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Julian Sturdy - Strong Voice for York Outer

Julian Sturdy

Member of Parliament for York Outer

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Julian opposes York tier 2 decision – demands path to tier 1 from Health Secretary in Commons

November 26, 2020

Julian has challenged the Health Secretary in the House of Commons on the government’s announcement this morning that the City of York will be placed in tier 2 (high alert) restrictions when the renewed national lockdown expires on 2nd December.

York’s virus rate is now down to 132 per 100,000, on the latest figures the lowest in all Yorkshire, an enormous fall from the 279 it was when the original tier 2 was imposed in October.

The new tier 2 prohibits indoor mixing between households in hospitality venues and private homes, and closes pubs and bars that cannot operate as eateries, with hospitality venues only able to serve alcohol with a substantial meal.

Julian asked Matt Hancock in the House of Commons: “As the government continues to impose further unprecedented restrictions on people’s freedoms, it’s important to give people hope and justification.

So as York’s covid rate continues to fall, and is the lowest in Yorkshire, can the Secretary of State outline how we can get to tier 1 baseline as fast as possible, and will he publish the assessment and the data under which York was placed into tier 2,  so we can best judge how to get to tier 1, and when he talks about regular reviews, can I say a weekly review….would be much more desirable.”

The Health Secretary replied that there would be weekly reviews, and more regularly than weekly if necessary. He also confirmed that the data and an explanation for the placement of each area was being published, and that more data would be forthcoming. He added that York’s tier 2 status reflected the need to bring down higher covid rates across North Yorkshire

Leaving the Commons, Julian said: “I am very disappointed by this morning’s decision that York will go into tier 2 from 2nd December.

Besides the alarming economic impact on our large local hospitality, leisure and retail sector, I have serious concerns that without a rapid move towards tier 1, we risk undermining local morale, as the self-discipline that has got us to the lowest virus rate in Yorkshire seems not to yield a relaxation in restrictions, because of higher rates in the rest of the county.

I was a little reassured by Matt Hancock’s answer to me that reviews to positions will be weekly, or even more regularly than that, and the assessment on which York’s placing was decided is being made publicly available. I am following up on this immediately.

I am particularly concerned about what tier 2 would mean for pubs that do not provide ‘substantial meals’, and cannot therefore serve alcohol under the new rules, and have already written to the Health Secretary on this, firmly requesting a review so venues that don’t do food can serve alcohol as under the old tier 2.

If my serious reservations are not addressed, I will struggle to support the government in votes on the new tiered system.”