Confusion over local coronavirus restrictions in Black Country

Confusing local restrictions have left people living on the Dudley and Wolverhampton border scratching their heads.

Ronald Webb at the edge of his drive on Bath Street
Ronald Webb at the edge of his drive on Bath Street

While Dudley is considered a medium risk category in Tier One neighbouring Wolverhampton has been placed in Tier Two, meaning tighter restrictions for residents.

It means that in one street straddling both boroughs, some residents are no longer able to socialise with any other household indoors – while those just a stone’s throw across the road can.

Ronald Webb, aged 93, who lives on the Wolverhampton side of Bath Street in Sedgley, said it was difficult to know what was and wasn’t allowed.

He said: “I think the restrictions are confusing. My family live in Dudley so they have different rules to me. I can understand why they brought rules in but there doesn’t seem to be anything happening around here.”

Susie Griffiths, who lives on the Sedgley and Wolverhampton border, at Rodway Close, said: “I think the whole thing is bizarre. You are told to do one thing on one day and on other, do something else.

"All the people I speak to are confused and nobody knows what is going on.”

For 89-year-old Geoff Cook, of Coseley, who was out shopping in Sedgley town centre, he felt the Government should stop playing politics over the pandemic.

Mr Cook, who was wearing a face shield, said: “I think the restrictions are confusing. The Government is going against one another.

Geoff Cook in Sedgley town centre

"It is about time the country got together and pulled together.”

The local restrictions have brought anxiety to pubs with one landlord revealing staff are being placed in difficult situations.

Brian New, 64, who runs The White Horse in Sedgley, said he “panicked” during the England game on Wednesday night, as the game’s finish was close to the pub’s 10pm curfew.

Brian New of The White Horse

He said he was forced to “bring in more door staff” in case any trouble happened in enforcing the curfew on punters.

He said: “I don’t see the logic in the 10pm curfew. Show us the evidence it works.”

Mr New said the new rule forcing pubs to offer table service is also affecting his trade, adding his “takings have fallen from £22,000 to £10,000”.

He added customers from neighbouring high tier areas, like Wolverhampton and Sandwell, are more likely to go drinking in Sedgley now as there are lesser restrictions here.

Jane Edwards, 57, a florist who runs Belle Fleurs in Concorde Market, said: “Nobody knows what they are doing. It’s not going to work.”

Jane Edwards from Belle Fleurs Florists

Former Sedgley councillor Bill Etheridge, who is now UKIP’s economic spokesman, said: “I wouldn’t encourage anyone to break the law but I have the most sympathy with people who think the rules are stupid. Everyday there is new rules and conditions.

"Before you know it, we will be living in a Soviet state.”

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