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Covid: Dudley, Staffordshire and Telford go into tier 2

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image captionA landlady said she may have to leave her pub before Christmas after losing "thousands and thousands" this year

Tighter restrictions have been brought in in Staffordshire, Dudley, and Telford in a bid to stop rising Covid-19 cases.

Some in the hospitality sector said the tier two restrictions, including a ban on households mixing indoors, could mean the end for their businesses.

David Gregg, of Albert's Shed music venue in Telford, said fewer customers meant finances "don't add up any more".

Dudley landlady Karen Kennedy said she may now quit her pub before Christmas.

Ms Kennedy, who runs the Summerhouse on Gospel End Road on the Staffordshire/Dudley border, said she did not know now how long she could keeping the business running.

'Get worse'

"We're already running at a loss, and lost thousands and thousands this year. How far can you go on like that?" she said.

"We're known as the Christmas pub and people come from miles around to see our lights and decorations.

"Well, we can't plan that this year. I'm not even sure I'll be here at Christmas.

"It's awful. It's sad for our loyal staff, our loyal customers.

"This will be it [in a higher tier] until next year now and it's probably only going to get worse."

The decision - which affects about 1.5 million people in Staffordshire, Dudley, parts of the Black Country, and Telford and Wrekin - follows discussions with local leaders and will be reviewed every 14 days, the government has said.

Parts of Yorkshire and the Humber, areas of the East Midlands, as well as Luton and Oxford City have also moved into the "high alert" tier two from Saturday.

Mr Gregg said his venue was facing a difficult future following the announcement.

He had seen the return of live music after the lockdown and had received a grant from the Cultural Recovery Fund, but said the new restrictions were likely to reduce the number of people visiting the venue.

"As a live music venue but as part of the hospitality sector, it is intrinsic to what we do, bringing people together to socialise so these restrictions meaning only one household per table is going to cause some difficulties to say the at least."

Landladies Lisa Finlay and Penny Corbett, who run pubs in Tamworth and Dudley respectively, said the sector would have been better off under the higher tier three restrictions, which would force bars not serving food to close, but allow them to access government support.

Dudley Council leader Patrick Harley has said despite efforts by the public to keep the area in tier one, cases had continued to rise and were doubling every week.

Birmingham, Sandwell, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton are already in tier two, affecting some 2.24 million people.

Sandwell Council said on Friday that cases in West Bromwich were now at "dangerous levels", with the infection rate in the town at 483 per 100,000 people for the week up to 27 October.

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  • Covid-19: Millions more residents in England move to tier 2