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Never mind Tier 2, Liverpool firms are eyeing Tier 1 as infections fall

Written by on 01/12/2020

Waking up in Tier 2 restrictions is a start – but people want more than that on Merseyside.

Nobody is settling for just a little bit more freedom.

They want Tier 1 – the light-touch restrictions that would really start to rebuild their city region’s economy.

The doors at Leaf are finally reopening.

The tea room and bar in West Kirby on the Wirral is one branch of a small independent chain on Merseyside where they can’t wait to get customers sat down and enjoying themselves again.

Owner Natalie Haywood told Sky News they have to be ambitious.

“It’s brilliant we are in Tier 2 and we are so lucky compared to so many others,” she said.

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“But we should be aiming for Tier 1, we need to really take a grip of this virus.”

“The city authorities and businesses have worked so hard to get to this point after an incredibly hard year… If we can get to Tier 1 that would allow us to do so much more,” she said.

“It’d be great for our health, but also just get more of us back working again.”

Natalie Haywood at Leaf
Image: Natalie Haywood says the area should be aiming for Tier 1

They have the same goal at Bongo Bingo – the full-throttle party night that turned the idea of a quiet game of bingo on its head.

They run events all over the world now but their 1,300-capacity venue in the city has stood idle since March.

Host and co-owner Jonny Bongo told Sky News he just wants to perform to a proper crowd again.

“We’re not quite able to do the full Bongo Bingo nights, but it’s a start to be able to open the doors,” he said.

“We are looking at quiz nights or getting people in to watch the football with food options brought in.”

The owners of Bongo Bingo are considering trying events where people are tested before coming in
Image: The owners of Bongo Bingo are considering trying events where people are tested before coming in

Co-owner Joshua Burke said they were discussing pilot events where people are tested before coming in – or further down the line asking people to show evidence they have been vaccinated.

“If it enables us to get our shows back on, then yeah.

“It’s tricky and people will have lots of questions about how it’d work, but we want to be doing shows again and if it helps us do that then we would be up for it and I think a lot of the public would be too,” said Mr Burke.

Infection rates in the Liverpool city region continue to fall and pressure on the NHS has eased – something city authorities put down to the mass testing pilot scheme and the high-profile public health campaign they’ve run.

As they enter Tier 2, businesses are being warned they will face even tougher penalties if they are caught flouting COVID rules – nobody wants to go back and sacrifice the progress that’s being made.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

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