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Royal Borough to stay in tier 1 for now but area remains 'on cusp of tier 2'

Georgina Bishop

Council leader

Council leader Andrew Johnson has confirmed the Royal Borough will remain in tier 1 for now, but has warned the area is 'on the cusp of tier 2'

Last week, Cllr Johnson announced the council 'will be asking Government to consider moving us to the high tier (tier 2) next week', with COVID-19 cases increasing at a ‘worrying and alarming rate'.

Under tier 2, households would be banned from mixing indoors, including at pubs, restaurants and at home.

However, in a statement released by the Royal Borough this afternoon, Cllr Johnson said the council has ‘requested to remain in tier 1 for now pending further review’.

He said: “Last week given our borderline status and likely projected increase in cases I asked government to consider whether it was appropriate or not for us to move into high-risk tier two.

“Since then the rise in our number of cases has slightly abated, but the potential for underlying infection remains extremely high.

“As a result, and based upon the data before us, in discussions with government we have requested to remain in tier one for now pending further review, to which the government has agreed.

"However, our numbers are such that we remain on the cusp of tier two and all the additional restrictions on our lives this would bring.

"We must not be complacent. We must continue to follow the guidance. We must stop the spread. Doing this may help us avoid tier two. "

 “We will keep the situation under constant review and any decisions on further restriction will be based upon data, the expert advice of our dedicated public health professionals, and liaison with government.

 “The Royal Borough is now regularly publishing local data so that residents can see and appreciate the trends that are guiding our decision making.”

He added: “We are also asking for more local test and trace support to ensure the quality of our data improves so we can pinpoint sources of infection and take a risk-based approach to any restrictions.”  

The announcement follows comments made to the Advertiser and Express this week by the cabinet member for health, Cllr Stuart Carroll, who said the borough had not asked to be placed in tier 2 but talks were taking place with the Government on a 'daily basis'.

He added: "It looks likely that what we’ll seek to do is allow this week to proceed so we can gather more data and look at that data before making any decisions about a tier reclassification."

Cllr Johnson said he had been talking to businesses over the last week, many of whom are concerned about the tier 2 and tier 3 restrictions.

He said the council is actively consulting with local businesses ‘to understand the pressures they are under’ and that they ‘will be crucial to securing the local economic recovery’.

He said he welcome recent news that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is increasing support for businesses impacted by tier 2 restrictions and will continue to lobby government for additional business support.

“It is imperative we all understand the risk to public health and the local economy this virus poses,” said Cllr Johnson.

“Following the public health advice will help us protect our local businesses.”

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