Mayor Andy Burnham will attend a government meeting this morning to learn the fate of Greater Manchester – which could be moved up to the highest local COVID alert risk category.
The region’s leaders and hospitality members fiercely campaigned against the region being placed into Tier 3 – essentially a local lockdown – when the new tier system was announced on Monday (12 October).
And they appeared to have won.
Later that afternoon, in the House of Commons, Boris Johnson confirmed that only Liverpool City Region would be ranked within the ‘very high’ risk category – with Greater Manchester instead placed in Tier 2.
But within hours, discussions were already taking place as to whether Greater Manchester (along with Lancashire, our Tier 2 and geographical neighbours) should in fact be reclassified.
A move to Tier 3 would mean the closure of pubs and bars (that do not serve food), gyms and bookmakers, as well as a complete ban on all household mixing.
But local leaders have pledged to fight the restrictions all over again – even threatening legal action.
“Since one meeting on Friday, the Government has not discussed these matters with us,” Mayor Andy Bunrham stated.
“Instead, the pressure is being piled on via media briefings. Later today I will set out why the current Tier 3 proposal is fundamentally flawed and why we won’t accept it.”
Reports surfaced last night (14 October) that health ministers were officially recommending Greater Manchester should be recategorised.
Despite saying he would make no comment until Thursday’s meeting, Burnham said he “felt compelled to do so” after hearing the news.
“At no point during tonight’s briefing was this news communicated to us,” he tweeted.
“Media told first once again. Our position has not changed.”
Burnham is set for a meeting with the government later this morning (15 October) to learn the fate of Greater Manchester.
Manchester MPs will be talking to the Minister of State Helen Whatley at 10.45am.
This could be the second time the government has rapidly changed measures for Greater Manchester just hours after making them law.
Back in September, ministers announced they would lift restrictions in Bolton and Trafford – which included a ban on households mixing indoors – only to reimpose these rules on the same day both boroughs were due to be released.
Following the meetings with local MPs this morning, Health Secretary Matt Hancock is due to provide an official update in the House of Commons.