Beauty salons in Nottinghamshire will have to close when the region is placed under England’s strictest lockdown restrictions from Friday.
Jason Zadrozny, the leader of Ashfield district council, said the county had been placed in “tier 3 plus” as nail parlours, tanning salons and tattoo parlours are forced to close as well as many pubs and bars.
He told the Guardian: “We’re effectively in tier 3 plus. The additions for us in Nottinghamshire on top of tier 3 are personal care things – sunbeds, nail parlours, beauty salons, tattoo parlours – on the recommendation of Public Health England because they think tier 3 wasn’t enough to dampen the curve across Nottinghamshire.”
Pubs and bars that cannot serve substantial meals will also have to close under the measures, it is understood, but hairdressers and barbershops will be allowed to remain open.
It had been thought that only the city of Nottingham and three other council areas would enter tier 3 this week, but rising infection rates mean this has been expanded to the whole of Nottinghamshire, a region of nearly 1.2 million people.
It means that a total of more than 8.7 million people in England – or one in seven of the national population – will probably be living under the country’s tightest restrictions by the end of the week.
Zadrozny said Nottinghamshire would receive £8 a head for test and trace and a further £20 a head for business support, the same as in other tier 3 areas, which equates to about £32m in total for the region.
Nottingham, Rushcliffe, Gedling and Broxtowe were due to move into tier 3 at midnight on Wednesday but this has now been delayed pending the decision on placing the whole county in the highest category of restrictions.
Conservative MPs including Ben Bradley and Brendan Clarke-Smith, who represent seats in north Nottinghamshire, had been calling for their areas to be kept out of any tier 3 restrictions, but on Tuesday they conceded it was inevitable.
In a Facebook video, Bradley said the rising infection rate in the north of the country “makes it increasingly difficult for us as MPs to argue that it’s different, that we’re not in the same boat” as Nottingham, where university students accounted for a high proportion of cases in the past month.
He added: “It’s just frustrating. Naturally I don’t want people to have restrictions on their freedoms – that’s not what I’m about. I don’t think that’s what government is about. But we are in a situation where it’s really difficult now with these figures to be treated differently.”
Clarke-Smith, the MP for Bassetlaw, said he strongly suspected the area would be placed in tier 3 imminently. He published figures showing that while the infection rate had fallen in the centre of Nottingham, it had risen sharply elsewhere in the county over the past fortnight.
In Bassetlaw, the infection rate almost doubled, to 311.6 cases per 100,000 people, in the week to 24 October compared with the previous seven days.
There is speculation that West Yorkshire could also soon be moved into tier 3. But there is opposition from the Kirklees district, where local leaders including the Conservative MPs Jason McCartney and Mark Eastwood said they “do not feel comfortable agreeing” to tighter measures “without any indication of how we get out of these restrictions and how long they will last”.
Barry Sheerman, the Labour MP for Huddersfield, said he had been left optimistic that West Yorkshire would be allowed to remain in tier 2 following a meeting with the health minister Helen Whately on Tuesday.
He said Whately had hinted that the region may be able to avoid the highest level of restrictions if local authorities were given enhanced support for test and trace and enforcement, an idea proposed by local leaders.
This would effectively introduce a tier 2-plus level to Boris Johnson’s three-tier lockdown strategy, undermining the core purpose of the scheme which was to simplify and standardise restrictions in place across the country. It would also prompt fury from leaders in some areas already been placed in tier 3 who were told that additional support would only be available if they accepted the strictest measures.
Sheerman said: “I think within a week or two it will be clear that we’ve got a national emergency and it needs a national policy. What worries me about this whole process is that the data shows that the whack-a-mole strategy focusing on particular regions and local authorities is obviously not working.
“The message loud and clear from Helen Whately was that perhaps there was an opportunity to stay in the second tier but with a bit of special help.”
Another source confirmed that Whately mentioned the idea of West Yorkshire remaining in tier 2 with “enhanced measures” but said a tier 3 lockdown seemed inevitable.