Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce
Due to recent reports regarding Birmingham becoming a tier 3, “very high” alert level area we have produced the below business Q&A to clarify the situation.
This blog post was correct at the time of writing (30/10/20). For the latest news subscribe to ChamberlinkDaily here.
Will Birmingham be going into tier 3/very high alert this weekend?
No – Birmingham remains at a level 2/high alert level and will not be facing tier 3 restrictions this weekend.
However, due to a rising case rate and hospital admissions it is very likely that it (and potentially the West Midlands Combined Authority area) will be moving to tier 3 next week or the week after. As a result, we want to ensure businesses are aware of what this would mean for them.
What do tier 3/very high alert restrictions mean for businesses?
The main changes for businesses apply to the hospitality, accommodation & leisure sector:
Households are also advised against travelling in or out of a very high alert area but there are exemptions for work purposes. Click here for more information on very high alert restrictions.
There are additional local variances depending what has been agreed with the local authorities in question and where their data shows COVID-19 is spreading. For instance, business closures in areas such as Lancashire, Liverpool and Greater Manchester also apply to betting shops, casinos, bingo halls, soft play centres and car boot sales.
At present, the West Midlands Combined Authority local authority leaders and the West Midlands Mayor are negotiating with Government what a “tier 3” alert level would look like for Birmingham or the region in order to be prepared ahead of a move to tier 3 (which is likely to come at short notice).
What support is available?
These measures represent a significant impact on hospitality businesses directly and the wider visitor economy and non-essential retail through significantly impacting demand.
There are a number of existing support measures and protections available (click here for more detail).
Those specific to tier 2 and 3 areas are:
The grant schemes will be managed by local authorities – however they are still waiting for a number of details from Government before they can open for applications. The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce are working closely with local authorities in the area to share members’ needs and work to ensure grants reach businesses as soon as possible.
The job support scheme will be managed by the Government (in a similar way to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - furlough). It will open for applications on the 1st November, find out more here.
Each tier 3 area is also able to negotiate additional business support packages with the Government. This is currently forming a significant part of the negotiations underway between government, the West Midlands Combined Authority local authority leaders and the West Midlands Mayor.
How are tiers/”alert levels” decided?
A number of factors go in to determining the alert level of a local authority area. These include the case rate (number of cases per 100,000 – generally anything over 250 per 100,000 increases the likelihood of entering tier 3), hospital admissions for COVID and number of patients in intensive care for COVID (in order to monitor if the NHS is in danger of being unable to cope with rising cases).
These measures do make it difficult to predict when exactly an area could be moved in to “very high” alert as the situation can change rapidly. However, Birmingham has seen a steady worsening of the situation in recent weeks and, as a result, a move to tier 3 is highly likely within the near future.
How can the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce help?
The GBCC working hard to #KeepBusinessMoving through this challenging time. We are committed to keeping businesses informed, connecting them to support and lobbying on our members’ behalf. If you are a Chamber member please speak to your relationship manager. All businesses can:
Director of policy and strategic relationships
Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce