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South Yorkshire follows Manchester into Tier 3

Published:  21 October, 2020

South Yorkshire has officially joined Manchester in the highest bracket of Covid measures, meaning bars and restaurants not serving seated meals will close.

Both Manchester and South Yorkshire will face the toughest Covid rules from this weekend, with the former officially heading into Tier 3 on Friday and the latter following on Saturday.

The new restrictions will apply to all four local authority areas in South Yorkshire – Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.

As the north of England continues its move into the highest bracket of restrictions, rows continue on how much government support will be given to businesses.

Yesterday, greater Manchester’s metropolitan area was forced into Tier 3 restrictions following the expiry of a government deadline to reach a deal.

Manchester mayor Andy Burnham had been holding out against Tier 3 restrictions until demands for greater compensation for businesses forced to close or operate in a seriously diminished capacity were met by central government.

In a televised statement, Burnham warned that locals faced “a winter of real hardship” and accused ministers of bullying the region into accepting less than their £65m final request for support.

This morning, the Guardian is reporting that Sheffield mayor, Dan Jarvis, has agreed a deal with government.

Still, however, debate around skewed support rumbles on.

Thom Hetherington, restaurant commentator and consultant based in Manchester, tweeted about the “Blatant regionalism” affecting businesses – a view that was endorsed by businesses like local hybrid outfit, Salut.

Hetherington said: “Let's just consider again the madness of this: 1) The North is in Tier 2 for three months. We get nowt. 2) London is in Tier 2 for one day. ‘Urgent offers of more support.’ 3) Northern cities say Tier 3 only with more support. ‘Sorry, no money, stop putting us over a barrel’.”

Burnham, who had made clear that he would comply with the implementation of Tier 3 if no agreement could be reached by the deadline, told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme that he wanted a “fair figure”, saying ever harsher restrictions “pushes businesses closer to the brink”.

He has previously argued for an extension of the 80% furlough scheme pay out, rather than the new Job Support Scheme, which will pay 67% of wages, split between employer and government.

Hospitality trade associations, drawing on recent research conducted on their behalf by CGA, have warned that the UK hospitality sector faces job losses of up to 750,000 this year “without urgent government support”.

Suppliers to the on-trade are being heavily impacted by Covid-restrictions too, with organisations such as the Wine & Spirit Trade Association lobbying hard for extra support.