Posted: 16.10.20 at 14:29 by The Editor
On Monday, Boris Johnson announced to the nation a new three-tier system of regulations across the UK, which has seen Kenilworth placed in the 'Medium' tier, the lowest level of precautions.
However, other areas across the country will face greater levels of restrictions, this includes neighbours in Solihull who are no longer allowed to meet with other households indoors, as they are in the 'High' risk category.
In his statement, Jeremy Wright addressed two main concerns, the first being the geographical divisions that the new regulations are causing.
"The first [decision] is whether it is right to take a regional approach to restrictions rather a solely national one, I think it must be.
"Although there are risks and resentments and potential confusion in applying rules in one part of the country that do not apply to others and challenges in establishing logical borders for the areas affected, the expert evidence presented in the briefings I have attended, nationally and locally demonstrates clearly that the picture of infection and transmission varies significantly across the country.
"The situation in Merseyside is not (or at least not yet) the situation in Warwickshire. Implementing measures needed to control the virus in Merseyside across the whole country would have a disproportionate effect on the economy of Warwickshire without a convincing public health justification."
It has been well documented that Merseyside, and now parts of Lancashire as of today, are facing the toughest levels of local restrictions as they have been placed in the 'Very High' risk category.
Current restrictions in Kenilworth, however, mean that pubs and restaurants will continue to operate a 10pm closing curfew, and diners will still be required to wear face coverings.
Speaking on the curfew issue, Mr Wright said "this has a known impact on the profitability of those businesses but also, as many have observed, has coincided with scenes of many people congregating together on the streets as 10pm arrives.
"The complaints against this policy are therefore that it punishes businesses doing their best to operate responsibly and that the public health benefits are undermined by the behaviour of those leaving them.
"I have considerable sympathy for responsible owners, licenses and managers who I accept are doing all they can do reduce the spread of the virus in their premises, but the inescapable logic of the virus is that it spreads more where people congregate.
"If schools are to be kept open, and the economy kept running in other sectors, restrictions have to be made elsewhere, assuming that we seek to restrict infection, as I strongly believe we must as the interests of those most vulnerable among us, who may well become infected by others."
Not all of Boris Johnson's party were in favour of continuing to insist on the 10pm curfew, including MP for North Warwickshire Craig Tracey.
Backbench MPs forced a vote on the issue. Whilst the majority of the Labour Party abstained, 44 Conservative MPs voted against their own party, although they were ultimately outvoted 299 votes to 82 - a majority of 217.
The majority of Conservative MPs did vote with the party, including Jeremy Wright.
He finished his statement by saying "On balance, I accept that the complexity of a regional approach is necessary to provide the adaptability that seeks to avoid unnecessary economic damage, and I accept that some time open for hospitality businesses is better than no time, which is the likely alternative. I therefore support the measures which are now in force."
You can read the statement in full by following this link.