Greater Manchester is expected to enter the toughest level of coronavirus restrictions today meaning pubs, bars and gyms forced to close – despite an imminent legal challenge from the hospitality industry.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly set to sign off the tier 3 measures after the Government reportedly put pressure on the region’s local leaders including mayor Andy Burnham.
Nighttime economy adviser Sacha Lord has said the measures will “rip the heart out of our sector”, and has instructed barristers to challenge the Covid-19 three-tier system.
Mayor Burnham had resisted pressure to follow the Liverpool City Region into the Tier 3 restrictions – which would see bars, gyms and betting shops forced to close – despite soaring infection rates.
However, following a briefing with the deputy chief medical officer for England Dr Jenny Harries on Wednesday, he said he expected to have a further meeting with Mr Johnson’s team on Thursday.
After instructing Kings Chambers, Mr Lord said: “Safety must always come first, but as an operator in Greater Manchester for 26 years, I cannot sit by and simply allow the Government to rip the heart out of our sector.
“We have repeatedly asked for scientific evidence to back up the closure of our pubs and bars and repeatedly been ignored.
“To many operators and major breweries across Greater Manchester, this feels like a cheap headline. The night-time economy in Greater Manchester is our five biggest industry. It is already on its knees and further closure would undoubtedly lead to mass redundancies and bankruptcies.”
Lancashire had expected to also move into tier 3 – however it was reported on Thursday morning that it would remain in tier 2.
Also on Thursday morning, both London and Essex more from tier 1 into tier 2.
Follow below for the latest updates and business reaction throughout the day: