‘Stick to Covid rules - and get Norfolk back into Tier One’

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Getting Norfolk straight back into Covid tier one after lockdown is the aim, the county council leader said.

John Fisher, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for children's services. Pic: Norfolk County Coun

John Fisher, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for children's services. Pic: Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Andrew Proctor also urged everybody in the county to stick to the rules when restrictions begin on Thursday.

Prime minister Boris Johnson announced on Saturday that England would be subject to a nationwide lockdown from Thursday, until December 2.

People across the country have been told they should stay at home once again, with pubs, restaurants and all non-essential retail, entertainment and leisure venues told to close.

Norfolk was in tier one - the lowest level of restrictions - up to now and Mr Proctor said: “What we clearly want to achieve by December 2 is to keep Norfolk’s Covid infection rates low. So, if the current tiers remain then, we can return to a less restrictive position of what is now tier one.”

But he said people in Norfolk needed to abide by the rules if that is to happen - or else Norfolk could find itself in a more difficult situation post-lockdown.

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He said: “It’s absolutely essential that people show the fortitude that they showed last time around. My fear is that, if we come out of this into tier two or three, it can be very difficult to get out of that.

“Apart from the factory outbreaks at Banham Poultry, Bernard Matthews and Cranswick Country Foods, we have had a really low prevalence of infections and we hope to keep it that way.”

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He said the council was ready to step up its response again.

He said: “We are as ready as we can be for the next set of challenges coming our way. We know that from Thursday the whole country will be facing significant restrictions on how we go about our lives and on how businesses are, yet again, having to change.

“And we know these restrictions have been put in place after detailed consideration of lives versus livelihoods and the potential adverse impact on the NHS.

“The overriding message I can give to everyone in Norfolk is to continue to follow the guidelines - frequent handwashing, use face coverings in places that require them and social distance at two metres away.

“Please follow all the things that are in place to protect yourself, protect others and protect Norfolk.”

Unlike in the March lockdown, schools will remain open, although John Fisher, cabinet member for children’s services, acknowledged,in the wake of outbreaks such as that at Cranswick Country Foods in Watton, it might prove difficult.

Mr Fisher said: “I want to make it clear that, yes, we believe Norfolk children need to be in school and that’s the current decision.

“But, we will work with an understanding and flexible approach with schools, because we know that certainly in some of the Breckland area, with some of the food factories, that there is a lot of strain and pressures and our job is to help the schools and work with them.”

Mr Proctor urged people experiencing hardship who needed support to contact the council on 0344 800 8020.

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