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More than 1.5 million people in Merseyside are expected to be banned from mixing in pubs and restaurants under new coronavirus rules due to be announced on Thursday.
Joe Anderson, the mayor of Liverpool, said he expected an announcement on further restrictions for the region on Thursday morning following a meeting chaired by Boris Johnson.
He said households were likely to be banned from mixing in public venues, as they have been for 2 million people in the north-east of England.
“We’ve already been told there will be restrictions and regulations put in place similar to Newcastle and the north-east, so we expect that, but potentially also the government might introduce even stricter measures so we’ve just got to wait now and see what they announce,” he told BBC Breakfast.
Coronavirus cases in Merseyside are averaging more than 200 per 100,000 people – more than four times the England average – with Liverpool and Knowsley recording the highest infection rates in England.
Measures that restrict social gatherings in pubs, bars and restaurants – such as those introduced in part of north-east England – would have a particularly significant impact on the Merseyside economy given its reliance on hospitality and tourism. The industries account for half of the business rates that fund public services in Liverpool.
Anderson said the Merseyside restrictions could go further than those in the north-east and that pubs, restaurants and bars could be restricted to takeaway-only – as in Bolton – or limited to customers who pre-book.
Steve Rotheram, the metro mayor of the Liverpool city region, and six civic leaders, warned on Wednesday that Merseyside’s public finances were “at breaking point” and they needed a “comprehensive package of financial support” from the Treasury when new lockdown measures are imposed.
In a joint statement, the political leaders said their local authorities had already incurred losses of more than £350m since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Senior figures believe more than 20,000 jobs could be lost in the hospitality industry by Christmas without urgent support.
They said: “We are already at breaking point. With new restrictions – and who knows for how long they might be needed? – our economy and public services may collapse. If we do not act now, we will see a legacy of unemployment and ill-health that will cost lives for generations to come. So, today, we are calling on the government to work with us.
“If government decide that new restrictions are required, they must also provide a comprehensive package of financial support for our economy and our public services.”
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Coronavirus: Ban on mixing in pubs and restaurants in Merseyside expected | UK news