THE LEADER of Coventry Council has described the city remaining in ‘Tier 3’ as a ‘bitter blow for the hospitality sector’.
Under the restrictions, pubs and bars can only offer a delivery or takeaway service, whereas if Coventry and Warwickshire – also in Tier 3 – would have been put into Tier 2, it could have served drinks with a ‘substantial meal’.
Coun George Duggins has called on the evidence for the decision to be made public as he felt it was harsh and just a recent increase in positive cases from 128 per 100,000 to 161 cost the city Tier 2 status.
He said: “A week ago I would have confidently said that we should have been in Tier 2 – the reason why we were not placed there on exiting lockdown I still do not understand as all our figures pointed to Tier 2.
“Over the last few days our rates have started to rise slightly, as they have across the wider region and sub-region, which is a concern and is why I am not so surprised this time that we are not moving tiers.”
However, Coun Duggins is concerned about the impact the latest news will have on the city’s hospitality industry – such as bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants – that have been forced to remain closed since November 4 under restrictions, with the only exception those able to offer takeaways.
He said: “The run-up to Christmas is an important time of year for any business and today’s announcement will be a bitter blow to the hospitality sector and all the jobs that depend on it.
“I want to thank everyone for all they continue to do in following guidelines and helping us to control the virus.
“That includes over Christmas as the virus has no respect for the festive period and we do not want to see a third wave in the new year.”
Nick Abell, chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), said: “The announcement that most of the country is now going to remain in Tier 3 until Christmas is not surprising.
“Whilst the pandemic continues to impact significantly on our long-suffering businesses, the Government has to balance everyone’s freedoms against the clear issues around the increase in Covid-19 especially as we head towards Christmas.
“As has always been the case, it is a fine balance between the effects of spreading the virus and minimising the impact on our economy.
“Whilst we continue to lobby the government as hard as we can for continued financial support for our businesses to mitigate against some of the impact of their forced closure, I would urge everybody to not only comply with the restrictions but also use common sense in their behaviour over the festive period.”