A council leader in Nottinghamshire has urged people to follow stricter coronavirus restrictions in the hope they can go Christmas shopping in December.
The county will be the next region to move into the Tier 3 “very high” Covid-19 alert level at 0001 on Friday, meaning a further 1,161,124 people will be living under England’s toughest coronavirus measures.
David Mellen, the leader of Nottingham City Council, said although he was sorry for the impact on citizens and businesses in the area, he was “very concerned” that the number of people needing hospital treatment was “rising quickly”.
In a video statement, Mr Mellen said: “I’m sorry for the inconvenience that this will cause to citizens in Nottingham and to our businesses.
“But I’m also very concerned about the rising number of people in beds who have tested positive for Covid in our hospitals, they are rising quickly and I don’t want our NHS to be overwhelmed here in Nottingham.
“So, I would ask you to please study these new restrictions and to do your best to keep to them.
“It’s only that way that we can see our levels of infection drop so that we will be able to come out of these restrictions again.
“These will be reviewed in four weeks’ time, so hopefully if the rates have dropped we can be out Christmas shopping in December without having these restrictions on us.”
As part of the Tier 3 measures, people in Nottinghamshire have been informed they cannot purchase alcohol in shops after 9pm, but can buy it in pubs with a substantial meal until 10pm.
The local restrictions also say all hospitality venues can only remain open if they offer substantial meals, or move to a takeaway or delivery service.
Leisure and sporting facilities, including gyms, will be able to remain open in the region, but personal care settings such as tattoo parlours, tanning and nail salons, and piercing services will be forced to close.
Cabinet minister and MP for Newark Robert Jenrick said the news followed “constructive discussions” with local leaders.
Lilian Greenwood, Labour MP for Nottingham South, said on Twitter: “Council leaders across the county, in consultation with their public health teams, must have felt that these measures were needed.
“Personally felt very safe getting my nails done.”
In another tweet, she added: “I hate living under these restrictions but sadly feel they are necessary.”
Ben Bradley, Conservative MP for Mansfield, said although the news is “frustrating”, local infection figures “have caught up” with the most affected areas in the county over the past week.