Lord Street in Southport. Photo by Andrew Brown Media

Tens of millions of pounds will be available to help businesses in Southport, Formby and the rest of Sefton impacted by the new extended Covid-19 safety restrictions. 

The new measures are due to come into force at one minute past midnight tonight. 

From that point, residents in Sefton and other boroughs in the Liverpool City Region (Liverpool, Wirral, Knowsley, St Helens and Halton), plus those in Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough, must not meet anyone outside their household or bubble in any indoor setting, including private homes and gardens

These measures will be enforceable by law and subject to fines.

It comes after incidence rates in the Liverpool City Region, including Sefton, passed 170 per 100,000.

The Government also recommends that people do not meet with anyone outside their household or bubble in outdoor public spaces, such as parks and outdoor hospitality.

Alongside these measures, the Government has provided  £7 million of funding to the local authorities affected to support them with their vital work.

And now the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority in combination with Sefton Council, Liverpool City Council, Knowsley Council, Wirral Council Halton Council and St Helens Council, have pledged to provide “tens of millions of pounds” to help local businesses affected by the new rules. 

The councils have not revealed the exact amount available and say details of how local businesses can apply will be revealed next week. 

In a joint statement issued tonight, they said: “At one minute past midnight tonight, new Covid-19 restrictions will come into place that will make the already perilous situation for our economy even tougher than it already is.

“As Leaders of the Liverpool City Region, we all understand why further restrictions may be needed to halt the spread of Covid-19 in the communities we represent. But we also know that at the same time they will deal a hammer blow to our economy and in particular to our vital hospitality and leisure sector, on which over 50,000 jobs depend across our region.

“This afternoon, we want to send a message to those businesses that we understand the pain you are going through, your fight to survive and that we stand with you.

“We have made it clear to the Government that with new restrictions must come a comprehensive package of financial support for our economy and that this is particularly urgent for businesses in your sector, many of which have already reached breaking point.

“And, as elected leaders, we are collectively committed to Build Back Better from Covid-19. But we know that once a business is gone it is gone and that if we do not act now to protect our economy from these new restrictions, we risk having nothing to build back from.

“So, our teams are now working at full-tilt, in partnership across the Combined Authority and our six Local Authorities, to identify and re-purpose tens-of-millions of pounds into a package of emergency interim financial support.

“The details of this are currently being worked through and whilst we know we can’t provide funding for every single business across the Liverpool City Region, we aim to support as many as practicably possible with the funding we have.

“We have taken this extremely difficult decision with the aim of providing last resort, stop-gap funding to keep viable businesses going in the short-term.

“We hope to be able to announce the details of the fund early next week and urge those businesses who are teetering on the edge to hold fire on any immediate decisions until we have further details on what financial support we are able to offer.”

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com

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