Greater Manchester tier 3 confusion is ‘win-win’ locally for Burnham | UK news

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While residents of Greater Manchester were relieved to finally receive a decision on whether the region would go into tier 3 lockdown, most did not view local leaders’ inability to strike a deal with the government as a failure.

As the mayor, Andy Burnham, gave his press conference outside The Bridgewater Hall, Steve Steinsberg – who had been out for “the last few pints before we draw up the drawbridge” – said he was “not a Labour man” but was with Burnham all the way.

“I just think there’s been a major commitment at a national level to the north and this is the time to prove: is it real or isn’t it? At the end of the day, who do you believe: local people who’ve got their feet on the ground or national people who seem to be operating with a different set of numbers?” he said.

Over in Chorlton, a leafy suburban area in South Manchester with a number of independent bars, Tom Page, 23, said he believed the situation was “politically a win-win” for the mayor. “The progress the Tories made in the last election has been lost because people in Manchester have no choice but to stand with Burnham.”


Under the latest restrictions, Chorlton Tap, where Page is assistant manager, will close as there would not be enough demand for pub food from regulars. While waiting for the decision on tier 3 to be made, staff had already stopped ordering stock such as cask ale, and were glad that at least they now knew what was happening.

But, said Page, the lack of a solution around the furlough scheme for hospitality staff would be “a bitter to pill to swallow when you see how much the government has spent on things like track and trace.

“I don’t know how they’re going to calculate it with those on zero hours, if they’ll only look at the hours they’ve been doing since lockdown was eased – which have been reduced.”

While the general consensus on the ground was that greater restrictions were needed to curb coronavirus rates, many people said they had either been following their own rules or had seen others obviously breaking current lockdown measures in the region.

Most obvious, said Page, was that people had not been adhering to a “performative” ban on households mixing in indoors venues like pubs, as it was “impossible” to enforce.

Aiden Clarkson

Aiden Clarkson: ‘I think there’s a willingness to try and do the right thing.’ Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

Outside his home in Old Trafford, information governance officer, Aiden Clarkson, 33 – who had also backed Burnham – said he thought people in Greater Manchester were being “sensible” but had not fully complied with government rules since the Dominic Cummings incident.

“When my wife gave birth in August, my mum and dad moved in for two weeks. They shielded for three weeks before, but it wasn’t within the guidelines then,” he said. Although he was unsure how those living in more unstable situations would cope with stricter measures on socialising, he added: “I think there’s a willingness to try and do the right thing.”

A stone’s throw away, shopping for vegetables at Manchester Superstore, Basri Acar, 43, agreed with the tier 3 regulations on the basis that “we need to be really careful” about curbing the spread of the virus, but said he and his family had created their own system of checking they did not have symptoms before visiting each other at home.

Basri Acar:

Basri Acar: ‘Why can you have six people in a restaurant but not at home?’ Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

“It’s because the rules don’t make sense. Why can you have six people in a restaurant but not at home?” he said.

Also shopping at the store, Bernice Brown, 64, said that even during the national lockdown she noticed neighbours having visitors over at the extra-care accommodation she lives in.

‘Brutal’: Andy Burnham reacts to news of government’s tier 3 package live on TV – video

“I’m hoping people will follow the rules, but it’s very difficult for a lot of people. It’s hard when you can’t see your family and friends.”

“It feels like you can’t win,” she added. “Burnham is sticking up for people in poverty, but it feels like the government do need to deal with it because we’re talking about people’s health; people are dying.”

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Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Greater Manchester tier 3 confusion is ‘win-win’ locally for Burnham | UK news

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