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‘We need tougher restrictions’ but confusion continues over new rules for Sandwell

By Dayna Farrington | Sandwell | Coronavirus | Published:

People in Sandwell think more extreme measures need to be brought in locally – and nationally – in a bid to curb a rise in coronavirus cases.

Sandwell has become an area of national intervention, along with Birmingham and Solihull, due to a rise in Covid-19 infections.

From tomorrow, residents in the borough will not be allowed to mix with any other households in their homes or gardens.

There were 140 positive cases in the borough between September 2 and 8, compared with 72 cases in the previous week.

But many people visiting West Bromwich town centre on Saturday said they had been left confused by new measures brought in for the borough, as well as the national measures, although they agreed stricter rules were needed to tackle the rise in cases.

Keith Rushton, 75, from Charlemont Park, said: “You only need to look around West Bromwich and no one is really wearing a mask when they should be.

“You walk around the indoor shopping centres and supermarkets and no one is wearing a mask.

“I think these measures are needed – we are all in this together. Why they had to wait till Monday, Tuesday for the changes I don’t understand – the weekend is the worst.

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Keith Rushton thinks the new measures need to be "a bit more extreme"

“I think the Government is now putting it on the councils. I think the measures need to be a bit more extreme.

“The rise in cases here in Sandwell is a worry to me, I’m nearly 76 years old so it is a bit of worry. I think tougher measures are needed now around the town centres and on public transport.”

West Bromwich market trader, Brett Jason Packer, 51, from Cradley Heath, said: “These new measures for Sandwell will really need to be followed closely.

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Brett Packer serves a customer on West Bromwich market

“If the cases continue here to rise we should expect more measures, more stricter measures.”

Helen Nunn, 49, from West Bromwich, said: “With these new measures here in Sandwell I can’t go and see my mother – she’s my support, and I’m her support.

"It really isn’t fair that we can’t see each other and it makes no sense.

"It is heartbreaking. I can’t go and see her in her home or garden from this week, but I can go to the pub.”

Shopper Helen Nunn says the new measures for the borough "make no sense"

“It really worries me the rise in cases we have seen here in Sandwell, very much so. I want it all over and to be back to normal.

“I’m basically my mother’s carer and I can’t see her, that’s not fair.”

Margaret Price, 64, from Warley, said: “People can go to work on the bus, children can go to school – but I can’t see my family or friends in their homes or gardens. I can still go shopping but I can’t have relatives around. I can’t see where they are coming from to be honest.

“We expected all this when the children went back to school. You can still go to the pub for a meal.

“I do think these measures are needed but people can still go out and do everything else.

Friends Margaret Price and Mary Hayfield wear their masks for a Saturday morning shop in West Bromwich

“I can’t understand if they are letting people go on the buses and trains to work, letting children go to school, college and universities. Where’s it going to stop?

“The rise in cases in Sandwell is worrying – you don’t know who you are next to when you’re outside.

"If they are going to do lockdown they have got to stop the lot again to make any difference.”

Wendy Riaboschapka, 52, from West Bromwich, said: “I think it is all a bit stupid really.

Wendy Riaboschapka says she can't understand the new restrictions imposed for the borough

"I can’t understand them – you can go to the pub, play football, go to school and college, but you can’t have more than six people in your house – or in Sandwell, you can’t have people in your house at all.

“I can’t visit my dad, or my sister, but I can go to the pub and see them.

"It’s not clear again. What are they trying to do?”

Michael Clay, 62, from Hill Top, said: “It is really difficult – the guidelines are again not 100 per cent clear as it has been since the start.

Michael Clay says more "clear and concise instructions" are needed

“There are seven of us in the close family, myself and my wife, my daughter, her two children, her partner and my son, we all live close together but separate.

"From this week, we can’t meet together in our houses or gardens – but we can go to the pub and meet?

"I am a bus driver and I deal with the public everyday and nothing has been clear since day one.”

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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