Cornwall has welcomed the news that it will be under Tier 1 restrictions when England’s lockdown lifts next week, along with the Isles of Scilly and Isle of Wight.
The county is the only area of mainland England that has been placed into the lowest level of measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Over the seven days to November 20, the incidence rate for Cornwall was 62.4 cases per 100,000 people, well below the national average.
On Thursday, the UK Government said the area also had a low positivity rate, with cases in all age groups “stable or declining”.
📣 The government has announced that Cornwall will enter Tier 1: Medium Alert on December 2.— @cornwallcouncil (@CornwallCouncil) November 26, 2020
Full details on these measures is available here â¡ï¸ https://t.co/3pNC9UQsQT
â National restrictions remain in place until December 2 â pic.twitter.com/hWl1BfufpF
There have been no cases in the Isles of Scilly in the past seven days, providing “strong evidence” for the area to be subjected to Tier 1 restrictions, it added.
Steve Double, Conservative MP for St Austell and Newquay, said Cornwall returning to Tier 1 restrictions was “very welcome news”.
“This will be particularly good news for the thousands of hospitality businesses which will be able to reopen under the lowest level of restrictions,” he said.
“However, whilst we can welcome this news it should be no grounds for complacency.
“Before we entered the national restrictions Cornwall was in Tier 1 and the number of cases in Cornwall was rising and continued to rise until last week.
“Clearly the new national restrictions have had the required effect and brought the virus back under control.
“This shows it was the right decision to introduce these measures.”
Mr Double urged people to keep to the new restrictions to ensure cases in Cornwall did not rise and to prevent the prospect of being placed in a higher tier.
He said this was “particularly important” ahead of Christmas, when three households will be able to meet for five days.
Kim Conchie, chief executive of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, said the county would have to be “very careful” as it was the only part of mainland England under Tier 1 restrictions.
But he welcomed the news that Cornwall would be subjected to the lowest level of restrictions.
“This is the first stage of securing jobs and companies for our future,” he told the PA news agency.
“Let’s all support our local businesses and make sure December is a successful end to a difficult year for our hospitality, retail and services businesses.”
Malcolm Bell, chief executive of Visit Cornwall, said many businesses would be able to reopen in time for the holiday season.
“It will not be business as usual,” he said.
“We must remain vigilant and follow Covid-safe guidelines, and we must also be mindful of the fact that visitors from across England must also adhere to the tougher Tier 2 rules, even when they are visiting Cornwall.”
The Isle of Wight had a case rate of 70.5 cases per 100,000 people over the seven days to November 20.
Councillor Dave Stewart, leader of the Isle of Wight Council, paid tribute to residents for their efforts during the four-week lockdown in England.
“Being in Tier 1 gives us back some more of the freedoms we have all battled to secure in everything we are doing to reduce the transmission of the disease,” Mr Stewart said.
“Having done this so well, these are freedoms we need to fight to retain so the key messages of hands-face-space continue to apply.
“Please continue to be careful about where you go, who and how you meet because although things are looking up, they can quickly change.”
He called for people to take personal responsibility and make good choices to protect themselves and others.
“The gradual introduction of vaccines and testing in the coming months will assist us in this challenge, but I can only urge, it is what we all do will make the biggest difference,” he added.
Bob Seely, Conservative MP for the Isle of Wight, said: “I am grateful that the Government has listened to arguments put forward by myself and others that first, the island should be treated as an island, and second, that we should be in the lowest tier.
“This is a sensible approach and a recognition of the fact that not only do we have relatively low infection rates on the island, but our separation by sea from the mainland acts as a natural barrier to the spread of the virus.
“Island businesses have suffered as a result of the second lockdown.
“I hope that those that have been forced to close will now reopen and I hope that for those Islanders now doing their Christmas shopping, we will do our best to support local Island-owned businesses.”