Due to the increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases in Knowsley (and the wider Liverpool City Region area), the Government has today confirmed that the area will be formally designated as VERY HIGH risk – in a new three-tier local rating system.
This is the highest alert level possible and means that there will be additional restrictions to stop the further spread of the virus and reduce the risk of the NHS becoming overwhelmed.
The new restrictions cover Knowsley along with Halton, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral and will come into force from Wednesday 14 October 2020.
Within the “Very High” alert level, the following will apply:-
- Schools, universities and shops will be allowed to remain open.
- Pubs and bars (not serving food), gyms and leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres (such as amusement arcades), and casinos will be closed.
- People are reminded that they must not socialise with other households inside (in their home or in other premises) or outdoors in private gardens.
These new measures will come into force for an initial period of four weeks after which time the data will be reviewed to see whether the restrictions can be lifted or whether they will need to be maintained or extended.
In addition to the restrictions, the Government has also confirmed that, following extensive conversations with local Leaders, they have agreed to provide additional resources and funding to improve local Test and Trace capabilities, make better arrangements for enforcement, and to support those local businesses (and their employees) who will be impacted by these new measures.
Leaders have also secured assurance from the Treasury that no local authority place on Tier 3 restrictions will be put in a position where they are unable to balance their budget this year or set a legal budget next year.
Councillor Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council and one of the City Region Leader who was involved heavily in these discussions, said:
“We have been clear from the outset that we wanted constructive conversations with the Government to come up with a workable and reasonable solution for our area. These measures are not something which anybody wanted, but it is very clear that our City Region and our local hospitals are now under more pressure than anywhere else in the country.
We simply cannot risk overwhelming an already stretched NHS and we need to protect the most vulnerable residents of Knowsley. Therefore, reluctantly, we have to accept these measures. Indeed, I have been clear for some weeks now that further measures did need to be taken.
Along with the other City Region Leaders and the Metro Mayor, I have also been clear about the need for more support from the Government to make sure that we can in turn support the local businesses who will be affected (and, most importantly, their employees). While the Government has listened to us by providing some funding support, we will continue our discussions and call for more money to allow us to support our communities through the coming weeks and months.
I know that we have difficult period ahead, but I have every confidence that the people of Knowsley and beyond will come together, as they did earlier in the year, to drive infection rates down so that we can look forward collectively to better times ahead.”