Harlow’s MP has welcomed Essex moving up a tier of coronavirus restrictions claiming it may be the best way to save jobs and businesses.

Robert Halfon, who has represented the town since 2010, says moving the county from Tier 1 restrictions up to Tier 2 is the best move to prevent another full lockdown.

“I do not want these further restrictions, but we are walking a very thin tightrope between our public health and financial health, to protect lives and livelihoods”, Mr Halfon said.

“I know that some politicians are advocating for another lockdown. But, that could mean thousands of residents losing their jobs and hundreds of local businesses closing - including the thousands that I have spoken with over recent months.

“That’s why, I do believe that this is the right decision to take at this moment in time – to stop even further restrictions being imposed.”

Just two days ago (October 13) Essex County Council submitted a request to be moved up an alert banding in response to a rising number of confirmed cases, despite the threshold for the high alert not yet being met.

Moving from Tier 1 – medium alert – to Tier 2 – high alert – will mean, from Saturday onwards, a ban on households mixing indoors, including in pubs, while the Rule of Six will still apply outdoors.

Mr Halfon says has been working closely with Health Secretary Matt Hancock and the county council in recent weeks to determine how best to tackle rising cases in the area.

The town has recently spiked above 50 cases per 100,000 people, almost doubling in seven days.

The latest Public Health England data (not including October 11 – 14 as it is incomplete and does not reflect the true number of cases) shows there were 46 lab-confirmed cases in Harlow between October 3 – 10.

That figure took the town to 52.8 cases per 100,000 residents which is almost double the rate of 29.9 (26 new cases) recorded the week before.

“I know how difficult this is for everyone in our community and I deeply sympathise with those businesses and residents who are facing financial difficulties”, Mr Halfon added.

“I will do everything I can to support you. I have asked for further financial support and an economic impact assessment of these restrictions.”

Epping Forest Guardian:

For more breaking news, local headlines and features, ‘like’ our Facebook page.

We also have a Twitter account: @EppingFGuardian

Follow us to keep up-to-date with news in Epping Forest.