BUSINESSMEN and residents are calling on County Hall politicians to rethink their request to put Essex into 'High' alert.

Stephen Mayzes, from Little Clacton, owns a portfolio of leisure and tourism businesses in Tendring, which currently has 893 cases.

The rate of infection across the district also stands at 609.3 cases per 100,000 people.

Mr Mayzes believes the decision to change Essex from being on the 'medium' alert to the 'high' alert could cripple the county's economy.

His concerns come after Essex County Council leader, David Finch, set out the reasons why he thinks the county should move into a higher tier of Covid restrictions.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Essex County Council leader David FinchEssex County Council leader David Finch

Moving from the 'medium' tier, to the 'high risk' tier would mean a ban on people mixing with anyone outside their household in an indoor environment.

Mr Mayzes, however, believes this would deliver a devastating blow to businesses in the area.

"Essex is a diverse area with many parts being rural and already struggling to come back from national lockdown," he said.

"Local politicians need to support businesses by following the advice from government and only supporting a countywide lockdown when backed by national led evidence.

"Local people are doing their best to go out and support local businesses and in some cases that support is keeping them afloat, especially the tourism and hospitality sector.

"I would urge the county politicians to rethink their call to put Essex on High Alert and give businesses as long as they can to rebuild in order to survive."

Glen Hensey, owner of several Tricky Escape rooms, which are based in Clacton and Dovercourt, also slammed the decision.

"This is so ridiculous," he fumed. 

"Businesses are fighting to survive and people are trying to get on with their lives. 

"Every other council is fighting against being put into higher tiers and face increased restrictions. 

"We are asking to be pushed artificially into a higher tier above list of other places that have far more worrying figures than Essex. 

"It’s up to government to decide not the council.

"Please Essex Council don’t screw over your businesses and residents. 

"It’s been hard enough without you making it impossible."

Resident Penny Waterman also disagrees with the council's decision.

She said: "I feel it is taking things too far, if there was a need due to numbers then we couldn't complain.

"But to ask to be put us on the higher alert I find it unacceptable.

"My family and myself stick to every rule, we wear our masks we don't mix with people outside our family locally.

"If we look in our local supermarkets petrol stations, there are lots of people not doing what they have been asked.

"Not wearing masks and so on, why not enforce these rules before making our lives any harder."