The move to the highest tier of restrictions is likely to be next week.
Councillor Ian Ward has confirmed today that Birmingham and the West Midlands are set to move into the highest tier of Covid-19 restrictions. This announcement comes as cases of coronavirus are increasing in the area and intensive care beds are filling up quickly.
Mayor Andy Street and council leaders are currently leading talks to ensure a full package of support measures and financial backing for affected businesses is in place before the measures come into force. The ‘very worrying’ position of the West Midlands was discussed at yesterday’s Gold Command meeting chaired by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, and as a result, the region is expected to move into Tier 3 next week.
Birmingham council leader, Ian Ward, confirmed this morning that the move to Tier 3 was coming. He said: “We are not seeing cases rise like they are in some areas of the country, our curve is flatter, but cases are continuing to rise.
“But all the indicators are there – we will be moving into Tier 3.
“This week I have had two meetings with local met leaders (other councils in the West Midlands Combined Authority area) and with the chambers of commerce in order to get their view on the economic package and impact.
“The Government are firm on what is on offer (financially) – it will be on a par with the support offered to Greater Manchester and Liverpool region and elsewhere.”
Figures released by the Press Association, with the news agency compiling stats based on the Public Health England (PHE) dashboard, has shown that three parts of the West Midlands now have coronavirus infection rates above some tier 3 locations.
Walsall, Cannock Chase and South Staffordshire have seen the highest infection rates with more than 300 cases per 100,000 people. The city of Birmingham’s rate is now above 250 cases per 100,000 people.
What are the rules under Tier 3?
Tier 3 restrictions typically include:
- People are prohibited from socialising with anybody they do not live with, or have not formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting, private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events.
- The rule of six continues to apply to outdoor public spaces, such as parks, beaches, public gardens or sports venues.
- Pubs and bars are only permitted to remain open to operate as restaurants and alcohol can only be served as part of a substantial meal.
- Schools and universities remain open.
- Places of worship remain open but household mixing is not permitted.
- Weddings and funerals can go ahead with limited numbers of 15 and 30 respectively, but wedding receptions are not allowed.
- The rules for exercise classes and organised sport are the same as in tier 2. They can continue to take place outdoors, but will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with others they do not live with (or share a support bubble with), or for youth or disability sport.
- Travelling outside, or entering, a tier 3 area should be avoided unless for work, education or youth services, to meet caring responsibilities, or if travelling through the area as part of a longer journey.
- Residents of a tier 3 area should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK, while people who live in a tier 1 or tier 2 area should avoid staying overnight in a tier 3 area.
However, negotiations taking place now will also look at any bespoke arrangements that are needed in light of local data, which could mean additional measures.