Harrogate residents hit back against talks of Tier 2 restrictions for North Yorkshire

Residents in Harrogate have reacted with anger to news that the region could be ‘lumped in’ with the rest of Yorkshire and placed in Tier 2 simply ‘to end confusion’.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 5:15 pm

Harrogate Advertiser readers responded to a call for opinions in our State of Harrogate Facebook group, and all were unhappy at the prospect of North Yorkshire being placed under tighter restrictions.

It comes after Dr Lincoln Sargeant, North Yorkshire’s director of public health, said talks have been held over having all of Yorkshire in the same tier to make it easier for people to understand.

Residents have said they are against the prospect of North Yorkshire moving in to Tier 2 to match other areas in the region.

North Yorkshire’s seven-day rolling infection rate is 129.0, well below the average for England which stands at 157.

And residents have been quick to call out the area’s low infection rate and question the need for any extra restrictions, with Stuart Smith writing: “By saying ‘to avoid confusion’ are you really saying to stop people finding a loophole or excuse to break the rules? North Yorkshire is not in Tier 2 because there is thankfully not enough cases, end of discussion.”

Andrew Hawksby agreed, adding: “Pathetic... why should we suffer... if our infection rate is OK, why alter the restrictions?”

The opinions were shared by resident Ann Lambert, who wrote: “The whole point of tiers is to do exactly what is being done. To then upgrade to make us the same means the tier system is nonsence. Whilst that is an opinion I share, I don’t agree with moving the goal posts.”

Dr Sargeant told a meeting of the North Yorkshire Outbreak Management Advisory Board earlier this week that moving all of Yorkshire to the same restrictions would help stop outbreaks in care homes and end confusion.

He said: “There is an active discussion going on about whether Yorkshire and Humber, particularly those of us in the Yorkshire Coast and Vale area should move together into Tier 2.

“There is certainly discussion both from a public health point of view but also soundings from a political point of view as to how we move.

“There are some reasons for moving together. One is around consistency, there has been quite a number of questions around issues with borders, particularly in North Yorkshire as around us we have areas in Tier 2 and people do travel to work across the border.

“There is also concern around the potential impact on the care home sector, on infections translation into cases impacting on the older and more vulnerable population.

“So there is an argument for all of us to move into Tier 2 as I think it didn’t take very long for York to move up...

“Clearly the trade-off there is about the hospitality sector, the impact on the reputation of North Yorkshire and to what extent do we have strong evidence that the Tier 2 restrictions, and there is reasonable evidence, will slow the rise in the rate of cases and how sustainable that is and over what period the restrictions will need to be maintained is also an issue.”

Dr Sargeant said that hospitality and leisure are “vital” to North Yorkshire’s economy and would be considered in any decision.

In Tier 2 restrictions households are banned from mixing indoors and care home visits are restricted to “exceptional” cases.

However, South Yorkshire - including Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham - is set to move into Tier 3 this weekend as cases in the area continue to rise and hospital admissions have doubled in ten days.