Lockdown roadmap: North West reaction to Prime Minister's announcement


The Prime Minister has unveiled his plans for easing lockdown restrictions in England, with pupils returning to all schools on 8 March being the first step.

Outdoor sports such as golf and tennis will be allowed from 27 March and the rule of six will return for outdoor settings, with the stay-at-home order being lifted.

Outdoor hospitality including pubs could reopen as early as 12 April, with indoor hospitality opening no earlier than 17 May, non-essential retail, as well as indoor leisure facilities and hair salons, will also open on 12 April.

Boris Johnson also hinted that all social restrictions could be lifted by 21 June, however, this will be decided by data at the time.

There will also be no return to the tier-system that was in place before the lockdown, but local lockdowns could be enforced if there are outbreaks, the Prime Minister said.


North West Reaction

Damian Waters, CBI North West Director: "The Prime Minister’s roadmap offers hope that the country can get back to business in the coming months.

"The roadmap is a good starting point to the hard yards ahead and caution is rightly the watchword.

"Businesses in the North West back the step-by-step approach to re-opening and an end to damaging stop-start restrictions. And getting children back into the classroom first is as much a priority for business as it is for families across the country."

Mr Waters said that business support, due to be announced in next week's budget, was needed and that it would be an "anxious" wait for most businesses in the next ten days.

Hospitality venues will not be allowed to re-open indoors until May at the earliest. Credit: PA

Sacha Lord, Greater Manchester's Night Time Economy Advisor, said that for many pubs in working-class areas of the North West do not have beer gardens and need to be able to open sooner than the proposed date.

He said: "I extend an open invitation to the Government to visit the North, in particular, the most working-class areas of Greater Manchester which rely on their local, traditional pubs and social clubs for a sense of community and to stave off isolation and loneliness.

"The vast majority of these pubs do not have beer gardens, a luxury only reserved for middle-class areas who have the space and financial capabilities.

"It is once again the working class who are hardest hit by the decisions coming from Westminster during this pandemic."

Mr Lord also said that for many hospitality venues operating outside would only give them the chance to break even.

He added: "The hospitality sector has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on ensuring venues are Covid secure and we still have no data to confirm they are a high-risk area of transmission. I see no justification for the delay in reopening."

Ian Watson, CEO, Hotter Shoes - the UK's biggest footwear manufacturer,based in Skelmersdale said: "It's good to see a route map for the reopening of non-essential retail, however, I worry it is still lacking in confirmed dates and reliant on many ifs and buts."

PRESCOT

ITV Granada Reports Merseyside Correspondent Andy Bonner was at the Royal Oak in Prescot to get the latest reaction from the hospitality industry.

WIGANITV Granada Reports correspondent Rob Smith was at a shopping centre in Wigan to get the reaction from the retail industry which has been hit so hard by the pandemic.

BLACKPOOL

ITV Granada Reports correspondent Sarah Rogers was at what is billed as the country's largest indoor waterpark in Blackpool for reaction from our valued tourist attractions.