John Howell MP has expressed his frustration after confirming Henley and South Oxfordshire would switch to Tier 2 when the coronavirus lockdown ends on Wednesday.
The area was previously at Level 1 – the lowest risk level – but the government has decided to classify most of the country into the two highest levels.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the new tiering system would represent a « noticeable change » compared to the last four weeks.
The reinforced system comes after Sage, the government’s scientific adviser, said the old levels were not effective in preventing the virus from spreading.
Mr. Howell told Henley Standard on Monday that he hoped the area would remain in Tier 1.
« I don’t think this takes into account the huge reduction in cases, nor does it take into account the huge impact on business in the region, particularly the hospitality sector.
« We know why these restrictions were put in place and efforts are being made to keep the NHS from exceeding capacity and to keep people from dying. «
The levels are checked regularly and the first opportunity to do so is on the 16th. December.
Decisions are based on how quickly cases arise across all age groups, especially those 60 and over. Pressure on local NHS facilities is also taken into account.
Mr Howell added, « I can only look forward to the review in two weeks’ time if I hope we get reduced to Level 1. I think we have a very good case to go back.
« The number of cases is falling and the number of people over 65 is not particularly high.
« I have received no indication from John Radcliffe Hospital that they are under tremendous pressure, so both are good signs that we will return.
« I have every sympathy for wet-run pubs and understand the huge impact it has on their business and their future. It is critical that we can look to the future and see a healthy hospitality sector. «
• Maximum of 2. 000 viewers are allowed to attend sporting events and live performances, compared to 4. 000 in Tier 1
Pubs and restaurants must close at 23:00 on both levels. The last orders must be received by 10 p.m..
People are encouraged to minimize travel and work from home. Personal care, including hairdressing, is permitted in all three levels.
There were 12 new cases of the virus in Henley compared to 18 the previous week.
The total number of cases in South Oxfordshire since the pandemic started is down 114 to 1. 678, while the death toll is still 73.
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