// Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson says tougher lockdown restrictions might be needed if current Tier 3 does not work
// Tier 3 is the currently the highest level of restrictions across England, and retail is exempt from it
// Tougher restrictions could mean non-essential retail would be forced to shut
Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson has backed the idea of a possible fourth tier of coronavirus restrictions that could potentially see non-essential retailers forced to shut down.
The city is one of five northern locations currently under Tier 3 lockdown – the current highest level of restrictions in England – due to a surge in local Covid-19 cases.
However, retail is exempt from being forced to shut down under Tier 3.
- Retailers exempt from new lockdown measures in England
- Grocers in Wales have “discretion” over ban on selling non-essential items
- Non-essential retail in Scotland back in lockdown if restrictions implemented
In an interview with BBC Breakfast, Anderson – whose brother Bill was one of 61 people to die with the virus in the city in one week – said he was not opposed to the introduction of “tougher measures if necessary”.
“(The pandemic) has taken untold damage on people’s wellbeing and a huge toll on families where people have died,” he said.
“If anything was required to bring it down faster I would do that.
“However, I want to make sure that we are giving tier three a chance to see if the measures have an impact.”
He added he would review the results of the Tier 3 restrictions in 14 to 16 days’ time.
The i newspaper previously reported Whitehall officials were considering alternative options should the three-tiered system fail to suppress the spread of the virus, with measures including a fourth tier or short “circuit-breaker” lockdowns in areas with the highest case rates.
A fourth tier could see restaurants and non-essential retail stores close, the paper said, and the suggestion comes after the Scottish Government opted for a five-tier model in which Level 4 is closer to the full lockdown implemented in March.
Meanwhile, Wales is currently in the early days of a two-week “firebreak” lockdown that has seen non-essential retailers, and other high street businesses, temporarily shut their doors.
On Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government would “take nothing off the table” when asked about the prospect of a new fourth tier of restrictions.
“We rule nothing out but at the moment the three-tier system is what we’re working to and it’s effective in slowing the growth of this virus but it hasn’t brought this curve to a halt,” he told the BBC.
Anderson’s comments come as a group of 50 Tory backbenchers representing northern constituencies have urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to detail a “road-map out of lockdown” amid fears the pandemic is threatening his election pledge to “level-up” the country.
with PA Wires