Leader of the Council, Cllr Russ Bowden, has reflected on positive initial discussions held between the council and government over the prospect of Warrington becoming a ‘very high’ risk (tier 3) local COVID alert area.

Warrington is currently designated a ‘high risk’ area (tier 2), but with the continued and stubbornly high levels of coronavirus in the town, discussions are ongoing to determine whether Warrington’s local alert level should increase.

Cllr Bowden said: “We have initiated talks with the government about Warrington’s local COVID alert level increasing to tier 3, working through the practicalities of what this could mean for our town.

“We have done all we can to provide support and guidance to our residents and businesses throughout the pandemic, but the evidence shows that despite our best efforts, cases of coronavirus in Warrington are not decreasing.

“I do have concerns about the impact on local businesses and jobs if Warrington goes into tier 3, and I’m particularly worried for our hospitality sector and those whose businesses are connected to the industry. The discussions we have held with government so far, however, have been honest and realistic. If Warrington is to enter tier 3 restrictions, I will do all I can to ensure there is an acceptable level of financial support made available for our businesses and their staff. This is an absolute priority for me.

“We cannot ignore the stubbornly high case numbers of coronavirus in the town, with more people being admitted to hospital and, distressingly, more people being taken by the virus. I therefore appeal to our residents to keep doing your bit, follow the guidance and restrictions and continue to play your part in protecting yourselves and your loved ones.

“In the meantime, I will continue to lead these proactive discussions with government to ensure that if we do enter the ‘very high’ risk category, Warrington secures the best possible support agreement.”

For more information, visit warrington.gov.uk/coronavirus