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Covid-19: Tier 3 'crushing blow' to North East venues

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image copyrightPA Media
image captionThe rules mean pubs and restaurants will remain closed except for delivery and takeaway

The North East's move into tier three has been labelled "a crushing blow" to hospitality and entertainment venues.

The region will face the toughest Covid-19 restrictions when the national lockdown ends on 2 December.

It means pubs, bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and other indoor venues will remain closed.

Adrian Waddell, chief executive of Newcastle's NE1 Business Improvement District company, said he hoped the region would soon move to tier two.

"While this is good news for our retailers, it's a crushing blow for our hospitality sector, only allowed to offer takeaways if they open at all," he said.

"The transmission rates for the city and the wider region have shown a steady decline over the past week so we must stand a good chance of moving down the tiers."

image copyrightGeograph/Andrew Curtis
image captionThe North East will face the toughest Covid-19 restrictions when the national lockdown ends

Dave Stone, who runs Wylam Brewery, said even the more relaxed restrictions requiring pubs to serve alcohol only with substantial meals were "unfair."

"The big problem for us is the ridiculous rule that you need to have a meal with a beer," he said.

"Nobody can tell me why if you have got a pasty and a salad you won't get coronavirus, but if you only have a pint you will."

Bosses at the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle had hoped to reopen next week.

Simon Drysdale, the independent cinema's interim chief executive, said: "We are very disappointed as we had a brilliant programme in place in the run up to Christmas.

"However we will wait, and hope, that when the rules are reviewed, we may be able to open."

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