30 October 2020
Regional leaders have clarified that no changes to restrictions in Birmingham are expected “imminently”, following reports that the city is due to move into tier three Covid rules.
Authorities have confirmed that Birmingham, and the wider region, will not be moved to tier three or ‘very high’ alert level this week. However, leaders report that rising Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions make it “inevitable at some stage”.
Birmingham is currently a tier two or “high” alert level area along with Solihull and a number of other West Midlands local authorities. Staffordshire is due enter tier two restrictions from 12.01am Saturday, 31 October.
Under these rules households are banned from mixing indoors in hospitality venues, among other restrictions.
A move to tier three would see significantly more stringent measures enforced on the hospitality sector. These include; banning households from mixing outdoors in hospitality venues, closing all pubs and bars that do not serve “substantial” meals and limiting hospitality businesses to only serving alcohol with a meal.
For more information on what tier three status would mean for local businesses and the support available click here for the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce’s (GBCC) business Q&A.
Paul Faulkner (pictured), chief executive of GBCC said that although no changes for Birmingham will come into force this weekend, the Chamber will continue to lobby on behalf of businesses which may be impacted by future changes.
He said: “We want to clarify for our members that at present, tier two or ‘high alert’ measures stand - there will be no changes for Birmingham this weekend. However, it is clear that the situation continues to worsen and it is highly likely that tier three measures will come into play in the coming weeks.
“We will continue to work hard to keep businesses informed, connect them to support and lobby on our members’ behalf.
“The current uncertainty is hitting the hospitality sector, and those that rely on the industry and wider footfall, the hardest. This sector has already invested significant sums in becoming Covid secure and adapting to each new round of measures. This continual moving of the goal posts must stop.
“Businesses need clarity on government support over the mid term, with enhanced support for those falling through the gaps and most impacted, and clarity on their exit strategy from these current measures. We (and the local authorities due to manage it) are still all waiting for the details of the tier two grant scheme announced by the Chancellor. Businesses are both feeling huge falls in demand, and need the support, right now.
“We are heartened to see the region’s leaders being proactive in their negotiations and will continue to support and champion the region coming together cross sector, party and beyond to rally around the local business community. At the heart of it, we must work together and as individuals to do our bit to save lives and support the local business community.
"We’ve seen how difficult these measures are for hospitality businesses in Solihull and Birmingham and are sorry to see our members in Tamworth, Lichfield, Cannock and Burton now facing the same challenges. One of the more heartening impacts of Covid-19 measures has been how many have rallied around their local business community, actively supporting their high-streets and local hospitality & retail venues.
"I’d urge the business community across the whole of Greater Birmingham area to redouble that spirit (where they can) over the coming weeks and months whether it’s eating out as households, ordering “at home” kits or finding other ways of championing local businesses in difficulty.
“For those that have plans to visit restaurant or hospitality venues in the city this weekend, we would absolutely urge you to continue to do so in line with existing tier two rules.
"Custom at hospitality businesses are now, perhaps more than ever, vital, and last minute cancellations are extremely damaging for venues striving to operate safely within the guidelines.
“Ultimately, this situation is all about saving lives, at the Chamber we will keep doing our upmost to pull together with our members and stakeholders to Keep Business Moving through this unprecedented time.”
Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said: “To be absolutely clear, no decision has yet been made locally nor by central Government in regards to some or all of the West Midlands Combined Authority area moving from tier two to tier three.
“However, as you would expect there are active conversations between local leaders as to what would be needed from a tier three support package. It is critical we get this support agreed in advance so we could act decisively to protect people’s lives and livelihoods… nothing is confirmed, but it is clear the situation is becoming very serious and if further measures are to be avoided we must bring the rate of infection down. Everyone has a part to play in that.”
Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward, added: “Given the rising case rate and other factors, a move to tier three would seem to be inevitable at some stage and I’m talking to the other Met Leaders, MPs and public health officials on a daily basis as we put our asks together for moving into tier three.
“That’s because we want the Government to work with us to protect lives, jobs and the economy. We don’t want imposition without negotiation. But I have certainly not said that we are going into tier three imminently. That’s not currently the case.”
For advice and guidance on the latest measures and support currently available, businesses can: