Tier 3 restrictions in Bristol will ‘further decimate hospitality sector’

Imposing Tier 3 restrictions on Bristol will further decimate the hospitality sector, the city’s mayor has warned.

Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset will be placed under the strict measures when England’s national lockdown ends on December 2.

The areas were previously in Tier 1, the lowest level of restrictions.

On Thursday, the UK Government said the overall picture in the areas was concerning, with “very high case rates overall” of 325 cases per 100,000 people and a positivity rate of 10.4%.

It said Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset were part of a wider travel-to-work area and so formed a “natural geographic grouping” that was separate to the surrounding area.

Under the restrictions, hospitality settings such as bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed and only able to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery.

Following the announcement, a spokeswoman for Bristol City Council said Tier 3 measures were forecast to cost the council £2.8m per month due to a shortfall in Government funding to support businesses and vulnerable people.

Marvin Rees, the mayor of Bristol, said: “While we all want to get back to normal as quickly as possible we also must get the Covid-19 infection rate in the city down.

“Covid-19 is devastating lives and livelihoods – people are becoming very unwell and businesses and workers are facing enormous financial challenges.

“For every moment we are in Tier 3, the hospitality sector will be further damaged, people will lose businesses they have built up and jobs will be on the line.

“We can all help move to a tier with fewer restrictions if we work together and follow the guidance.”

Mr Rees said one of the main reasons for the recent increase in infection rates was people going into each other’s homes when this is not allowed.

The infection rate in Bristol is now 390.2 cases per 100,000 people. In the past seven days, there were 1,808 positive tests in the city.

Christina Gray, director of public health for Bristol, said: “In the past week we’ve seen a slight drop in infection rates across the city.

“However we must not be complacent. We still must do all we can to further reduce infections. People are getting seriously ill, and we’ve seen increased numbers of people needing hospital treatment.

“This, alongside the usual winter pressures, is putting a strain on local NHS services. Please do all you can to protect Bristol.”

Darren Jones, Labour MP for Bristol North West, called for “urgent” economic support for businesses in Bristol.

He said he was “not surprised” to hear that Bristol would be under Tier 3 restrictions and called for people to follow the rules.

“We however urgently need to see economic support, especially for Bristol’s hospitality sector which remains closed,” Mr Jones said.