Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram has urged Boris Johnson not to return the country to the Tier system as lockdown comes to an end.
In a letter sent in advance of next week’s expected announcement of the timetable for easing restrictions, the Mayor has called on the Prime Minister not to throw away all of the progress made by peoples’ sacrifice and hard work during the latest lockdown and vaccine rollout.
Citing the region’s experiences over the festive period, when the Liverpool City Region was “an island amongst an ocean of higher risk areas,” Mayor Rotheram has warned that a return to such a patchwork set of restrictions risks a return to the confusion over restrictions that went before.
Over the New Year, the Liverpool City Region’s case figures shot up, with many pointing to the influx of outside visitors as a factor in that increase.
In his letter, Mayor Rotheram warns:
“The tier system was supposed to provide consistency and clarity on the restrictions imposed by government. But in practice the system helped to create chaos and confusion and undermine local efforts to tackle the virus.
“Our hard work meant that we were able to maintain our lower tier status in both the pre-and post-Christmas periods, while neighbouring areas found themselves placed into higher tiers. This resulted in a number of unforeseen problems.
“Our region became an island amongst an ocean of higher risk areas. People in neighbouring communities, understandably frustrated by having their freedoms curtailed began to travel into our city region to enjoy the food, nightlife and culture that we are famous for.
“My office received countless complaints from members of the public and business owners alike, all concerned about the influx of people from higher risk areas. We were unfortunately powerless to do anything about it and I think it is no coincidence that our case rates and hospitalisations skyrocketed, with the likelihood that some of the exponential increases may have been caused through migration between the tier system.
“As we move towards the easing of this latest set of restrictions, I implore you to review the evidence of the challenges encountered and re-examine the merits of the tier system. Too much hard work has gone into the vaccine rollout and too much sacrifice made by people throughout this lockdown for us to throw all of that progress away, with what many experts suggest is a blunt instrument, that brings with it its own set of challenges.”