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Covid-19 in Herts: Stortford BID manager says move to tier 3 is disastrous for town's hospitality businesses

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Business support group Bishop's Stortford BID is calling on residents to rally round traders hit by the move to tier 3 Covid-19 restrictions.

Following Health Secretary Matt Hancock's statement in the House of Commons on Thursday (Dec 17), Bishop's Stortford is now in the 'very high' alert area along with the rest of Hertfordshire.

East Herts was one of six Herts districts left in tier 2 on Monday (Dec 14) when Mr Hancock announced the southern districts of Broxbourne, Hertsmere, Three Rivers and Watford were joining London and most of Essex in the most restricted areas of the country. But after a tense few days, he announced the whole of Hertfordshire would face the harshest coronavirus rules from Saturday (Dec 17).

Tier 3 (43614107)
Tier 3 (43614107)

It is a hammer blow for the pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés hoping Christmas trading would help them recoup some of the losses incurred during the limited England lockdown from November 5 to December 2.

Just over two weeks after reopening, they must close once again, unless they can offer collection, takeaway or drive-through food services.

Gina Thomas, manager of the Stortford BID (Business Improvement District), said: "The impact of the move into tier 3 is disastrous for the town's hospitality businesses, who have already had a very tough year. Many have spent a huge amount of time and money to become Covid-secure and have all measures in place.

Bishop's Stortford BID manager Gina Thomas shopping in North Street (43614123)
Bishop's Stortford BID manager Gina Thomas shopping in North Street (43614123)

"Many restaurants, cafés and pubs will have a takeaway offering – please continue to support them if you can. They need you more than ever."

The new rules apply to all hospitality settings – pubs, bars, restaurants, cafés and social clubs – including those in hotels and members' clubs.

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The tier 3 restrictions also apply to hotels, bed and breakfast places, indoor play centres, bingo halls, bowling alleys, laser game and escape rooms, cinemas, theatres and arts venues like South Mill Arts in Stortford, where a week-long production of The Revellers Society opened only on Wednesday; tomorrow (Friday) will now be its final night.

Non-essential shops may remain open along with hairdressers and barbers, beauty salons, nail salons, spas and tattoo parlours.

The shutdown also does not apply to community centres and halls, libraries or recycling and waste centres.

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