which capitalises on the local expertise and knowledge of our communities.

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"Clearly, there is still a long way to go and the fact we have avoided the most severe level of restrictions should not be taken as a sign we are in the clear. We must not get complacent.

"The threat of the virus has not diminished, and we need every single person in our region to do their bit to prevent it from ripping through our communities.

"Failing to do this will see infection rates rise further and, inevitably, harsher and more damaging restrictions being imposed upon us."

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