A tiered system can let us live alongside the virus
When the national restrictions end tonight, the choice England faced was yet more lockdowns, an unrestricted return to normal life or a regional tiered system.
Repeated lockdowns will cause lasting damage. Returning to normal life with no restrictions could lead to tens of thousands of deaths. The best option available was a tiered system with measures according to local circumstances.
This approach is not perfect. The Government needs to be more transparent, allow for a more localised approach, and look again at support for impacted businesses, especially pubs. However, this approach can allow us to live alongside the virus until a vaccine is approved and distributed.
I am pleased that after extensive lobbying from myself and my colleagues, there have been significant changes to the tier system. The new Tier 2 rules will relax the curfew, allow gyms and places of worship to reopen and outdoor sport to resume.
I had hoped we would be able to ease restrictions further, but we can't avoid the situation facing Orpington. While we are starting to turn the tide on coronavirus locally, the virus is still spreading at a faster rate than when we entered lockdown.
That's why I voted in favour of the return of the three-tiered system across England tonight. From midnight, Orpington will be in Tier 2: www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-2-high-alert.
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