Southport is expected to see tougher Covid-19 restrictions coming into force next week as cases of the virus continue to rise.
No definite decisions have yet been made as Ministers consider “a range of options”.
It is believed that new restrictions will be announced on Monday with the measures coming into force on Wednesday.
England is due to be divided into three tiers, depending on coronavirus risk level, with areas within North of England hit spots such as Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region – including Southport – expected to be in the top tier of restrictions.
Covid-19 figures revealed last night show that Sefton, which includes Southport, is among Merseyside boroughs in the top 10 for Coronavirus cases in England.
The left hand column shows cases per 100,000 in the week up to October 4, with the figures in brackets the number of news cases. The figures on the right shows the figures for the previous week.
1 – Knowsley 574.7 (867), 334.7 (505)
2 – Liverpool 551.6 (2747), 342.3 (1705)
3 – Manchester 541.5 (2994), 307.0 (1697)
4 – Nottingham 496.8 (1654), 94.3 (314)
5 – Newcastle upon Tyne 479.8 (1453), 298.9 (905)
6 – Burnley 403.7 (359), 373.4 (332)
7 – Leeds 363.5 (2883), 170.3 (1351)
8 – Sheffield 358.2 (2095), 120.9 (707)
9 – Sefton 350.6 (969), 226.8 (627)
10 – Exeter 338.6 (445), 54.8 (72)
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said today: “We are currently considering what steps to take.
“We will continue to take a local and proportionate response.”
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman denied that final decisions had been made on the three-tier package, insisting that Ministers are still “considering a range of options”, while a senior No 10 source said that some elements of the plan being discussed in public were inaccurate.
Some media today have speculated today that hospitality businesses such as restaurants and bars may either be asked to close or see opening hours restricted, as has happened this week in parts of Scotland.
Most of the restaurants and bars in Southport are very much open this week, although a couple of venues have temporarily closed their doors until Covid-19 cases come down.
Skylight, on Lord Street in Southport, has also made the decision to close temporarily.
They said: “New restrictions in the North West have been impacting business, especially small ones like us.
“To be in line with restrictions and do our bit to bring the R level down, the best way we decided is to close our shop for a couple of weeks.
“We will be back soon once the restrictions are eased a bit and serve our customers with the same energy back again.”
Angie and Andrew from The Grasshopper, on Sandon Road in Hillside in Southport, said: “The safety of our customers and staff is paramount to us at The Grasshopper.
“We have endeavoured to operate in a Covid secure manner and have followed all Government guidance.
“However with the rapidly increasing infection rate locally we feel that it will only be a matter of time before a customer is exposed to the virus.
“We have decided to put everyones’ safety ahead of profit and have taken the difficult decision to close for a short period.
“We will continue to offer home delivery for fresh real ale and cider and wine via our online shop, and have extended our delivery area.”