THE leader of Rotherham Council is set to press the government for more financial support to help businesses as the borough will remain in a Tier 3 lockdown next week.
Government officials confirmed yesterday that Rotherham and other areas in South Yorkshire return from national restrictions to Tier 3 from Wednesday, December 2.
Rotherham Council leader, Cllr Chris Read, said despite the infection rate falling in recent weeks, it was still "too high" but added that he was determined to push the government for further help.
He added: "When the national restrictions come to an end on December 2, Rotherham, like the rest of South Yorkshire, and indeed much of the north of England, will return to Tier 3 restrictions.
"That is a reflection of the fact that we are still an area of very high risk of infection of coronavirus and that means we will continue to be subject to additional restrictions.
“Sadly, despite all the progress we have all made over the last few weeks, where the infection rate has fallen and continues to fall, it is still too high.
"We are still, sadly, in a situation where Rotherham Hospital has more than 140 Covid in-patients - that’s still about twice as many as they had at the peak of the first wave.
"We have continued to see a fairly high rate of older and elderly people experiencing the virus and we know that those are the people most likely to suffer the most serious health consequences. Sadly, we have also seen more than forty deaths from Covid over the last fortnight."
Cllr Read added that yesterday's announcement was serious news for businesses and urged those affected to check the grant funding available on the council's website.
“I know that for a lot of people the news will not be what they wanted to hear," he said.
"The council will be looking over the coming days what we can do to support small and micro enterprises.
"We will be talking to the Government to see if we can access more financial support to cover businesses over this period, because it is clear that without adding to their initial £30 million for South Yorkshire our businesses will be further disadvantaged.
"Over December and the festive period, we will also be looking at how we can support families whose incomes has been particularly badly affected.
“The Government will review those restrictions on a fortnightly basis from December 16, and then every couple of weeks from then on.
"My message today is to urge everyone to keep doing the right things, keep following those rules and we will come through this together.”
Meanwhile, Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce demanded the Government work with businesses to keep the impact of the restrictions to a minimum.
Chief executive Andrew Denniff, said: “Even greater support will be needed for the hardest-hit businesses, including those that will miss out on trade as employees continue to be asked to work from home.
“We have been clear that businesses need to see and understand the evidence behind these decisions.
“Government must waste no time in producing a full impact assessment and engage with businesses on how to mitigate the ongoing economic effect.
“A review of tiers in 14 days is welcome but the process by which areas can move and improve should be transparent and include clear triggers with enough time to allow businesses to plan accordingly.
“There is no substitute for a fully functioning economy, and it is business that will drive any recovery.”