Manchester and South Yorkshire are to be placed into tier three restrictions beginning this weekend.
Following days of intense negotiations Greater Manchester has now been placed into Tier 3 of the government’s lockdown system – meaning pubs and bars which do not operate as restaurants must shut. The Tier 3 rules also mean pubs and bars not serving ‘substantial meals’ must close.
South Yorkshire is to be placed into Tier 3 lockdown from 12.01am on Saturday also forcing pubs and bars to shut.
It affects the council areas of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield, Mr Jarvis told MPs.
Last week, it was announced that Manchester’s region’s Covid-alert level was ‘high’, meaning it would be categorised as a Tier 2 area. Mayor Andy Burnham said ministers “walked away” from talks at 2pm on Tuesday after offering the region a £60m support package for businesses and workers, below the £65m requested by Manchester.
An offer of an additional £60m made to local leaders earlier in the day, already well below the £75m they said was needed was not confirmed by the prime minister, who said only that “other discussions undoubtedly will continue” on business support.
However, Boris Johnson said the government had made a “generous and extensive offer” to help Manchester businesses. The region will now receive £22m, the baseline level for Tier 3 areas to cover Test and Trace and enforcement.
The prime Minister later clarified this was “separate and additional” to other support the government was trying to agree for businesses in the area.
He added: “Our door is open to continue that particular conversation.”
In a Commons statement Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the £60 million offer of extra financial support was still on the table and urged Mr Burnham to “pick up the phone”.
He said: “Of course, we do not want businesses in Greater Manchester to be disadvantaged so that offer remains on the table.
“Our door is open to further discussions with local leaders in the coming days about business support.”
In South Yorkshire Mayor dan Jarvis said a £41m had been agreed between the region and central government, hours after talks over a financial package for Greater Manchester broke down.
This is made up of £11m (£8 a head) of a standard package for testing and tracing, plus £30m of business support.
Earlier this week Mark Halstead, managing director of Red Flag Alert, comments: “Unfortunately, the new local furlough scheme and cash grants will not be enough for many of the struggling bars and restaurants in the North of England to survive a Tier 3 lockdown. They simply don’t have the cashflow and financial health to sustain closing their doors again so soon after the easing of the national lockdown.
“Many of these bars and restaurants are operating on the breadline and the highest level of the new lockdown system will prove the final nail in the coffin. There’s then the concern of how their insolvencies will affect the rest of the supply chain they owe money to. Closing bars and restaurants runs much deeper than the economic woe affecting the premises you see on high streets. It’ll end up costing suppliers’ tens of millions of pounds in write-offs over the coming months, which risks jobs and livelihoods nationwide.”