PUBS, betting shops, casinos, adult gaming centres and gyms across Wirral are to close from tomorrow as part of tough new lockdown restrictions.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that Liverpool City Region - which includes Wirral - will be subject to tough Tier 3 measures, aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus.

Under the measures: 

  • Pubs and bars will close. They can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant - which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.
  • Indoor gyms and fitness/dance studios, sports facilities, leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres and casinos will close;
  • Wedding receptions will not be permitted;
  • People should try to avoid travelling outside their local area, or entering another area rated Very High other than for work, education, accessing youth services, or to meet caring responsibilities;
  • People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in the Liverpool City Region and avoid staying overnight in the Liverpool City Region if they are resident elsewhere.
  • Shops, schools and universities will be allowed to stay open.
  • Restaurants will be allowed to remain open.
  • There will be no social mixing indoors.

The new rules will affect the whole of Liverpool City Region Combined Authority - which includes Wirral.

It is believed the new restrictions could be in place for six months, but will be subject to regular review.

After yesterday's announcement, Wirral council leader Janette Williamson said doing nothing to tackle the spread of Coronavirus was "not an option" adding that although the measures were not wanted they were necessary "to protecting the health and lives of the people of Wirral and defending the borough's businesses and employees from the worst effects of the increased restrictions."

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Leader of Wirral Council, Janette Williamson, said: "Covid-19 cases are continuing to rise in Wirral and across the rest of the Liverpool City Region and until that is reversed we will face restrictions to limit the spread of the virus.

"The economies of northern towns and cities are fragile enough and we recognise that it is vital to do everything we can to protect local businesses and jobs.

"However, in the face of increasing numbers of people with the virus and the pressures now being seen in our hospitals and intensive car wards - doing nothing is not an option.

"As leader of Wirral Council my priorities as we face this next stage in the Covid-19 pandemic are two-fold - protecting the health and lives of the people of Wirral and defending the borough's businesses and employees from the worst effects of the increased restrictions.

"We don't want these new limitations on our freedom but ultimately we have no choice. However, what we as Wirral Council, and the wider Liverpool City Region, can do is seek the maximum help from Whitehall. While we can’t prevent these additional restrictions we can insist the Government provides the financial support to keep our businesses from going under.

"When the Government announces certain businesses must close we need to recognise there is a massive knock-on effect to the rest of the economy.

"These businesses have a huge network of suppliers and other businesses linked to and dependent on them and they also need help.

"The coming weeks and possibly months are going to be really difficult and I will ensure Wirral Council will be doing everything possible to support our communities and businesses.

"In the meantime we all have to work together to adhere to the restrictions and focus on bringing down the spread of the virus - this is the only way we can be sure to get the restrictions lifted and return to some normality as soon as possible."

Announcing the new restrictions during a briefing in Parliament yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "I've spoke to local authorities in the Liverpool city region and they will move into the very high alert level from Wednesday.

"Pubs, bars, gyms and leisure centres, betting shops, casinos and adult gaming centres will all close.

"I'd like to put on record my thanks to steve rotherham for their co-operation in very difficult circumstances.

"We don't want to go back to full national lockdown.

"Can't let the virus rip.

"I take no pleasure in imposing restrictions on business.

"We need to go further."

The six council leaders on the combined authority - including Wirral's newly-elected leader Janette Williamson - have been in talks with the Government all weekend.

In a joint statement after last night's announcement the Leaders of the Liverpool City Region’s six local authorities said:

"Since we were first informed by the Government that, in response to the high and rising Covid-19 cases in the City Region, they would be placing the Liverpool City Region onto new Tier 3 restrictions, it was made clear to us that government would be doing this regardless of if we engaged with them or not.

"Since then we have been in dialogue with high level Government officials to try to negotiate a package of support in the best interests of the people of Liverpool City Region. 

"We share the Government’s grave concerns about the increasing pressure on our hospitals and remain absolutely committed to working with the Government to drive down the spread of the Coronavirus and the number of Covid-19 cases. 

"For anyone who has been is any doubt about the gravity of the situation we face if we do not bring cases down, the preparations announced this morning to step up the North West NHS Nightingale Hospitals may now be a wake-up call. 

"It is therefore now as important as it has ever been that we do everything we can to contain the virus, protect our NHS and save lives. 

"However, we want to be clear that there are some things upon which we have been able to agree with the Government, but others where we do not, such as the level of the furlough scheme. 

"To assist with efforts to bring the number of cases down, we have gained agreement from government for new, local arrangements and funding support for more localised test, trace and isolate and also enforcement, specifically: 

"An enforcement package, with laws, not just guidance and advice, and funding and resources to enforce restrictions where necessary. 

"An effective local Track, Trace and Isolate package with the funding to support it, cooperation on data, local control and the guaranteed supplies and resources required. 

"We also welcome the opportunity to engage logistics and capacity support from the Armed Forces, working alongside our own Local Authority staff and Public Health officials. 

"These measures will be supported by a specific package of financial support to deliver this for our City Region, covering a six-month period and not dependent upon the Tier position of our City Region. 

"In addition to this, we have secured an assurance from the Treasury that in coming to that national position, no Local Authorities placed on Tier 3 restrictions will be put in a position where they are unable to balance their budget this year or to set a legal budget next year.

"Further discussions will take place as a priority over the coming week. 

"However, we must be clear that we have not yet reached an agreement on the wider economic support package that we require. 

"The national furlough scheme is inadequate and risks pushing tens of thousands of low paid workers below the national minimum wage, while the direct support to businesses is also less than that offered during the national lockdown. 

"Yesterday the Metro Mayor spoke with the Prime Minister and this morning attended COBR where he again reiterated these concerns in the strongest terms. 

"We have been assured by government that they will continue to engage in meaningful talks with us on these matters in the coming days and we intend to hold them to that promise.

"In the meantime, we are looking at what economic support can be provided locally, while we await further national government support.”