BLACKPOOL’S famous pleasure beach was bursting with visitors today – despite the introduction of Tier Three restrictions in Lancashire today.
Revellers were seen strolling the seaside resort and enjoying the beach but local business owners branded the move “a kick in the teeth”.
Lancashire joined Liverpool today as the only areas in England in the top tier of the new coronavirus restrictions.
One hotel owner said since Tier Three was announced he has lost over £1,000 worth of bookings.
The streets of London fell quiet today, and some gyms in Liverpool were forced to close but for Blackpool it was another story.
Despite the packed streets and attractions, hotel owners have branded the move “a kick in the teeth”, as guests have flocked to cancel bookings.
Tier One areas – medium risk – must follow current social distancing measures, the “rule of six”, and a pub curfew of 10pm.
Households in Tier Two – high risk areas – will have the same restrictions, plus a ban on households mixing indoors.
Tier Three areas – very high risk – will have all the above rules, plus they won’t be able to leave their region unless for essential reasons such as work, education or health.
Businesses in Blackpool are concerned the new tier three rules will drive tourists away – despite some of the attractions remaining open.
Half term in October often sees visitors flock to the Lancashire town, with fears this October will be very different to the norm.
Adam Mayes, owner of 10 bedroom Phoenix Guest House said: “Since Tier Three was annouced, we have already lost £500-worth of bookings for the next two weeks.
“Half term for us is usually our busiest week of the whole year, and now we are down to just six bookings.
“We are considering closing for the remainder of the year because it does not feel worthwhile to remain open. It’s a bit bleak.”
Around 1.5 million people in Lancashire are living under the strictest measures – with boozers being forced to close unless they serve meals and have outdoor spaces.
Labour’s council leaders in Lancashire said they had been forced into the measures, with South Ribble’s Paul Foster saying they had been ‘blackmailed’ into agreeing.
Blackpool’s Lynn Williams said they had “no option” but to agree but welcomed the £30 million of funding.
Casinos, bookies, betting shops, children’s play areas, bingo halls and adult gaming centres have all been forced to close.
Stewart Norris, owner of Sutton Park B&B in Blackpool, said: “For this weekend, next weekend and the weekend after, we are looking at eight cancellations of different groups of guests.
“On a Saturday night in October we would normally be fully booked with families and couples, but instead we have two double rooms arriving tonight, and that’s only because their travel agent won’t refund them.”
Mr Norris, said he has had to move bookings to 2021 as guests seemed to have given up on this year.
This comes as Boris Johnson and Andy Burnham continue to be at loggerheads over Manchester’s restrictions.
The PM warned the Manchester mayor that Brits could die over his resistance to put the city into a Tier Three lockdown.
The PM vowed to roll out 15-minute Covid tests to the city – if it accepts his clampdown.
In a blistering attack, the PM said Manchester’s hospitals are filling up with coronavirus patients as their Mayor shirks his responsibility.
He told a No10 press conference: “I urge the Mayor to reconsider and engage constructively.
“I cannot stress enough – time is of the essence.
“Each day that passes before action is taken means more people will go to hospital, more people will end up in intensive care, and tragically more people will die.
“Of course if agreement cannot be reached, I will need to intervene in order to protect Manchester’s hospitals and to save the lives of Manchester’s residents.”