As Chesterfield prepares for Tier 3, there’s unhappiness and concern – but some optimism for the future

In just a few days, Chesterfield and the rest of Derbyshire will enter Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions.
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From December 2, when the current national lockdown ends, groups of six will only be able to meet in outdoor public spaces such as parks – and hospitality venues must remain closed apart from delivery, takeaway and drive-through services.

Many residents and hospitality businesses in Chesterfield are unhappy – and say the borough should not be placed under the toughest measures given the fact its Covid-19 infection rate is now below the England average.

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Steve Perez, owner of Chesterfield’s Casa Hotel, is concerned.

“These restrictions will cause many job losses and misery for local people,” he said.

He called for more financial support for the hospitality industry – and urged MPs to vote against the new system on Tuesday.

According to the latest available data, there were 152 cases of coronavirus in Chesterfield between November 17 and November 23, down 146 compared with the previous week.

Chesterfield town centre on the last weekend of the second national coronavirus lockdown. Picture by Rachel Atkins.Chesterfield town centre on the last weekend of the second national coronavirus lockdown. Picture by Rachel Atkins.
Chesterfield town centre on the last weekend of the second national coronavirus lockdown. Picture by Rachel Atkins.
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Chesterfield’s infection rate for the latest period was 145 cases per 100,000 people. The average area in England had 152.

On Saturday, Chesterfield Royal Hospital was caring for 44 Covid patients – 12 of whom were in intensive care.

The hospital was also looking after around 400 non-Covid patients.

At the start of this week, staff at the Royal were treating 50 people with the virus, including 13 in intensive care.

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Sarah Turner-Saint, spokesperson for Chesterfield Royal Hospital, said: “This second phase of the pandemic, coping with the usual winter pressures and trying to restore our services is incredibly hard work.

“We’re taking every opportunity we can to look after our patients and our staff.”

She added: “With the promised Covid-19 vaccine on the way and more mass testing, there are positives to look forward to that will help to bring the pandemic under control – not overnight but gradually over many months.

“We’d like to thank everyone for doing their bit to protect the NHS so far.

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“In the next few weeks we’d urge that support to continue, regardless of the tiers and Christmas ‘bubbles’.

“Remember hands, face and space – and if we all do our bit we can still enjoy a different type of Christmas and keep everyone safe.”

A Government statement setting out the reasoning behind the tier decisions for each area says of Derbyshire: “There has been improvement in this area, but case rates remain very high at 275 per 100,000, and in those over 60 it is 220 per 100,000. The pressure on the local NHS remains high.”

A number of readers have contacted the Derbyshire Times calling on the Government to adopt a more localised approach to restrictions.

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Others say we must just get on with things and follow the Tier 3 measures to hopefully further tackle this dreadful virus and help save lives.

Tiers will be reviewed on December 16 and then every two weeks, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying the new system has a ‘sunset’ expiry date of February 3.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Mr Johnson also said he believed Easter would mark a ‘real chance to return to something like life as normal’.

Everyone hopes and wants 2021 to be much better – but in the here and now, tough days continue for many.

Editor’s message

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription at or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.