“This Friday new restrictions will come into force across County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, Sunderland and South Tyneside in a bid to halt the increase in COVID-19. We’d like to thank the seven Local Authorities involved for their strong and united leadership as we work together to protect public health and the local economy.
“We know that the majority of people have been enjoying the relative freedom since lockdown both carefully and responsibly and with the safety of their loved ones, colleagues and our key workers in mind. However, where the rules aren’t followed, it significantly increases the opportunity for Coronavirus to spread, which is why cases are now rising at an unacceptable rate.
“The latest restrictions are designed to achieve a dual aim: to keep businesses open while enabling people to still work and socialise safely, but if we are unable to nip this in the bud, a full lockdown will result. Let’s all of us do everything we can to avoid this.
“Please read the latest guidance and ensure your business and households are following the latest guidance.
“Here at the North East LEP we fully support these new measures and will continue to work with our Local Authorities to do everything it takes to protect health and keep the regional economy moving.
“We continue to listen carefully to the business community to provide the support necessary during these challenging times. We are in constant communication with government and continue to lobby for the Job Retention Scheme to be extended beyond October for businesses whose trade has been disrupted by local restrictions, for flexibilities to be introduced to existing response measures designed to alleviate cash flow pressures, such as businesses being able to top up Bounce Back Loans and, for time to pay arrangements via HMRC to be kept in place and the reintroduction of cash grants to affected businesses.
“We and all our regional leaders are doing everything we can to manage this difficult situation. Introducing these important measures will mitigate any further impact on our health, our hospitals and on the economy, which is what this region needs right now.”