‘I am deeply disappointed and frustrated’: Eastbourne reacts to lockdown delay
The news that PM Boris Johnson has delayed the easing of lockdown by four weeks has received a luke warm reception by Eastbourne dignitaries.
The so called Freedom Day will not take place next Monday (June 21) as originally planned, and instead it has been delayed until July 19.
Weddings and funerals can go ahead with more than 30 people and the Euros and some theatrical performances will continue too, the briefing revealed.
However, the delay means events like festivals will be postponed and nightclubs will have to remain closed.
The PM said he’s confident the delay won’t go beyond four weeks.
In response to the news, MP for Eastbourne Caroline Ansell said, “I am deeply disappointed and frustrated by the announcement yesterday even though I accept the government’s caution and the difficult decision it must make.
“The Prime Minister has also been clear throughout that any new freedoms were conditional. After 15 months of tiers and rolling lockdowns, to give ourselves a further 28 days to power through millions more vaccinations must surely then secure future freedoms.”
Despite this, she said it’s a ‘mighty blow’ for the hospitality industry in Eastbourne. Mrs Ansell said she’ll be asking chancellor Rishi Sunak to keep the VAT reduction to five per cent until the New Year. The reduction was planned to end in September.
Mrs Ansell said, “The one saving grace from this decision is that it seeks to avoid a full easing now with the possibility of another lockdown later in the year. I do not think anyone would want to risk that. I think everyone knows there can be no going back to lockdown.”
She urged people to keep getting their vaccines as it’s ‘our major weapon in this fight’.
Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council David Tutt said, “We now know that it will be at least another four weeks before all of the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. Whilst this is frustrating, it is probably the right decision given the alarming increase in the infection rate in some parts of the country, which appears to be caused by the Delta variant.”
He said the number of cases in Eastbourne remains low but ‘there is no room for complacency’.