“Today’s announcement that the Liverpool City Region will exit the national lockdown into Tier 2 is welcome news and a testament to the sacrifice and reliance of everyone who lives here. We’d like to thank each and every person that helped us to achieve this outcome.
“When we entered Tier 3 restrictions seven weeks ago, we were in a very dangerous situation. We had the highest transmission rates in the country and faced the very real risk that our NHS would be overwhelmed.
“We are really pleased that today we see a more encouraging picture, with cases down by over two-thirds since their peak and COVID related hospital admissions also decreasing significantly, relieving some of the pressure on ICU.
“The balance of evidence shows that although we faced a difficult decision over Tier 3, locally we took the right decisions, at the right time.
“We recognised that action was required, but also fought hard for the financial support for our businesses and workers most affected. We always have and always will try to do the best thing for our people and our businesses.
“However, while today’s announcement is undoubtedly welcome, no one should be in any doubt that many difficult months ahead lie ahead.
“We know that these new Tier 2 restrictions will still be tough for many of our businesses and, until a full vaccination programme has been rolled out, the threat from COVID remains a very real and present danger.
“So, we urge everyone to continue to do what they have been doing so well over the past few weeks: following the guidance, protect each other and protect our health services. The worst thing we could do now is to slow the progress we have made or risk a third wave through complacency.
“So please wear your face covering; keep your distance; wash your hands; keep getting tested; and use these hard-won freedoms wisely.”