This morning (Thursday 17 December) the Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that Greater Manchester would remain under Tier 3 Covid restrictions.
The senior leadership of Manchester City Council, and the city's Director of Public Health David Regan have reacted to this news:
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “I cannot say that this announcement is not bitterly disappointing so close to Christmas. For many of our businesses the possibility of trading, even in a limited way, would have been a brief respite in what has been a devastating year.
“So many sectors of our economy have faced disappointment after disappointment this year, made worse by a Government unresponsive to the dire situation they were in. As a Council we will continue to fight for them and to ensure a fair deal for the people who make our city the vibrant and thriving place it is.
“Additionally, without a Covid-safe hospitality offer during Christmas week we now run the risk of people finding other ways to socialise which will only increase the number of infections. Businesses are trying as hard as they can to find ways to comply but with the goalposts constantly moving it is becoming an impossible task. Had this decision been made a few weeks ago I’m certain we would be in Tier 2.
“As frustrating as this decision is, I would urge everyone to continue following Covid guidelines. Ultimately the quickest way for rules to be relaxed in the future is if we keep driving down infection rates.
“If we do this Manchester will build back stronger, faster and better than before.”
Joanne Roney, OBE, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, said: “The people of Manchester have worked so hard to push down the rate of infection in the city, but as has been the case so many times this year the decisions on our fate are not in our own hands.
“While this news is not what we wanted to hear Mancunians are resilient, something proved beyond all doubt this year. Our focus now has to be on making our Christmas and New Year as safe as possible.
“As ever I would ask all of our residents to follow the guidelines around handwashing, the wearing of masks and socially distancing. By doing so we will keep our communities safe and continue to push towards the relaxing of Covid restrictions.”
David Regan, Director of Public Health for Manchester, said: “Firstly, a big thank you to Manchester. The rates of new Covid-19 cases have been steadily falling in recent weeks, and that is down to Manchester people playing their part and following the rules carefully to keep each other safe.
“Remaining in Tier 3 is no reflection on how well the rules have been adhered to and although this will no doubt be frustrating for some, it’s vitally important that we do not let our resolve slip now. We must keep infection rates down and protect the NHS, our hospitals and care homes through into the New Year.
“If you are going to see family or friends over the Christmas period, please plan ahead in order to limit the risk of transmission as much as possible. Think about your contacts with your older relatives and friends, along with people with underlying health conditions. We all want to protect those most at risk from the virus before the vaccine programme is fully rolled out.”