Leaders in Nottinghamshire have shared their thoughts on what they think should happen next for the county when national lockdown restrictions end.
Latest infection rates show cases are going down week-on-week across all parts of Nottinghamshire. Nottingham has seen a huge increase of 1,968 cases but this is due to a change in the way Public Health England records positive tests – and it reflects a surge seen in early October.
They also indicate Broxtowe, Gedling, Nottingham, Newark and Sherwood and Rushcliffe have rates below the national average.
Bassetlaw has the highest infection rate in the week leading up to November 13, standing at 412.1, followed by Mansfield at 331.2 and Ashfield at 301.
Bassetlaw’s rate is close to that seen in Nottingham when the county moved into tier 3 restrictions, when it stood at 464.4.
By contrast, Rushcliffe’s most recent seven day rate was recorded at 211.4.
Lee Anderson, MP for Ashfield, says he wants areas to be judged individually on how they’re coping, instead of the county as a whole being placed under a certain tier by the Government.
He said: “In my opinion, and my view has always been, areas should be judged individually when it comes to different tiers.
“Before, I wasn’t happy when we saw massive rates in the city, and not nearly as much in Ashfield, and we were all put in together – I don’t think that’s fair.
“I think at the end of lockdown next month, they need to look at Ashfield by itself. If our rates are coming down we can move into a tier system that’s better suited for us.
“I also don’t want to see any extra measures just for Nottinghamshire bought in like last time, which I wasn’t happy with.
“I don’t think this was fair on our beauty industry – who I want to see back to work as soon as possible. A lot of small businesses have suffered more than enough.”
Meanwhile, Jason Zadrozny, leader of Ashfield District Council, said: “Firstly, we’ve had no prior information from the Government on what is going to happen, and we don’t know what the figures are going to look like in two weeks’ time.
“I hope to see Ashfield and other districts put in tiers separately. For Ashfield, maybe in tier 2, to keep people safe but also get businesses back open if possible.
“I’m still out and about working and from what I can see in Ashfield people are following the rules. The High Streets are basically empty, there are no big queues for the supermarket so I hope to see that rewarded. It is getting colder and darker so I expect to see less people in parks, too.
“So many people are desperate to be back to normal for Christmas. I obviously want us to have no restrictions, as does everyone, but I’m not confident that’s going to happen right away.”
The Government has stated decisions about which tiers different areas will fall into will not take place until the end of lockdown, but Gedling Borough Council leader John Clarke wants to give local businesses more time to prepare ahead of the Christmas period.
He told Nottinghamshire Live: “I have asked for a meeting with all the council leaders together to discuss this – I’d like to see us moving forward with a plan.
“It would be great if we could get our businesses up and running by the Christmas festivities. It’s distressing to see ‘tier 4’ mentioned, and I think there’s got to be some reward for people for reducing our infection rates across Nottinghamshire.
“I had tried to get the ‘tier 3 plus’ that we had put in across the whole county two weeks earlier, which I think could have made a big difference. But there was a lot of dithering about it.”
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He added: “If I was a business, I would want to know what is happening as soon as possible. So that is what I am striving to do, get an indication of what is going to happen next.”
He added he wants to see smaller local authorities, such as Gedling Borough Council, given more power and responsibility when it comes to testing and potential vaccinations going forward.
Jonathan Gribbin, director of public health for Nottinghamshire, said: “National lockdown was introduced to save lives and protect local health and care systems by bringing down infection rates.
“In Nottinghamshire we have seen some reduction in rates including amongst people aged over 60.
“But the reductions have been modest, they have yet to develop into a sustained downward trend, and our local health and cares system continues to face severe pressures. Looking into 2021, the rollout of an effective vaccine is a cause for optimism.
“More immediately, the measures which government makes for when we come out of national lockdown must balance the imperative to open up the economy with the need to avoid a resurgence of infection.
“Each of us can take steps to protect ourselves and those close to us. We can remind ourselves that if we stick with lockdown restrictions and the Hands, Face, and Space guidance then we are also playing a positive part to reduce the number of people who end up in hospital with Covid-19.”