THE MAYOR of Middlesbrough has called for more help for hospitality businesses which he says have been left in “no man’s land” by current restrictions.

Middlesbrough – like the rest of the North-East – is on “high” alert and is subject to tier two lockdown restrictions.

It means residents cannot mix with other households or people from outside their support bubbles in an indoor setting, including pubs and restaurants.

Middlesbrough has had a local lockdown since the start of the month, and Mr Preston said he feared the result would be "monstrous" job losses.

Calling for further Government support, Mr Preston said: “Middlesbrough’s hospitality businesses have been left in no man's land by the current Covid restrictions.

“The government must do all it can to save every job possible.

“The new tiered restrictions mean it will remain illegal for people from different households to mix in any indoor setting, including homes, restaurants and pubs.

“The risk is that we see monstrous job losses that lead to social problems and huge bills for years down the line.

“That's the reality of a sharp rise in unemployment.

“The government has an unbelievably difficult job right now.

“The decisions they are taking have to be so finely balanced - but I firmly believe more must be done to keep people in work.”

A range of business support is availablem including the Job Support Scheme and an extension of Self Employment Income Support Scheme, which was announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of a winter package of support.

Some businesses will also be able to have more flexibility in repayment of loans.

Mr Preston has also asked residents to support businesses where they can.

He added: “The rules are in place to keep us all fit and healthy - but they do allow people from the same household or bubble to visit cafes, restaurants and pubs together.

“We have great businesses in Middlesbrough and we'll continue to champion those that are doing the right thing by operating in a safe manner.

“They need all the support they can get right now and your custom will be very welcome.”