Disappointing that our area has been 'dragged' into a national lockdown, says Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill

Scarborough and Whitby’s MP has voiced his disappointment at the area being “dragged” into a national lockdown.

Sunday, 1st November 2020, 6:06 pm
Updated Sunday, 1st November 2020, 6:10 pm

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last night stringent new lockdown restrictions across the country after scientists warned that half a million people were being infected with coronavirus each week.

The tough new lockdown measures will come into force on Thursday and last until December 2.

They include forcing a host of businesses to shut including pubs, restaurants, gyms, non-essential shops, soft play centres, arcades, museums, theatres, hairdressers and beauty salons.

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Photo by Richard Ponter

Nurseries, schools, colleges and universities can stay open.

Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions which will be set out in law.

Speaking yesterday, before the announcement, Mr Goodwill said: "It's very disappointing that because people in other parts of the country have not been as sensible as in Scarborough and Whitby, we could be dragged into a national lockdown.

Photo by Richard Ponter

“We had hoped that we could stay in Tier 1 and that people were behaving quite sensibly.”

Just last week, he and Malton and Filey’s MP Kevin Hollinrake had been making representations about keeping Scarborough and Ryedale in the lowest alert level even if the rest of North Yorkshire went into Tier 2.

But he said steps must be taken to protect the NHS and he will be supporting the measures when MPs vote on them later this week.

“We cannot have a situation where the capacity of the health service is exceeded,” he said. “That is not acceptable.”

Today, he has been in touch with Number 10 to highlight the need for funding for hospices like Scarborough's Saint Catherine's whose fundraising will be hit further by this new lockdown.

"Their ability to raise funds from charity shops and events has been undermined by restrictions," he said.

"The ones that have been most independent of NHS funding have been the most affected," he said.

He added there have been concerns in the area recently about people from places placed in higher tiers of the coronavirus alert scale visiting Scarborough and Whitby.

There had been particular concern in Whitby, he said, about “leakage” from nearby places such as Redcar and Cleveland, which are currently in Tier 2.

“There is evidence that people are moving from higher tier areas to lower tier places,” said Mr Goodwill.

“People from Whitby are worried about people from Redcar and Cleveland, and you’ve got Staithes which is right on the border.”

Meanwhile, Filey and Malton's MP said he supports the lockdown as long as it means a complete reopening for businesses on December 2.

Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton, which includes Filey, said: "I have been strongly in favour of keeping the economy open whilst keeping the virus in check. However, it is now clear that we would exceed surge capacity in the NHS, including the Nightingales, by the first week of December.

"Personally, now that a lockdown is inevitable I would rather have a very short, sharp shock where we absolutely minimise any contact with people outside our household wherever possible.

"With the financial support of business grants and the Job Retention Scheme, most people and businesses can cope with a four-week shutdown as long as it can reopen as much as possible on December 2.

"What would be disastrous is lockdown followed by a half opening of the economy plus multiple circuit breakers.

"In short, I’d rather we all treated this as a national endeavour and ‘stopped in’ for four weeks rather than pressing for a different approach or lots of exemptions."