Staying in Tier 1 is Suffok’s best chance of recovery, say leaders
PUBLISHED: 07:27 24 October 2020
Staying in Tier 1 is Suffolk’s best chance at economic recovery from Covid-19, Suffolk leaders have said.
But while the county remains in the lowest category at the moment, authority bosses have said they will be transparent about any potential move into Tier 2 in future.
During Friday’s meeting of the local outbreak engagement board, calls were made to make sure that the economy suffers as little as possible in any future restrictions, because of knock-on health effects such as depression or anxiety from job losses.
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Suffolk director of public health Stuart Keeble said public health and the economy were not mutually exclusive.
“The economy still needs to get going but if we get this right this will also help protect the economy, if we can stay in Tier 1 as long as possible,” he said.
Tier 1 is the lowest level of restriction, with the two main rules being no gatherings of more than six people and the closure of bars and restaurants at 10pm.
Progression into the second and third levels come with more stringent restrictions, for example reduced household contact, and closure of some businesses such as the hospitality sector seen in Liverpool.
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Mr Keeble stressed that Suffolk was not in the position to have to consider Tier 2 at the moment.
However, he said that people needed to keep abiding to the rules and guidance over two metre distancing and regular hand washing, to help prevent a future move to Tier 2.
Movement between different tiers is determined by a host of data, including hospital admissions, transmission rates, and indicators in key vulnerable communities like the BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) and 70+ groups.
Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said: “We have got to do everything possible to keep the economy going and allow it to recover.
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“Public health is very important but also the economy because of the longer term effects, and somehow we need to weave that in.
“We mustn’t lose that message because otherwise if it solely focuses on public health we are going to have bigger public health problems with unemployment, addiction, abuse, and god knows what else.”
Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere said allowing the public to see the direction of travel would allow businesses to plan for potential future restrictions.
The board meeting also heard that conversations must also begin on what additional measures may be needed in the run up to Christmas – particularly around Christmas parties and the nighttime economy to prevent those becoming hotbeds of virus spreading, although no firm measures have yet been made.
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