The whole of Greater Manchester, including Stockport and Cheadle constituency, has been placed into Tier 3 as we emerge from the national restrictions from 2nd December. Further information on the Covid Winter Plan, bubbles (including Christmas bubbles) and the way out of measures can be found here.
What does Tier 3 mean for our area?
Tier 3 is the ‘very high’ level of restrictions. You may not mix socially with anyone outside of your household or bubble. Pubs and restaurants are limited to takeaway and delivery only.
Places of worship, outdoor sports, exercise classes, gyms, personal care and non-essential shops may open. Weddings and funerals may go ahead with restricted numbers. Those living in Tier 3 should only travel outside the area for work, education, caring, health or other essential reasons.
Tiers will be reviewed in mid-December, and a full outline of Tier 3 is here.
Criteria for Tiers includes:
- Case detection rates in all age groups;
- Case detection rates in the over 60s;
- The rate at which cases are rising or falling;
- Positivity rate (the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken); and
- Pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy.
Businesses in Tier 3 are able to apply for additional financial support. The Chancellor has announced the availability of extra funding in the form of cash grants (of up to £2,100 per month) for businesses in the hospitality and leisure sector who may be adversely impacted by these new restrictions. This grant is available to those who have been legally required to close and those who have not, but may have been adversely affected due to Tier 3 rules.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) remains open until the end of March 2021 and continues to pay up to 80% of staff wages. The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will also make a third payment to those who are eligible and self-employed. More information can be found here.
Vaccines and testing
Vaccines are already successfully making their way through the approval stages and will be rolled out this month in order of need, with those in care homes expected to be the first recipients. This week I was able to congratulate the Health Secretary on the news that the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine has been approved. I am pleased that Stepping Hill Hospital has been earmarked as one of the 50 national vaccine hubs.
And this is on the back of the recent successful pilot in Liverpool where residents were mass tested, even if they did not show symptoms. More than 125,000 people were tested and over 1,000 asymptomatic cases were found and isolated. This has helped Liverpool lower its infection rate considerably and place it in Tier 2. Mass testing is in the process of being rolled out to other Tier 3 areas with the help of the military, which will help us get infection rates down even faster.
By testing and vaccinating we will navigate our way out of this pandemic, whilst we continue to do all we can to help suppress this virus and protect the NHS during a difficult winter.