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Covid-19: Nottinghamshire tier 3 to feature 9pm alcohol rule

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Nottinghamshire's auction houses, car boot sales, betting shops, saunas and tattoo parlours must close, the government has announced.

The measures were revealed as it was confirmed the whole county would move into tier three at 00:01 on Friday.

Alcohol cannot be sold after 21:00 GMT in shops, but can be sold until 22:00 if bought "in hospitality venues where accompanying a substantial meal".

Hotels can remain open, as can gyms and leisure centres.

Nottingham, Rushcliffe, Gedling and Broxtowe had been expected to move into the top tier of Covid restrictions on Thursday.

While the tier three status has been delayed for 24 hours, it will now include the entire county.

Other tier three rules include:

  • Fitness and dance studios, sports courts and swimming pools can also remain open, although it is "strongly advised" group indoor classes do not take place
  • Public buildings such as community centres, libraries and town halls are allowed to remain open to run activities such as childcare and support groups, but not for private hire, birthday parties and other social events
  • "Indoor entertainment and tourism venues" have to close, but cinemas, concert halls, ice rinks and theatres are not affected by the new rules.

Housing Minister Christopher Pincher praised the local authorities "for entering into productive discussions and coming to an agreement as quickly as possible".

"We are very conscious that these new restrictions will have a huge impact on those living and working in the county, but this action is vital and is based on public health advice," he said.

However, Nottingham South Labour MP Lilian Greenwood has criticised the government for taking "a week and a half" to come to an agreement over the city and county.

"It's created huge anxiety and uncertainty, by doing that I think they're undermining trust," she said.

image captionMicropubs like A Room with a Brew that cannot offer a "substantial meal" alongside pints for regulars will have to close

At the scene: Liam Barnes, BBC News in Nottingham

A Room with a Brew, a micropub in Derby Road, Nottingham, lies between the city centre and the Lenton area popular with students.

With no option to provide the crucial "substantial meal" to keep the beer flowing, licence-holder Jill Nettleton said the last week has been "confusing".

"Because we were expecting to close down last week we've let stocks run down, and now we've found out we can open tomorrow, which is a bit annoying" she said.

"Why have they shut bars when nearly everything else is open?"

image captionJill Nettleton said not knowing if or when pubs would have to close meant buying less stock

The rules on pubs in particular were a source of contention amid convivial conversation.

"I think the over-riding thing is people are genuinely confused as to why having a food option is a distinction," said one bemused regular.

However, as often happens down the pub, a potential solution was suggested.

"Potentially you could nominate your local and just go to one place, or a small number," said Katy Voisey.

Nottingham East MP Nadia Whittome also said she was not happy with the way information had been shared with local officials.

"The communication has been shoddy," she said.

"It's been so disrespectful. They've just treated the people of Nottingham with a total lack of respect."

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Ashfield District Council leader Jason Zadrozny said some districts including Ashfield had been kept out of the original discussions as "we did not think they would affect us".

He added: "I am disappointed about the lack of communication from the government."

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, the MP for Newark, has defended the government's handling of local lockdowns.

"I'm certain I haven't got everything right, neither has the government, but we're learning as we know more about the virus and trying to take the right decisions," he said.

"We're trying to follow the data, what is actually happening in our major hospitals, and taking action."

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Nottingham had the highest figures in the UK earlier this month, but its seven-day rate of infection has dropped again, according to the latest data.

The city had the 23rd highest rate of infection per 100,000 people in England, at 451.5, in the week to 25 October - down from 611 the previous week.

Mansfield's seven-day infection rate is currently at 349.5 cases per 100,000 people.

Mansfield's Conservative MP Ben Bradley, who previously opposed his constituency moving into tier three, said "big rises in cases in the north of the county" meant it was hard to argue with the tightening of restrictions.

"The more and more those figures are similar - and we've seen Mansfield is pretty much the same as Broxtowe in terms of numbers - it's becoming increasingly difficult to make that case and treat it differently," he said.

Hospital bosses in Nottingham have cancelled some cancer operations due to "pressure on intensive care units".

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust medical director Keith Girling said the trust had taken the "extremely difficult decision" to postpone four cancer operations this week.

More than eight million people in England will be living in the tier three "very high" alert level by the end of the week.

Nottinghamshire will join the Liverpool City Region, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, South Yorkshire and Warrington in the highest tier.

Pubs in tier three that do not serve substantial meals have to close, and there are further restrictions on households mixing.

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