CONCERNED businessmen and fed-up residents are calling on County Hall politicians to rethink their stance on wanting to put Essex into the higher tier of coronavirus restrictions.

Earlier this week Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to adopt a three-tier system, meaning different restrictions and rules could be placed on different areas of the country.

Essex County Council has now applied to the Secretary of State for Health asking to placed into the new ‘high' level banding, despite being put in the 'medium' tier by default.

Moving from the 'medium' tier to the 'high' tier would mean a ban on people mixing with anyone outside their household in an indoor environment.

The move has proved somewhat controversial and an online poll by the Gazette has since revealed 61 per cent of the 1,531 readers who responded do not support the authority's decision.

Chelmsford Weekly News:

Stephen Mayzes, from Little Clacton, owns a portfolio of leisure and tourism businesses in Tendring, which currently has 893 cases at the time of writing, with a rate of infection which stands at 609.3 cases per 100,000 people.

Mr Mayzes believes the decision to change Essex from the 'medium' alert to the 'high' alert could cripple the county's economy and prove detrimental and threatening to many local businesses.

"Essex is a diverse area with many parts being rural and already struggling to come back from national lockdown," said Mr Mayzes, who owns Amazing Activities.

"Local politicians need to support businesses by following the advice from government and only supporting a countywide lockdown when backed by national-led evidence.

"Local people are doing their best to go out and support local businesses and in some cases that support is keeping them afloat, especially the tourism and hospitality sector.

"I would urge the county politicians to rethink their call to put Essex on 'high' alert and give businesses as long as they can to rebuild in order to survive."

Chelmsford Weekly News:

Glen Hensey, who lives in Harwich, is the owner of several Tricky Escape rooms, which are based in Clacton and Dovercourt.

Mr Hensey, and his businesses, have endured a rollercoaster few months of uncertainty as a result of the pandemic, but, things were starting to look up.

But, if the council succeeds in moving the county into the higher tier, Mr Hensey believes the future of many businesses will be in doubt.

He fumed: "This is so ridiculous.

"Businesses are fighting to survive and people are trying to get on with their lives. 

"Every other council is fighting against being put into higher tiers and facing increased restrictions. 

"We are asking to be pushed artificially into a higher tier above list of other places that have far more worrying figures than Essex. 

"Please Essex County Council don’t screw over your businesses and residents. 

"It’s been hard enough without you making it impossible."

Resident Penny Waterman, from Clacton, also disagrees with the council's decision, and believe it could make some people's dire situations even worse.

She said: "I feel it is taking things too far, if there was a need due to numbers then we couldn't complain.

"But to ask to be put us on the higher alert I find it unacceptable.

"My family and myself stick to every rule, we wear our masks we don't mix with people outside our family locally.

"If we look in our local supermarkets petrol stations, there are lots of people not doing what they have been asked.

"Not wearing masks and so on, why not enforce these rules before making our lives any harder."