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COVID Statement from our CEO

We are continuing to encourage businesses, shoppers and visitors in Ipswich to follow the Government guidelines to help Ipswich move from Tier 2 to Tier 1.

Below is the latest statement from our CEO Paul Clement; calling for everyone across Ipswich to work together to help all businesses to reopen and to help social lives return to normal.

This year has been devastating for so many local communities. Suffolk and Ipswich are poorer for our COVID-19 experience – we have lost loved ones, we have missed shared experiences, and our economy has experienced a severe shock. This time of year is, traditionally, one of renewal and togetherness; yet, we know that this Christmas will be very different.

However, it is traditionally also a time of optimism and so my organisation is leading a 16-day awareness campaign to highlight just how different Christmas in Suffolk will be if we are adjudged to be best suitable to Covid tier 1 status, rather than our existing tier 2 position. Everyone can help with this.

As a reminder, when the government determined the current allocations on 27th November, Suffolk had amongst the lowest infection rates, closest to the three lowest areas of Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly and lower than any other region in England. It might be said that we were, at best, unfortunate or, at worst, unfairly judged.

So, what difference does a tier make? Well, if we could make Tier 1 when government next announce changes on 16th December, Christmas in Suffolk would include meeting in groups of up to 6 persons in our homes, thereby relaxing the current restrictions of no mixing beyond our own households. That would make a huge difference to so many within our communities.

However, it is on behalf of the business sector that I primarily write, particularly the licensed sector which has made it clear that it cannot operate profitably in tier 2. As a consequence, we risk the imminent closure of numerous pubs and restaurants and the consequent job losses that will follow.

As a reminder, in Tier 2, pubs that serve only beverages cannot open and those that can supply a ‘substantial meal’ alongside drinks are only allowed to serve people from the same household. Tier 1 this Christmas would mean all pubs and bars could reopen, presuming they are deemed Covid safe and we would be able to meet within them in groups of 6.

And it is this next week that is crucial for those businesses. Therefore, I am asking your readers to be extra vigilant – to wash hands ever more frequently, to wear masks with pride and to maintain social distancing.

If, together, we can help to get Suffolk into tier 1 for Christmas we can help each other, save local businesses and look forward with greater optimism to a brighter new year. Please help us by doing your part and spreading the word.

Paul Clement
CEO of Ipswich Central

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