BRADFORD and Leeds – and the rest of West Yorkshire – was placed in the second tier of the Government’s new Covid alert system this week.

And whilst there was relief the area would not face the toughest restrictions, council leaders are warning against complacency – and calling on the Government for extra support.

The new Tier Two status equates to ‘high risk’, meaning residents will have to abide by the current national restrictions – plus extra rules on meeting-up with other households.

The ‘Rule of Six’ and social distancing must be maintained, and the ongoing 10pm curfew on the hospitality industry observed. Also, household mixing will be banned indoors, but will be permitted in outdoor areas, including private gardens.

All areas which were subject to local restrictions were automatically placed into the second tier, whilst Merseyside is the first area put into the third and highest tier.

Retail, schools and universities will remain open in all areas.

West Yorkshire’s council leaders are calling for urgent funding from the Government.

They have asked for a package of support to help reduce the spread of the virus and protect jobs and businesses.

The leaders – including Bradford Council’s Susan Hinchcliffe and Leeds Council’s Judith Blake – are seeking:

• An enhanced Local Restrictions Support Grant providing grants of up to £5,000 every three weeks for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses that have lost at least 25 per cent of their income

• The continuation of furlough with the Government contributing to wages – a measure they say could support 113,000 jobs, and

• £3.7 million to support the expansion of the Covid Recovery Grants Scheme for businesses reopening and adapting

They have also asked for £30 million to support further local targeted measures to tackle the spread of the virus through local contact-tracing, community engagement, enforcement, support for those self-isolating and other measures.

And the leaders have set out their commitment to retain £47 million in grants already issued, to implement local health and economic measures with immediate effect.

In a joint statement, they said: “Although we have avoided Tier Three status at this moment, we are far from complacent. Efforts to contain the Covid-19 pandemic must be locally-led and properly funded.”