MPs brand placing North Somerset into tier 3 restrictions 'not right' and 'illogical'

North Somerset MP Liam Fox as well as Weston-super-Mare MP John Penrose said placing North Somerset into Tier 3...

North Somerset MP Liam Fox as well as Weston-super-Mare MP John Penrose said placing North Somerset into Tier 3 restrictions is 'illogical'. - Credit: Archant

North Somerset MP Liam Fox as well as Weston-super-Mare MP John Penrose said placing North Somerset into Tier 3 restrictions is not 'right or fair' and have branded the decision 'illogical'. 

This comes after a government announcement yesterday (Thursday) to confirm North Somerset will go into a 'very high level' of alert – known as tier 3 – at the end of England’s national lockdown on Wednesday. All areas will have their tier status reviewed on December 16.

Rates have fallen over recent days in North Somerset, and as of yesterday (Thursday), coronavirus case data sits at 210.6 per 100,000 in a seven day period. 

Previous data for the area saw the rate peak at 305.5 per 100,000 in a seven day period. 

In a joint statement, Fox and Penrose said: "While we support the overall approach, we cannot agree with the way it has been applied to North Somerset. 

"On our own, North Somerset might well qualify to be in Tier 2, but we have been placed in Tier 3 because we are regarded as 'a natural travel to work area' along with Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

"The fact that Bath and North East Somerset is in Tier 2, even though it is part of the same 'natural travel to work area',  makes the decision even more illogical. This all comes at a time when travel to and from Bristol is much lower than usual anyway, because people have been asked to work from home.

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"This isn’t right or fair. We hope that, at the review point in 14 days' time, this methodology can be changed so that North Somerset can be treated on its own merits, and so hardworking local businesses aren’t punished because of higher infection rates in Bristol."    

The last day of England’s national lockdown is Tuesday,  with the new tier restrictions coming into effect on Wednesday.

For areas in tier 3, the government states people must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody they do not live with, as well as anyone is not in your support bubble, which includes in any private garden or at most outdoor venues.

People must not socialise in a group of more than six in other outdoor public spaces, including parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, a public garden, grounds of a heritage site or castle, or a sports facility.

Hospitality settings, such as bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed, but are permitted to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.

Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses must close. Exemptions include people who use these venues as their main residence, and those requiring the venues where it is reasonably necessary for work or education and training.

Indoor entertainment and tourist venues must close and indoor attractions at mostly outdoor entertainment venues must also close.

Leisure and sports facilities may continue to stay open, but group exercise classes, including fitness and dance, should not go ahead. Saunas and steam rooms should also close.

There should be no public attendance at spectator sport or indoor performances and large business events should not be taking place. Elite sport events may continue to take place without spectators. Large outdoor events (performances and shows) should not take place, with the exception of drive-in events.

Places of worship remain open, but people must not attend with or socialise with anyone outside of your household or support bubble while you are there, unless a legal exemption applies.

Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees, 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions are not allowed, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, 15 people can attend linked commemorative events.

Organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue, however, higher-risk contact activity should not take place. Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes cannot take place indoors.

For more information on restrictions and exemptions, log-on to www.gov.uk/guidance/local-restriction-tiers-what-you-need-to-know#very-high-alert

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