CLACTON MP Giles Watling said he accepted the measures to move Essex into tier two “with a heavy heart”.

Essex County Council requested the move to slow the current rates of infection across our county.

Tendring remains the worst affected area in Essex with a rate of 81.9 cases per 100,000 people. The rate has increased from just 25.9 cases in the week to October 2.

In comparison. Nottingham, which is in the high level, has an infection rate of 880.4 cases per 100,000.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has now approved the measure.

It means that from Saturday, Essex will be placed into the high level of restrictions - tier two on the new Covid system.

There will be a ban on people mixing with anyone outside their household in an indoor environment.

The Rule of Six would remain in place outside but people would be encouraged to reduce the number of journeys they make each day, particularly on public transport.

Giles Watling said: “Some of the measures are draconian – I think it shouldn’t be Essex wide. It should be much more granular than that.

“The one thing I still have an issue with is the 10pm curfew – it has so many flaws.

“People are drinking earlier, they’re then going home and socialising and spreading the virus and people are also being forced onto the streets at the same time – we haven’t faced that since licensing laws were reformed years ago.

“I’m not a scientist or medical man and we do have to follow the science on this.

“But it is a matter of balance with the economy, which is only going to get worse.

“I would rather we didn’t go into tier two and instead relied on people to be sensible – people have got the message.

“But I reluctantly accept the measures with a heavy heart.”

Under the Government’s new three tier lockdown system, which is based on infection rates, Essex is currently in the medium category.

Health chief Dr Mike Gogarty has called for tougher restrictions amid concerns about the rise in cases in Essex.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

  • Essex health chief Dr Mike Gogarty.

Neil Stock, leader of Tendring Council said he also reluctantly supported the plan.

He said: “I don’t think the lockdown has proved to be an effective way of dealing with Coronavirus, not least because there seems to be no national strategy.

“I did agree very reluctantly with the proposal by Mike Gogarty, an outstanding director of public health who used to be a GP in Jaywick, for us to call to go into Tier 2.

“He persuaded me because numbers are going in a certain direction and Tier 2  would be put in anyway in a few weeks time and we’d be stuck in it for long time.

“But if we go in early, we could nip this in the bud.”

“But lockdowns are not just a slight inconvenience, there will be consequences for small businesses, who are really struggling – and we’re creating a public health and cancer crisis.”

Tourism bosses fear any further lockdown would be a huge blow for the hospitality industry in Essex.