Andy Burnham has criticised the COVID Christmas rules published this week – claiming that the government is “allowing too much”.
Leaders of the four UK nations have agreed on a set of guidelines for gathering over the festive holidays – with travel allowed between tiers and borders from 23-27 December.
People are permitted to form ‘Christmas bubbles‘ of up to three households during this period.
However, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has said the rules give too much freedom – suggesting that large portions of the country could end up spending January in Tier 3 as a result.
“It’s allowing too much,” the Mayor told ITV.
“It’s a green light… and what’s the price people may have to pay? A December in a pretty miserable Tier 3 for many people… and then possibly a January in Tier 3.
“It’s too much, I don’t think the government has got the balance right here.”
Burnham suggested that allowing two households to mix “for a couple of days or just on Christmas Day” would have been suffice – with concerns that five days of freedom could result in much tighter restrictions for a longer period after the holidays.
“I would take a much more balanced approach to this,” he added.
“Honestly, I do think this is too much.”
Burnham spent several weeks at loggerheads with the government over local restrictions back in October – with the Mayor accusing Westminster of treating Greater Manchester like the “sacrificial lamb” by asking them to accept Tier 3 rulings.
Greater Manchester was eventually pushed into Tier 3 by force, with the whole country entering a lockdown a matter of days later.
England is set to return to its tiered system once the current set of restrictions end on December 2.
Each region will be assigned a tier on Thursday (November 26) – and the government has warned there will be “no negotiation.”
Some rules will tighten up – with hospitality set to be closed down completely in Tier 3 areas.
The full guidance for gathering over Christmas can be found online on the government website.