ALCESTER and Studley are to remain in Tier 3 along with the rest of Warwickshire following the review of the tiers by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Stratford District Council had issued a Judicial Review against being placed in Tier 3 two weeks ago and hopes had been high that, although the review had been rejected, the district’s Covid levels were low enough to warrant going into Tier 2.
In a statement District Leader Councillor Tony Jefferson said: “This is bitterly disappointing news that Stratford-on-Avon District remains in the highest tier restrictions.
“Especially as we have all worked really hard together to keep the level of infection rates down locally, compared to the rest of Warwickshire.
“I would like to thank everyone for doing their bit and sticking to the rules and hope that we do get to see the benefit of this in the future.
“When we embarked on our legal challenge to the original Tier announcement following the second lockdown, the District Council has been supportive of all of the measures that the Government has put in place throughout the pandemic and shared the common objective of keeping our residents safe.
“But the frustration against this decision still remains, despite being assured of being reviewed at a lower level.
“Nevertheless, it is important to remember that being in the Very High Alert category is not just about infections rate and falling cases, it’s more complex than that.
“We have to look at the rates in all age groups, particularly older people who are more vulnerable to the virus; and we have to take into consideration the pressure on our local hospitals and NHS services.
“We will continue to work with residents, businesses and communities and with the Government to ensure that the maximum support is made available to them.
“We know our hospitality businesses across the District will all be affected and this will have a devastating impact on our future economic recovery.
“However, it has to be said that hospitality businesses also need time to prepare to enable them to open safely and for them the worst possible position is continued uncertainty.
“What has been very noticeable in the responses I have had to our decision to challenge the Government is the level of concern people have for our hospitality industry.
“This is in the context of Stratford-on-Avon District being the fourth hardest hit local government area in the country and the worst hit in the West Midlands.
“The only good news is that the Government has now accepted the principle that lower tier local authorities can be considered separately from upper tier authorities.
“So, if rates diverge in future Stratford-on-Avon District can be considered separately from Warwickshire. This may be very significant in the New Year when I hope all our metrics show reductions and we can then escape Tier 3.
“I would ask everyone to continue to follow the guidelines and help us to get out of Tier 3.”