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Sefton Council leader, Cllr Ian Maher responds to latest Merseyside COVID restrictions

Responding to yesterday’s announcement by the Secretary of State about new COVID-19 restrictions affecting Sefton and Merseyside Sefton Council Leader, Cllr Ian Maher said:

“While I know resident and businesses across Sefton will be disappointed and worried about the Government’s introduction of these latest additional measures, I am afraid they are a necessary part of halting the ongoing rise of confirmed cases across the region.

“The new measures mean that from one midnight after midnight (Saturday 3rd October), households are banned from mixing in any indoor settings and these restrictions will be enforceable by law and subject to fines.

“This is in addition to the current restriction on people mixing with other households in private homes and gardens and pub gardens although we need clarity as the Minister stated yesterday people could see each other in Parks, yet the official statement issued later said they couldn’t, so which is it?

“The new regulations also mean people should only travel for essential reasons including going to work, school or college and that visits to care homes should still only take place in exceptional circumstances. Additionally, people should not attend sporting events as spectators.

“The 10pm curfew for pubs bars restaurants and cinemas remains in place.

“This news will be a blow to people across Sefton who have made enormous sacrifices and efforts through the pandemic but I would, once again, urge them to follow these new restrictions to protect Sefton’s communities, its vulnerable, its businesses and its economy.

“I would also plead with people not to make the fact that these new measures don’t come into effect until a minute past midnight on Saturday, an excuse to go out and party tonight as they would be putting themselves and their vulnerable relatives at increased risk.

“And, I would urge all members of Sefton’s hospitality industry to make sure they have the measures, including track and trace QR code posters, social distancing and thorough cleaning regimes, in place now.

“Sefton’s residents, communities and businesses have shown already how far they are prepared to go to follow the regulations and protect the most vulnerable people in our Borough.

“I want to thank them again for that effort and for the commitment I am confident they will show in following these new measures.”

Response to new coronavirus restrictions

Responding to further restrictions announced for the region today, Council Leaders, the City Region Metro Mayor and MPs of the Liverpool City Region said:

“As the elected leaders and MPs of the Liverpool City Region, our first priority is to protect the health and wellbeing of the 1.6 million people that we represent.

“It’s absolutely right that we do everything we can to stop the spread of Coronavirus and keep as many people safe as possible. Over the past few days, we have engaged in talks with minsters over their proposals for greater restrictions.

“The measures announced today are a step in the right direction but we need to understand whether they are enough to really address the escalating cases in our city region.

“Therefore, we are requesting that the government provide us with the scientific evidence so we can understand if these measures will be sufficient to prevent the spread of the virus.

“In addition, we are also aware that without appropriate financial support from the government, restrictions will damage businesses and industries – in many cases irretrievably – when in normal times they are perfectly viable.

“Our region is an international destination, and our visitor economy is worth almost £5bn to the city region economy every year and employs over 50,000 people. Over recent years, our hospitality and retail industries have been vibrant and growing. But we have already seen some businesses go under in the face of COVID and, without Government assistance over the past few months, many more would have followed.

“These new restrictions mean that we will also need an immediate substantial additional package of economic support from the Government urgently and, so far, it is not clear that this is being provided.

“We will now seek further urgent talks with the Government on these measures, any further measures, and what their response is to our request for a financial support package.”

Sefton Council lights up civic buildings to support awareness of event production industries

Crosby Library lit up redSefton Council lit up Bootle Town Hall and Crosby Library in red last night, Wednesday 30 September, in support of the Global Industry Awareness Day for the Production Services and Live Events sector.

Buildings across the City Region were illuminated red as part of the event to highlight to the public and the government what the industry does and its huge economic and cultural value. It was part of a global campaign to draw attention and gain government recognition that the industry still urgently needs support. The campaign is supported by Sefton, who are the Liverpool City Region’s Borough of Culture for 2020.

As part of the event, organised by #WeMakeEvents,  60 beams of white light were pointed into the sky across the UK, each beam representing 10,000 jobs at risk.

Cllr Trish Hardy Sefton Council’s main Borough of Culture sponsor said: “These ‘back-stage’ production-related industries are hugely important to our cultural life and to our economy but are largely unseen. We are proud to be the Liverpool City Region’s Borough of Culture for 2020, despite the impact of current circumstances on our programme, and Sefton Council is pleased to be able to join this event and support them.”

Jane Dawe, Community Partnership Manager at SAFE Regeneration Ltd said: “Live music events are not just about the economic impact and how they contribute to the visitor economy. They can be optimised in order to achieve economic, social and cultural goals, by increasing social capital, encouraging public engagement and help create a sense of identity and belonging. They contribute to a thriving cultural environment, enhancing musical creativity, cultural vibrancy and developing and nurturing talent.

“They are the beating heart of a community and support for those directly and indirectly affected is essential.”

Find out more about the event.

Joint statement from the Metro Mayor, City Mayor and Council Leaders of the Liverpool City Region on potential new COVID-19 restrictions

“As Leaders of the Liverpool City Region, we all understand why further restrictions may be needed to halt the spread of Covid-19 in the communities we represent.

“Cases are now averaging well over 200 per 100,000 people across our region – in some boroughs, much higher. Throughout the pandemic, we have always put the health of our residents first and we will continue to do everything we can to stop the spread of Coronavirus and keep as many people as possible safe.

“However, at the same time, we must be clear that any further restrictions will deal a hammer blow to our economy.

“Our region is an international destination, and our visitor economy is worth almost £5bn to the city region economy every year, employing over 50,000 people. Over recent years, our hospitality and retail industries have been vibrant and growing. But, in the last six months, we have already seen many of these businesses go under in the face of Covid-19 and, without Government assistance over the past few months, many more would have followed.

“While we protect lives, and our NHS, we must act now to protect the businesses that provide the livelihoods and jobs upon which our 1.6 million residents depend.

“And we must also act to protect the public services on which our communities depend. Our public services have been on the front line of Covid-19 response, but this comes at a huge cost. In the last six months alone, our local authorities and Combined Authority have incurred losses of over £350 million in costs and lost income.

“We are already at breaking point. With new restrictions – and who knows for how long they might be needed – our economy and public services may collapse.

“If we do not act now, we will see a legacy of unemployment and ill-health that will cost lives for generations to come.

“So, today, we are calling on the Government to work with us.

“If Government decide that new restrictions are required, they must also provide a comprehensive package of financial support for our economy and our public services.

“And to help us minimise the length of restrictions required, we must secure from the Government an immediate uplift in testing capacity, that matches testing resources to the high level of cases in our region.”

“We are fully committed to working in partnership with national government, but we need the right support and resource to help us at a regional level. And we need it now.”

You can read Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher’s statement here.

Council leader responds to speculation on Government plans for further Merseyside COVID restrictions

Responding today to speculation that the Government is going to announce further COVID-19 restrictions across Merseyside Leader of Sefton Council, Cllr Ian Maher said:

“As a result of the continued rise in numbers of confirmed COVID-19 infections, both regionally and nationally, we understand that the Government is planning on imposing further restrictions across Merseyside.

“This could mean that households will not be able to mix and we await clarification about any other possible restrictions. This is despite the further measured introduced across Merseyside on 22 September.

“While, along with other Merseyside leaders, I would have liked to have seen enforcement of current restrictions before new ones are added, I will support any measures that will protect vulnerable people in our communities.

“However, I have joined Merseyside leaders in writing to the Government to seek clarity on what resources they will make available for us and the Police to enforce these measures.

“We want the Government to extend the furlough scheme, and to provide further financial support for our businesses and their employees, particularly in the leisure, hospitality and sport industries.

“We will await the government’s guidelines on mixing and we have highlighted the potential effects of separating children from key workers in school and early years settings as we as stressing the importance of maintaining resilience in the health and public sectors to minimise isolation.

“Once again, I would like to thank Sefton’s residents and businesses for all the efforts and sacrifices they have made during the pandemic.

“I would also stress how important it is that people stick to the current guidelines and any new regulations, not just to avoid the heavy fines they could face but to protect our communities, our vulnerable, our economy and our future.”

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