THE Tees Valley will not be moving into the highest tier of local lockdown restrictions, it has been confirmed this afternoon.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, who has been in a meeting with council leaders and Downing Street officials this afternoon, confirmed the Government is not proposing to move the region from its current ‘High’ Local covid alert level to the ‘Very High’ category for the time being.
It means Darlington, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Hartlepool and Redcar and Cleveland will remain in Tier 2 of restrictions for the time being.
Downing Street took the decision due to a flattening of the number of cases across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.
Government officials want this number to come down further and will continue to monitor the data over the coming days, and if this trend continues, the Tees Valley should avoid moving into the highest tier.
The most severe ‘Very High’ restrictions include the closure of pubs, bars and gyms and no household mixing either indoors or outdoors, as well as further restrictions on travel and overnight stays.
As a result of this, Mr Houchen is making a renewed call to people across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool to follow the regulations so the region can avoid the most severe restrictions.
He is also pushing for support for businesses in the Tees Valley, especially for the hospitality sector which will be hit the hardest by more severe restrictions.
Mr Houchen said: “I am pleased to have been able to spearhead this meeting between myself, council leaders and Downing Street officials.
“It was absolutely right that leaders from across the political spectrum all came together to work with Government to get the best outcome for the people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool who are currently experiencing so much difficulty and uncertainty.
“The data shows the number of cases across the Tees Valley is flattening. This needs to come down further, but it shows if we can keep this up, we can avoid the catastrophic consequences of moving into the highest level of restrictions.
“This shows the extremely difficulty sacrifices that everyone is making are not in vain.
“Our position is constantly being reviewed and we should have another update next week, but in the meantime, I strongly urge everyone in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool to follow the rules so that we can get the virus back under control and return to normal as soon as possible.
“None of us want to spend a day longer than is absolutely necessary under these new restrictions, but what we are doing is working, and it would be such a tragedy to waste all our hard work and all the sacrifices we have made so far.”
The Tees Valley Business Support Helpline, set up by Mr Houchen, is still operating for any businesses in need of coronavirus-related support.
To contact the helpline, call 01642 662777.