Londoners deserve huge credit for the monumental sacrifices made to stop the spread of Covid-19. It has worked. Together, we have managed to keep the number of cases lower in London than in most other parts of England since summer — and protected our NHS.
We know from tragic experience why these sacrifices are necessary. London was hit hardest during the first wave, so we need to do whatever it takes to stop that from happening again.
Having looked at the evidence with public health and scientific experts, I firmly believe that it would be right and sensible for London to move into Tier 2 restrictions when the national lockdown is lifted next week — anything else simply wouldn’t make sense. Cases in London are lower than in other parts of the country expected to enter Tier 2. While we cannot afford to be complacent, the very latest data is moving further in the right direction.
There are some people at both extremes of this debate — either calling for all restrictions to be lifted immediately or for lockdown to continue — but Tier 2 represents the broad cross-party inner and outer-London consensus that we have worked hard to achieve across London government. Ministers need to listen and accept it. London’s unique economic ecosystem of bars, restaurants, clubs and cultural venues helps make us the greatest city in the world but they’ve been through an unbelievably tough year. If ministers put London in Tier 3 it would mean them closing again throughout Christmas and New Year — another hammer blow that many would not survive.
As Mayor, I continue to lobby the Government for a substantially more generous package of financial support for the businesses worst affected by the pandemic, and for rapid mass testing to be rolled out in our city — crucial for lives and livelihoods.
Things are still tough but there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Our scientists are making progress on vaccines and treatments that will defeat this virus for good. Until then, we must all continue to follow government rules — whatever they are — as we begin rebuilding a better city after the pandemic.