Leeds City Council has pledged to do everything in its power to help local businesses through the latest stage of the COVID-19 crisis.
Speaking at a press briefing following the announcement that Leeds had been placed under Tier 3 restrictions, council leader Councillor Judith Blake said she felt “very deeply” for all those affected.
Cllr Blake also said she had been left extremely concerned by the lack of extra funding support on offer for businesses in Tier 3 areas.
And she vowed to keep fighting for workers in hard-hit sectors such as hospitality and entertainment to get the assistance they need, both during the run-up to Christmas and beyond.
Cllr Blake said: “I feel very deeply for people working in the hospitality and entertainment sectors who are affected by this.
“I am also dismayed by the lack of additional funding for businesses – and others in their supply chain – in Tier 3 areas.
“We will be impressing on ministers just how important the hospitality sector is to the city as a whole. This is a very challenging time and we all need to continue working together.”
Cllr Blake said she was “very disappointed” by the decision to put Leeds into Tier 3 – the toughest level of restrictions – given the significant recent fall in infection rates in the city to 274 per 100,000 of the population.
But she added there was a “real chance” that, should infection rates continue to decline, then the city could move to less severe Tier 2 restrictions when today’s decision is reviewed by the Government on December 16.
Under Tier 3 rules, venues such as bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants must close, unless they are offering a takeaway service.
Cllr Blake said: “I want to pay tribute to everyone who has worked so hard – including the council, the NHS, our partners and the public themselves – in helping drive down infection rates.
“There is no one aspect of this that will work on its own, everything must work as a package. It’s vitally important that we all continue to do our bit to get on top of this dreadful virus.”
Everyone in Leeds can help to control the spread of COVID-19 by observing restrictions and following the key guidelines:
- Make space and stay 2m away from people you do not live with.
- Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds.
- Cover your face in enclosed spaces.
- Isolate when you need to/are advised to, and get a test if you have symptoms.