Liberal Democrat Leaders from across Greater Manchester have heavily criticised last night’s shambolic announcement to impose social restrictions across the 10 Boroughs in the region in response to a rise in Covid-19 cases.
Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council, said: “It would appear that the Johnson administration with its focus on the South-East doesn’t have a handle on what’s going on in the North.”
“As well as sending mixed messages encouraging people to use restaurants and pubs by offering them discounted meals next week, people are feeling scared by confusing messaging about not being able to meet in their own gardens, but a pub beer garden is ok.”
Councillor Sykes also has real concerns about the timing of the announcements: “There are also community cohesion issues here too. Making this announcement the night before Eid has triggered a mis-targeted blame game, when in fact we should be working together to protect against this dreadful virus.”
“The group with the highest infection rate is young people. The Government would do better by providing local councils, like Oldham, with more funding for our local youth services. We need more youth workers out on our streets and on our trams working to ensure that young people take the right precautions to ensure they keep themselves and their family members safe from infection, rather than this ‘sledgehammer to crack a nut’ approach.”
“Everyone needs to understand that if we are to beat coronavirus together and stay safe, we all need to wear a mask when required by law and when if it impossible to maintain social distancing, wash our hands more frequently and for longer, and continue to rigorous observe social distancing.”