'Explosive' two-line email over Tier 3 sent to North East leaders from Government

These are the two sentences that could place the lives of almost two million people into chaos.

Saturday, 24th October 2020, 1:45 pm
Britain's Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

The missive, sent by Robert Jenrick’s private secretary, warns leaders “there may shortly be a need to move Northumberland, Newcastle, Sunderland, North and South Tyneside, Gateshead and County Durhaminto level 3 restrictions.”

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, confirmed that “further conversations” with North East leaders are coming soon.

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She said: “We’re engaging with councils regularly and further conversations with local leaders will follow shortly.”

It comes as Greater Manchester’s Tier 3 restrictions come into force and has left leaders in the region unsure of what any further meeting could entail.

North East was allowed to remain in Tier 2 after being given a reprieve a week ago, but leaders were told they had seven days to show existing measures were working.

Leaders were due to report back to Government this morning but it is not thought that this is the meeting the late night demand was referring to.

This marks the latest twist in a lockdown saga for the region, after leaders of North East councils came together to fight the restrictions.

They signed joint statements earlier in October pointing to a declining rate of infection in the region and urging the Government to not impose “devastating” coronavirus restrictions, with fears for jobs or businesses.

The email in full:

Good evening

I am writing to confirm that, following the recommendation made yesterday by GOLD that there may shortly be a need to move Northumberland, Newcastle, Sunderland, North and South Tyneside, Gateshead and County Durhaminto level 3 restrictions, we will be arranging a meeting between Leaders and Ministers to discuss the latest data.

We will confirm timings ASAP.

What would tier three mean?

:: Pubs and bars would have to close, except those operating as if they were a restaurant and serving substantial meals. Alcohol could only be served with a meal.

:: People would not be allowed to socialise with anybody they do not live with or have a support bubble with, including in any indoor setting, private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events.

:: Socialising in a group of more than six in an outdoor public space, such as a park or beach, would be prohibited.

:: Schools, universities and places of worship would remain open but household mixing would be banned.

:: Weddings and funerals could go ahead but with restrictions on numbers of attendees. Wedding receptions would not be permitted.

:: Exercise classes and organised sport could continue outdoors but indoors only if it is possible for people to avoid household/support bubble mixing or for youth or disability sport.

:: Everyone should ‘try to avoid’ travelling outside or entering the very high alert level area except for necessary reasons such as work, education or youth services, caring responsibilities or as part of a longer journey.

:: People living in a very high level alert area should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK, and anyone resident elsewhere should avoid staying overnight in a very high alert level area.

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