The Prime Minister has given Leeds hope that its pubs and restaurants could be open before Christmas.
According to the Sunday Times, Boris Johnson has “capitulated” to pressure from his own party and hinted that millions of people in Tier 3 will have their coronavirus restrictions eased before Christmas.
He has also suggested that the restrictions could be lifted on a local authority level, rather than the regional level that they were imposed on, giving hope to individual councils that have lower rates inside Tier 3 areas.
Leeds is set to start Tier 3 restrictions when lockdown ends on Thursday, but its current case rate is significantly lower than several areas in Tier 2, including Scarborough in North Yorkshire.
It currently has the lowest levels in West Yorkshire.
There are said to be some 16.4m people across 88 boroughs in Tier 3 where the Covid-19 infection rate is lower than for some areas in Tier 2.
While deaths and hospital admissions remain high from the peak of the second wave in October, Leeds’ case rate has fallen significantly in recent weeks.
Levels have almost halved from about 440 cases per 100,000 people in early November to 245.6 as of yesterday.
Along with allowing pubs and restaurants to reopen, moving down to Tier 2, would also allow outdoor and indoor events including sports, performances and shows either at 50% capacity, or with 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.
There are reports Conservative backbenchers are threatening to rebel against the government’s new tier system in parliament next week.
The Prime Minister has reportedly offered to scrap the system altogether in February unless MPs want them to continue, putting an end to claims that tough restrictions will continue until Easter.
In his letter to the 70 MPs who were threatening to revolt at the crucial parliamentary vote this Tuesday to make the tier system law, he wrote: “Where evidence shows the disease is in sustained decline, areas will be moved down.”
The area in Tier 2 with the highest case rate is the London borough of Havering with 367 cases per 100,000 people.
Currently, almost every part of West and South Yorkshire has lower rates than that.
On Saturday, these were the case rates reported:
- Kirklees 349.3 – Tier 3
- Bradford 331.2 – Tier 3
- Calderdale 285.2 – Tier 3
Wakefield 301.7 – Tier 3
Scarborough 251.9 – Tier 2
Leeds 245.6 – Tier 3
- Barnsley 239.8 – Tier 3
- Doncaster 229.9 – Tier 3
- Rotherham 220 – Tier 3
- Sheffield 213.6 – Tier 3