BOTH of York’s MPs say they believe the city should move into Tier 1 next week – but they both also think it probably isn’t going to happen.
Coronavirus infection rates have been steadily falling in the city since the Government decided last month to place York in Tier 2 restrictions, under which pubs can open but can only sell drinks with a ‘substantial meal.’
Some landlords have said this is unviable and some pubs won’t survive.
Tiers across the country are set to be reviewed next week by the Government, and York Outer Tory MP Julian Sturdy and York Central Labour MP Rachael Maskell argued that residents’ hard work in getting the city’s rates down should be rewarded with a move into Tier 1, involving more relaxed restrictions.
Mr Sturdy told The Press he remained very clear that York needed to be put into Tier 1,’ to fairly reflect our relatively low virus rate,’ and he would continue to press Ministers firmly.
He said:”I believe the Government needs to move rapidly towards a more localised, rather than regional approach, so that council areas like York where residents have worked hard to get coronavirus under control are not clobbered because of their proximity to higher virus areas.
“It was only on the basis of assurances from my fellow Yorkshire MP, the Chancellor, that this would indeed happen within weeks that I very reluctantly voted for the new tiers system on December 2.`
“If this does not happen, then I will have no option but to vote against extending the tiers measures at the next opportunity in late January.”
But he said that to get into Tier 1 this coming week, the city was reliant on rates coming down sufficiently across the rest of North Yorkshire, as it still formed one restrictions region.
“Although most of the county is now close to York’s low virus rate, Scarborough sadly remains well above the UK average, which makes me somewhat pessimistic about our chances this side of Christmas.”
Ms Maskell said York had ‘done exceptionally well’ in reducing infection rates, due to the hard work of people across the city.
“I believe that this dramatic fall in infections should be met with a fall in Tiers from Tier 2 to Tier 1,” she told The Press.
“However we have had no indication that any area is going to move down a Tier ahead of Christmas, not least as there is significant concern that if people are off-guard over Christmas, then infections could rise again.
“Our infection rates do warrant a review to see if we should move into Tier 1, and I have been making the case that York is the prime place for moving Tiers.
“Until this point, I believe more economic support is crucial to assist our challenged economy.”