Covid: Heartbreak at Greater Manchester tier 3 status

Covid: Heartbreak at Greater Manchester tier 3 status

Business owners in Greater Manchester fear “viable and brilliant” companies will not survive as the area is moved into the top tier of Covid-19 measures.

It is the third area to enter tier three, after Merseyside and Lancashire.

Businesses including pubs and bars, unless they serve substantial meals, as well as soft play facilities, betting shops and casinos will have to close on Friday just after midnight.

The move has been met with anger, frustration and upset by businesses.

The owner of a Menagerie Restaurant and Bar, on the outskirts of Manchester city centre, said consumer confidence has been knocked by the confusion over coronavirus restrictions.

“We have been operating under restrictions, which are close to tier three for three months now,” said Karina Jadhav.

“While we are allowed to stay open, the restrictions, the confusion and the communication coming from the government has really reduced consumer confidence.

“This has resulted – for us – in a lot of cancellations, people not booking, people wanting refunds.

“So while we are allowed to stay open, we are being restricted to the point where it is difficult to keep the business open in the current circumstances.”

The managing director of Wythenshawe-based Whitehouse Event Crockery said the situation was “heartbreaking”.

The business, which supplies goods including plates and glassware for weddings and events, will not be forced to close down in tier three.

However, the move to the toughest tier of measures would have a direct affect on the number of bookings, said Marc Gough.

“Weddings cannot take place in a tier three environment, so effectively they are stopping us from working with no financial support,” he said.

“This is a viable business – a very successful, viable business – and we have just had no support from the government.

“We have been simply forgotten and it’s heartbreaking.”

Greater Manchester recorded almost 11,000 new cases in the week to 16 October, according to data updated on Monday.

Latest figures show cases rose across most of Greater Manchester in the week to 16 October.

However, the city of Manchester has so far seen a fall compared with the week before.

Even so, it still has a high rate of new cases, with just under 404 per 100,000 people in the week to last Friday.

Rochdale recorded Greater Manchester’s highest rate with 462 cases per 100,000 residents.

Stockport and Trafford have the lowest rates in Greater Manchester, with 266 per 100,000 and 310 per 100,000 respectively.

The managing director of a bar in Burnage said it was going to be a “tough winter” as the hospitality industry adjusted to the new three-tier system.

“It’s really sad. We have done everything we can to keep safe,” said Elena Rowe, from Reasons to be Cheerful.

Reasons to be Cheerful will be among the pubs to close under tier three.

“We have regulars and a lot of them drink on their own, and the space we provide is their bubble and it’s sad that this is going to end for people.

“It’s going to be a tough winter. I’m frustrated and upset,” said Ms Rowe.

The owner of a bar in the heart of Manchester’s gay village said tier three would also force him to close.

John Hamilton, who runs Bar Pop and employees 60 members of staff, said: “I am so upset. The city centre will be like a deserted island.

“We need help. We are independent businesses but slowly and surely we are fading away.”

He said tier two restrictions were “bad enough” and his weekly takings had plummeted from £35,000 to £11,500 and he was struggling to pay the bills.

Mr Hamilton said: “I am decimated – we have nothing.”

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