Region holds its breath as decision over what tier is will be in is made

The region was holding its breath today waiting to see in which tier the government places Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin when details of the restrictions as we come out of lockdown are announced.


The rate of Covid-19 infection in both areas has fallen sharply in recent days suggesting lockdown measures may well be having the desired effect.

Now civic leaders are hopeful that the area will avoid the very strictest Tier 3 regime and instead be placed in either Tier 2 or Tier 1.

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Boris Johnson is finalising the finer points for a new set of localised restrictions to be made public on Thursday.

The leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, Shaun Davies, said: "From what I’m seeing from elsewhere Telford and Wrekin should be in Tier 1 or 2.

"Government need to understand from us the local picture and we are pushing to explain our circumstances to them. But at the moment their minds and ears seemed to be closed."

He said the council was strongly making the case.

"Our numbers were above the English average as the English average began to fall but we are now seeing the impact of the November lockdown."

Telford and Wrekin's rate dropped by 121.7 to 252 per 100,000 people in the seven days to November 19. In Shropshire the figure dropped by 83.8 to 169.3.

The leader of Shropshire Council, Peter Nutting, said it would be extremely unfair if Shropshire was joined to the rest of the West Midlands where numbers are much higher.

"Our chief executive and Director of Public Health are making the case, strongly that Shropshire should sit in an area with Telford and Wrekin, Hereford and Powys," he said.

"When lockdown began it looked like we would be moving from Tier 1 into Tier 2.

"It is really difficult. We want to see the economy get going again but we have to play it safe. We are talking people's lives here."

"We must stick to the rules to protect the population."


The different between Tiers 2 and 3 are wide reaching.

Under Tier 2, pubs and bars that serve meals can open, as can cinemas and other forms of indoor entertainment. Up to 2,000 fans will be allowed into football stadiums, while indoor live performances for up to 1,000 people will be allowed.

In Tier 3 all of this will be off limits.

Tier 2 could see fans at Shrewsbury Town and Telford's football grounds and theatres re-opening.

In all tiers indoor and outdoor sports are returning.

Fitness instructor Annalie Gilliver said she had everything crossed that her classes would return next week.

The owner of Fitness Flow, Annalie runs face to face classes in Oswestry, Ellesmere and Shrewsbury. They stopped overnight in March with her classes going, very successfully, online. After the first lockdown she reopened classes under strict Covid security and kept the online groups.

"It's looking promising for face-to-face classes next week, I'm just waiting to hear which tier we are in," she said.

Organisers of Shrewsbury's Running Festival said a Tier 1 or 2 category would have its March event back on track - or rather on the streets of the county town. It was one of the last mass participation events to be held in Shropshire before the initial lockdown in the Spring.

Wales has not yet announced whether it will continue to have a country wide rule or move to tiers.

Assembly member for Powys, Councillor Russell George, said: " "Here in Powys, we have a comparably lower level of infection per 100,000 of the population compared to other areas of Wales. Where we have had cases in Powys, these have been dealt with quickly by Powys Teaching Health Board and other authorities. Therefore, I’m more persuaded by the World Health Organisation's view that blanket national lockdowns are not the most appropriate approach.

"My fear for Mid Wales is that any national lockdown will unnecessarily penalise the people of Powys from seeing their families, friends and loved ones, which would in turn have a detrimental effect on people's health and wellbeing. Earlier this month we came out of the Wales-wide lockdown, I am of the view that a targeted approach to tackling any outbreaks is the best course of action.

"An urban solution which may be suitable for South Wales isn't right for rural Mid Wales. In areas such as Powys, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire which cover approximately 40 per c of the land mass of Wales, low cases of Covid-19 have been, and continue to be reported. I certainly hope that we will see further targeted approaches, rather than blanket national rules which may not be appropriate for all areas of Wales."

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