Pubs, bars, betting shops, gyms and leisure centres in West Kirby and Hoylake will be closed from Wednesday 14 October as our region faces the toughest lockdown measures in the country.
Prime Minister Boris Johnston has told the House of Commons that Liverpool City Region, which includes Wirral, is to face the most severe level of restrictions under a new three-tier system.
The measures, which will also be implemented in Liverpool, Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton and Halton, follow a steep rise in coronavirus cases in recent weeks.
The restrictions also affect adult gaming centres and casinos, but schools and shops will remain open.
Pubs and bars can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant – which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.
So far the government has refused to improve the furlough scheme, leaving local leaders warning that businesses in the hospitality sector “will be damaged and many will suffer long term damage or close for good”.
Councils have secured a six-month funding package that will help with enforcing restrictions, improving track and trace, and logistics and capacity support from the armed forces.
Wirral Council’s leader, Cllr Janette Williamson, has warned that the restrictions will be in place until the rising trend in case numbers across the region is reversed, and said local leaders are continuing discussions with Whitehall officials.
She said: “The details of what is being proposed, both the new restrictions and additional help for the region, will be crucial to ensure the maximum protection for our economy and we will not stop until we have the best possible outcome. We are also demanding the Government provide evidence to back up the restrictions they want to put in place to help people understand why they believe them to be needed.
“The economies of northern towns and cities are fragile enough and we recognise that it is vital to do everything we can to protect local businesses and jobs. However, in the face of increasing numbers of people with the virus and the pressures now being seen in our hospitals and intensive car wards – doing nothing is not an option.
“As leader of Wirral Council my priorities as we face this next stage in the Covid-19 pandemic are two-fold – protecting the health and lives of the people of Wirral and defending the borough’s businesses and employees from the worst effects of the increased restrictions. We don’t want these new limitations on our freedom but ultimately we have no choice. However, what we as Wirral Council, and the wider Liverpool City Region, can do is seek the maximum help from Whitehall. While we can’t prevent these additional restrictions we can insist the Government provides the financial support to keep our businesses from going under.
“When the Government announces certain businesses must close we need to recognise there is a massive knock-on effect to the rest of the economy. These businesses have a huge network of suppliers and other businesses linked to and dependent on them and they also need help.”
Cllr Williamson added: “The coming weeks and possibly months are going to be really difficult and I will ensure Wirral Council will be doing everything possible to support our communities and businesses.
“In the meantime we all have to work together to adhere to the restrictions and focus on bringing down the spread of the virus – this is the only way we can be sure to get the restrictions lifted and return to some normality as soon as possible.”