TOWN centre champions have said it would be “unfair” to impose blanket restrictions on areas of north Essex with lower Covid-19 cases.

In the seven days leading to November 20, 136 coronavirus cases were recorded in Colchester while Tendring returned 104 positive results, according to Government statistics.

The rate of infection, which is measured per 100,000 people, is now sitting at 69.8 in Colchester, and 71.0 in Tendring.

The rates are low when compared to other areas of the country, such as Swale which has an infection rate of 645.6, or Hartlepool which has an infection rate of 516.7.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday the second lockdown will be lifted on December 2 as planned but said the UK will revert back to a tiered system.

It is understood the stringency of restrictions will again depend on the prevalence of the virus in specific areas.

Before the second lockdown, Essex was put into tier two after county council bosses campaigned to be moved into the higher level.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Zena Smart, from Colchester, runs It’s All Handmade in Dovercourt, which displays and sells creations from small local businesses.

Despite falling under the Essex County Council jurisdiction, she has called on Colchester and Tendring to be placed in the lowest tier of restrictions, even if the rest of the county isn’t.

“Numbers cannot lie but it seems like as an area we have to do whatever the whole of Essex is doing,” she said.

“But that is ridiculous and unfair because some places in the county have much higher numbers than we do.

“I am really worried for businesses if we are not put in tier one, because if they are not making money then they are not feeding their families.

“It is scary and I am really worried for all the other shops because they could close down.”

Graham Webb, chairman of the Clacton Town Partnership, also believes the survival of some local businesses rests solely on Tendring being placed in the lowest tier.

He said: “I don’t think there was ever a need to go into the second tier before so when we come out of lockdown, we almost certainly should be put in the first tier.

“It would be great for the town centre because, with literally three weeks of Christmas shopping left, businesses need to make some money to survive.

“I don’t see how it is fair to penalise areas where there are very little infection rates, and it does not make sense to adopt a blanket approach.”

“The problem is the Government has made a lot of knee-jerk decisions before given restrictions the time have an effect.”

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Clacton MP Giles Watling said it is essential the area is not held back by tighter restrictions.
“I thinks it’s vital that we come out of lockdown, for the sake of business and the economy and everything that streams from that, including well funded healthcare,” he added.
“There is also the mental health aspect. It is not healthy for a population to live in isolation.
“We are a social animal and need human interaction. So, a retreat from lockdown would be amazing for us all, with the promise of a happy Christmas ahead.”

According to latest figures 417 people have now died from Covid-19 at the trust which runs Colchester Hospital.

There have been 11 deaths at Clacton Hospital and 27 at Harwich’s Fryatt Hospital.