Northumberland Council leader says tougher restrictions are 'not necessary' for the county as a whole

The leader of Northumberland Council has hinted that the county could go its own way if tougher restrictions were on the table for the North East.

On Monday, October 12, Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out the new three-tier approach to local Covid-19 restrictions, which was followed by confirmation that the whole of the North East will be in the tier two - high category from Wednesday, October 14.

For Northumberland, this means that the restrictions will remain largely unchanged from what had been in place since the middle of September, but different households will now be able to meet in gardens or outdoor public spaces under the rule of six. Up until now, mixing in gardens was banned, while people were advised against meeting up outdoors.

The Liverpool City Region is the only area of the country so far to be placed into the tier three - very high restrictions, which place stricter limits on household mixing and mean pubs and bars that don't serve meals must close.

A statement by the leaders of Sunderland, South Tyneside, Northumberland, Newcastle, Gateshead and Durham councils, the Elected Mayor of North Tyneside Council and North of Tyne Mayor said:

We were clear in our discussions with the Government that stricter measures for our region would not be welcome.

And at the Tuesday, October 13, meeting of Northumberland County Council's cabinet, leader Glen Sanderson said: "We are at a difficult stage, we know we are in tier two now and I think that is quite sufficient for us in Northumberland, they are tough enough already. I certainly would not want to see anything tougher.

"I think we need to look carefully at a Northumberland plan and should there be the threat of tier three that looks like it might be coming towards us, that we are prepared for that, because I do not think the tier three restrictions are necessary for our county as a whole.

"Having said that, we will continue to be advised by public health experts and that will always be the key important thing. Taking public health first, but we must take people with us as well in all of this."

In response to media reports about these possible new measures last week, Northumberland's director of public health, Liz Morgan, told the Thursday, October 8, meeting of the council's health and wellbeing board: "I'm hoping we will be in whichever tier does not impose additional restrictions."

Businesses in the County would also have huge concerns if they were moved into Tier 3.

Laura Hinshaw is from Brick Club Tattoo - she says they'd be really worried.