With Salford entering the new tier three restrictions now that the nationwide lockdown is over, I have tried to gain a sense of what residents think about the new restrictions.
Boris Johnson’s government announced last Thursday that Salford, along with the whole of Greater Manchester, will be entered into the highest level of restrictions from 12:01AM on Wednesday.
This will mean that all hospitality venues must stay shut other than for takeaway or delivery. Residents will not be allowed to see anyone outside of their household or support bubble either indoors or outdoors.
But, is this the right decision for Salford? And what will it mean for businesses in the region?
I asked 100 Salford residents whether they think putting Salford into tier 3 was the right decision and 60% of them said that they do not believe it was the right decision.
When I asked for reasons for their decisions, there were many different concerns that people had about the new restrictions.
Concerns largely centred around the worry that some small businesses, already struggling with the challenges this year has presented, may not be able to cope with yet more restrictions and, for many in the hospitality sector, closed doors.
Sue Burkill, a local resident, is worried that some businesses will not be able to reopen their doors due to the lost profits from what is usually a busy Christmas period:
“Putting Salford in tier 3 so close to Christmas is scandalous. This is the time when small businesses make most of their profit,” she said.
“Many businesses will have to close never to open again. The detrimental impact that this will have on families around the city is awful.”
Paul Jobs from Eccles told me that he is very worried about his business during what would normally be a busy time for him.
He runs a greetings card business from home and usually has a stall in the Manchester Christmas markets where he sells his handmade Christmas cards.
He said: “This year has been challenging for me but I thought atleast I’d still be able to make use of the Christmas markets but now they have been cancelled, it just feels as though it’s been a wasted year.
“I’ve had to get myself a part-time job to tie me over because I just wasn’t earning enough from the cards alone.
“Hopefully people will still want our Christmas cards, even though we’re not at the markets, because Christmas is normally when we make most of our money.”
It isn’t just businesses that are going to be impacted by the new restrictions however. Third year psychology student Becca Archer is worried about the mental health of the city being affected having already spent the last month in lockdown.
She said: “With it being the winter, it’s a lot harder than it was in the summer. There’s less sunlight hours so there’s less dopamine and serotonin in the brain which are the happy hormones so that will definitely affect people’s mental health.
“I think as well as that, being isolated for long periods of time and being anxious about what the future holds because we’re all in an unknown territory at the moment so I think that will have a negative effect definitely.”
On the other hand, there are many residents who believe that entering tier 3 is the best thing for the city, as they hope it will drive down cases for good.
Samantha Cook, another resident who took part in my poll, said:
“It’s not my preference obviously, but it is what it is.
“We have to respect the decisions made for the sake of the NHS and the most vulnerable in society.”
She went on to say: “I do however feel for industries affected such as hospitality and I feel more support should have been forthcoming.”