Fears grow over Harrogate move into higher tier after Leeds moves to toughest Tier 3 level

Harrogate remains in Tier 1 but the question now being asked today is for how long now that Leeds is set to go into Tier 3 Covid restrictions?

By The Newsroom
Friday, 30th October 2020, 10:58 am
Updated Friday, 30th October 2020, 11:30 am
Harrogate businesses already struggling to keep their heads above water are strongly opposed to tougher Covid restrictions here as virus figures stand here at the moment.

The odds on the district moving into a higher level appear to have risen sharply after news that the whole of West Yorkshire - including Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield - will go into the most severe Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions on Monday.

It means from Monday a total of 3.72 million people across West and South Yorkshire will be under the strictest of measures.

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It was also announced today that Hull and the East Riding will be joining York under Tier 2 measures, banning households meeting indoors.

Although the Covid figures in North Yorkshire County Council's three main hospitals in York, Harrogate and Scarborough are not at the level of the pandemic's peak in April - 118 patients now versus 300 then - but there are increasing fears that more interventions to control the virus may be required here, too.

The new Tier 3 measures in West Yorkshire mean that pubs, bars, casinos and adult gaming centres must be immediately shut - on top of all the Tier 2 rules remaining in place.

All casinos, soft play areas, adult gaming centres, betting shops and car boot sales must close and only restaurants and pubs serving 'predominantly food' can remain open.

Household mixing remains banned and mixing in private gardens is now also banned.

Just over a week ago, both Harrogate and Knaresborough's MP and the borough council expressed complete opposition to any change in lockdown status here unless the statistic justified it.

The leader of Harrogate Borough Council Coun Richard Cooper said "it is not good enough to say that it will just be simpler" to change lockdown tiers when infection rates differ greatly across the regions.

"If that logic is followed then we would just have a national lockdown as that is the simplest of all things to understand.

"Moving the Harrogate district into a different tier, like any other area, must be done on the evidence. "

Infection rates in North Yorkshire for the seven days up to October 24 remain lower overall at 170.2 per 100,000 people than the average rate in England of 219.5.

But the two highest areas in the county are raising concerns - Selby at 229.5 and Harrogate district at 203.3.

Speaking at this week’s North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum meeting, Richard Webb, North Yorkshire County Council’s corporate director of health and adult services, said: “We are still in a very grave situation. We are hanging by a thread between Tier 1 and Tier 2.

"It would be better if we stayed at level one but we are worried about the trends."

Dr Lincoln Sargeant, the county’s director of public health, said earlier this week that figures were still rising in this area but remained well below the peak.

Speaking at the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum meeting, Dr Sargeant said: "Overall, the county's Covid rates are one of the lowest in the North East and Yorkshire.

"We can't be complacent, however. All of us have to carry on the good work if we are to avoid more restrictions."

But the scale of concern can be judged by the warning by Richard Webb, North Yorkshire County Council’s corporate director of health and adult services that: "We are still in a very grave situation. We are hanging by a thread between Tier 1 and Tier 2."

Businesses already struggling to keep their heads above water across Harrogate are strongly opposed to further restrictions here as local virus figures stand at the moment.

Sandra Doherty, Chief Executive of Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce, has warned that: “The hospitality industry in Harrogate is struggling already.

“If we were to go up a level or even go back into shut down, the results will be immediately felt and devastating for the town.”

If North Yorkshire, in general, or the Harrogate district, in particular, were to be placed in a higher level in the Government's three-tier Covid system, the current figures would suggest a move into the less drastic Tier 2, rather than Tier 3.

The rules for Tier 2 include:

In terms of visiting restaurants, pubs and places of worship, venues following COVID-secure guidance can host more people in total, but no one must mix indoors with anyone who they do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) unless exemptions apply. Outdoors, you can meet in groups of up to six people.

Businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am.

Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.

People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.

People must not meet in a group of more than six outside, including in a garden or other space.

Schools, universities and places of worship remain open.

Weddings and funerals can go ahead with capacity restrictions on the number of attendees.

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