HARTLEPOOL Borough Council is seeking up to £4 million of additional Government funding following the imposition of strict Covid-19 controls on the town.

The request for support has been made following the announcement last week of restrictions that went much further than what the authority had asked for.

Following the Government’s unexpected decision to ban households from mixing in pubs, restaurants and bars, the Council is asking for £1.6 million to support local businesses – especially those within the night time economy – which it fears might otherwise be forced out of existence.

Councillor Shane Moore, Leader of the Council, said: “Given that statistics show that 80 per cent of new cases are the result of household visits, we asked to have household visits restricted for the time being until we are able to get this situation under control. It was that simple.

“Since the announcement of the much stricter than anticipated restrictions I have been contacted by a number of business owners - some of whom have been in tears - to say that they may have no option but to close. Indeed, some have already announced that they are closing.

“We are calling on the Government to acknowledge the impact of these stricter Covid-19 restrictions and to provide financial support to protect local businesses and safeguard the vital jobs that they support.”

Funding is also being sought by the Council to: Increase the capacity of its environmental health and public health teams, introduce Covid Marshalls.

Stand up its hugely-successful Community Support Hub for six months to provide further support to vulnerable people in self-isolation or if there are changes to shielding requirements, provide small grants to businesses to help them become Covid-secure.

Support managed visits to care homes, including the use of perspex screens and external pods, provide an enhanced Test and Trace capability.

Support a range of communications with local communities and businesses, provide Cleveland Police with greater resources so that known areas of non-compliance with the restrictions can be proactively targeted.

Support the rapid and broad take-up of the flu vaccine and provide temporary homeless and asylum seeker accommodation.

Councillor Moore said: “It really is vital that the Government acts without delay and provides us with the additional funding and tools required to tackle the serious situation that we find ourselves in. It can also help – and this has no cost attached to it – by providing us with a clear pathway out of these additional restrictions. If we know when we might be able to exit the controls, I think we will be more easily able to carry members of the public along with us and achieve compliance with the restrictions.”