The Leader of Devon County Council and Chair of the county’s Local Outbreak Engagement Board, Cllr John Hart said in response to today’s announcement about the new tier structure:
“Devon has done well so far in keeping case numbers relatively low and I would like to thank everyone for their actions during the latest lockdown, so I’m disappointed that we have been placed in Tier 2.
“It’s even more vital now that we all stick to the guidelines and maintain social distance, wash our hands regularly and wear masks where required so we can get cases down and get into Tier 1.
“And working with MPs and Team Devon partners I will be strongly lobbying the Government to provide tailored support for our hard-hit hospitality industry, which is losing out significantly during what’s usually their most lucrative period.
“I’m pleased local shops will be able to re-open in the run-up to Christmas and begin to help our economy recover, but in Devon, hospitality businesses are crucial and they need targeted support.
“In the meantime I would renew my appeal to people to stick to the rules to keep themselves and their families and neighbours safe and minimise the pressure on our local health services.
“I welcome the opening of the Nightingale Hospital in Exeter today but, as Boris Johnson has conceded, the South West still lacks hospital beds and this must be urgently addressed.”
The Director of Public Health Devon (Designate), Steve Brown, said:
“Whilst the number of cases across Devon has stabilised, it is clear that the virus is still with us.
“Local cases were rising when previously in Tier 1 and it has only been through the additional restrictions and efforts of residents, that we are now just starting to see a reduction in cases. Going into Tier 2 now gives us the best chance of continuing to keep a lid on cases or even continuing to bring them down.
“The number of cases still out in our communities remains a real concern, particularly in the working age population and among older people – in workplaces, care homes and other settings where people come together.
“We must not let down our guard over the next few weeks, nor throw caution to the wind over the Christmas period.
“It would take little for the numbers to start to increase again and for our hospitals to be put under increased pressure, and none of us should want to pay the price for that in a few weeks’ time or in the New Year.”