HOPES are rising that Bradford could be moved into the less-restrictive Tier 2 when the Government carries out a review on December 16.

Bradford’s Covid-19 infection rate for the seven days to November 8 was as high as 589.9 cases per 100,000.

But new figures, released last night, show the rate had dropped to 239.9 cases per 100,000 in the seven days to November 29. That means Bradford’s infection rate has more than halved in three weeks, with 33 local authority areas in England now having higher infection rates.

While it remains vital to follow Tier 3 guidance as hospitals remain under severe pressure, there is a glimmer of hope. Among those anticipating a move to Tier 2 is Bradford Playhouse, which has issued a statement saying: “The Bradford Playhouse and Trio Entertainment have taken the decision to go ahead with Sleeping Beauty!

“We are hopeful that the tier level for Bradford will be reduced at the next review to tier 2 which will allow the theatre to open.

“Everyone should be aware that if we are unexpectedly kept in tier 3 then all customers would be entitled to a full refund or transfer to new dates.”

Later, Theatre manager Megan Wilson told the T&A: “We wouldn’t have made the decision we’ve come to if we weren’t hopeful.

“I also think if there’s 2,000 people queuing for Primark I don’t see the difference. We’re operating at a capacity that is 10 per cent of the capacity they’re letting in in Tier 2.

“It’s a massive gamble but I feel like so many people have been let down with stuff over the last few months that actually it’s a gamble worth taking."

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Meanwhile, dessert restaurant Haute Dolci also appears to be viewing the situation with optimism after stating its intention to open its new Bradford branch as soon as the city moves out of Tier 3, with a 50 per cent discount on offer until the end of January to all customers with a special key.

Latest figures show that several areas under Tier 2 restrictions actually have a higher infection rate than Bradford, including Barking & Dagenham, Luton, Havering, Basildon and Redbridge currently have higher rates than Bradford.

Speaking in a Parliamentary debate this week, Naz Shah MP (Bradford West, Labour) pointed out that Havering is in Tier 2 yet Bradford is in Tier 3, despite similar infection rates.

And Philip Davies MP (Shipley, Conservative) said: “At the moment it’s broad areas that are being lumped in together and the situation of London is there’s some parts of London have high rates and some parts are very low. I’m interested in getting my area off the scale.

“I want to make the case for my area coming out of Tier 3 irrespective of the rest of Bradford district.”

When asked about whether Bradford could be moved down to Tier 2, he said: “I don’t know what decision will be taken.

“I will do everything I can to get my area out of Tier 3 as soon as possible.”

Bradford East MP Imran Hussain said: “It is of course positive news to see that the rate of coronavirus infections has continued to fall across Bradford, but we cannot become complacent. The Government has failed to apply restrictions fairly or consistently, and places like Bradford are placed under tougher restrictions whilst other places which are seeing rising infection rates get away with fewer restrictions.”