THE government has announced that Thurrock will be entering tier 3 restrictions from Wednesday 16 December.
Pubs, bars and restaurants will have to close except for takeaway and delivery services. This includes outdoor seating areas.
All other shops and businesses may remain open, along with hairdressers, barbers and other direct contact services.
Leader of Thurrock Council, Cllr Rob Gledhill, said: “This is not the decision any of us were hoping for, but the increasing rate of community transmission across the south east has led to some of the highest positive test rates in the country, which has meant the government has taken the decision to place Thurrock as well as most of Essex and all of London into tier 3 restrictions.
“In contrast to the tier decision before the last lockdown I have not been consulted by the government on this decision or been given the opportunity to discuss the local position with ministers, which is most disappointing.”
Cllr Gledhill added “This was not the most desirable outcome to say the least and it will be a big blow to many including to our hospitality sector and the supply chain. I will be working with partners in our local area to move out of tier 3 as quickly as possible.
“We are now operating three Mobile Testing Units in Grays, Tilbury and Corringham and we are urging all parents and carers of children aged 11 to 18 to book slots for a COVID-19 test even if they display no symptoms. There has been fantastic take up of this offer over the weekend and we are working with the government and Public Health England to identify more suitable sites.
“There have been calls for the council to shut local schools but this is not a decision for the council and rests on the shoulders of the local academy head teachers. But whilst this appears a simple solution it would have a further impact on the local economy with parents having to take more time off to look after children normally in school this week.
“We must now all play our part at all times and do everything we can to drive the rate of infection back down again as we have done before. The actions we must take are to follow hands, face, space advice, stay alert for symptoms and be ready to self-isolate if we feel any of them or are told to by NHS Test and Trace. By following these simple rules and acting responsibly, we can reduce the risk to ourselves and to others and halt the spread of the virus.
“By following the rules and staying alert to the dangers posed by COVID-19 we will all be saving lives and doing everything we can to ensure the borough is moved to a lower alert level as quickly as possible.”