Coronavirus: Merseyside to face strictest new lockdown measures

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Coronavirus: Merseyside to face strictest new lockdown measures

Leaders across Merseyside are bracing themselves for lockdown restrictions to be imposed on the region as covid-19 cases threaten to spiral out of control.

Merseyside is expected to be the only part of England to face the tightest restrictions under the new “three tier” system due to be revealed on Monday.

Pubs and restaurants will be closed, apart from takeaway, a cabinet source told the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg.

And only one household – or “bubble” – is likely to be able to meet indoors.

But Steve Rotheram, the mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said on Sunday evening “no deal has been agreed”.

New local lockdown rules for England are due be announced on Monday.

In Merseyside, alongside the closure of pubs and restaurants, travel will be limited into and out of the area for school, work, or transit only.

People from outside Merseyside will not be allowed to stay overnight, but it is expected that leisure facilities can stay open.

Liverpool recorded 600 cases per 100,000 people in the week ending 6 October. The average for England was 74.

The Liverpool City Region includes the local authority districts of Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral, as well as Liverpool.

Under Tier 2 restrictions, people are likely to be discouraged to travel, and only one household or one bubble is expected to be allowed to meet indoors.

Tier 1 restrictions are expected to be similar to current national rules.

That would allow up to six people of any age from multiple households to meet indoors and outdoors, with pubs and restaurants closing at 22:00.

More clarity is expected on Monday, with new restrictions to be reviewed after a month.

Mr Rotheram said “negotiations were ongoing”.

“Government have been clear from the start that they plan on placing the Liverpool City Region in Tier 3 and plan on announcing this tomorrow [Monday],” he wrote on Twitter.

“Whilst we have asked for the evidence to support the decision, none has been forthcoming.

“Throughout, we have been clear that new restrictions must come with the financial support to protect local jobs and businesses.

“No agreement has yet been reached on this point and negotiations are ongoing. As in all these things, the devil will be in the detail. A deal is not a deal until it is agreed.”

Mr Rotheram has previously warned that the government “can’t do lockdown on the cheap” and called for a support package for the city region.

He said the government should pay 80% of workers’ wages – as was the case under the furlough scheme – if their employers are shut down, rather than the 67% to be paid under the expanded Job Support Scheme.

In a video posted to his Twitter account on Sunday, he warned that the region would not accept a “lower rate” of financial support, especially when it had a “huge, disproportionate number working in the visitor economy – people who are on less than £9 an hour”.

Meanwhile, Joe Anderson, the mayor of Liverpool (the city, as opposed to the region), tweeted: “We have not agreed anything, we have been told this is what government intends to do with ‘no buts’.”

It was thought Manchester may be included in Tier 3, but the BBC understands there have been no contacts between ministers and political leaders in Greater Manchester since Friday night.

On Sunday, 12,872 people in the UK were reported to have tested positive for coronavirus – some 2,294 fewer than on Saturday.

There were a further 65 deaths – down from 81 on Saturday.

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