Residents across Merseyside's worst hit borough for coronavirus cases have said "their heart goes out to" local businesses following new restrictions enforced from today.
On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed Liverpool City Region would be placed under tough new measures to help stem the rising coronavirus cases and outlined a new three-tier system of local lockdown measures for England.
This saw the region placed in the "very high" category or "Tier Three" from today and the following establishments close, meaning members of the public will not be able to visit pubs, bars, gyms, betting shops, casinos and adult gaming centres.
According to recent figures, Knowsley has the second-highest rate of coronavirus in England, climbing from 485.9 to 669.5, with 1,010 new cases, and Liverpool is in third place, where the rate has increased from 504.4 to 598.5, with 2,981 new cases.
From local gyms to popular pubs, we put a call out on social media asking Knowsley residents and customers to send us their messages of support to local businesses in these tough times and show the strength of the community.
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Many sent messages to individual businesses that are close to their hearts and to all those affected in their town.
Billy Mac said: "In times of adversity the heart of Kirkby beats louder its soul shines brighter, as always together we'll smash it."
Ann Mercer Lemon commented: "My heart goes out to anyone in business. I would like to say to Sue & Steve of the Allies club, thinking of you as they have 2 businesses to lose if closed too long. Hope they make it."
Phil Rimmer posted: "To all the new bars and restaurants in Prescot, good luck we will see you on the other side."
Joan Smith said: "My heart goes out to the people with businesses but like people all over Kirkby, Liverpool and all others in this region we will get there and overcome. I hope so."
Others said they would continue to support businesses where possible and shared their thoughts on new restrictions and the impact the pandemic has had.
Carol McIver posted: "Hops and Barley, beer, wines and spirits supplier to the trade. My daughter is a rep and has already been on furlough earlier this year.
"A lot of her friends in the hospitality area are still affected, some already losing their jobs now..
Mary Fury said: "The local business of Kirkby have had a tough enough time over the last few years and I'm very proud of the way they have built up our Town Centre and market and fighting back.
"Good luck to them all and we'll keep buying locally and supporting them."
Pat Sampson said: "So sad to see this happening. Most people have been sensible, it’s just the odd few that spoil things for everyone.
"So sorry for all the small businesses that are paying the price."
Donna Messham posted: "Kirkby as suffered so much with shopping places and I am hoping that the small amount of business we have left can now survive."
Craig Culshaw commented: "Entertainment, performing arts, hospitality and travel/Airport industries all hit hard. We are in this together."
George Heard said: "We try an shop local as much as we can these small businesses are gonna need all the help they can get so help them out eh."
Jean Crampton commented: "If the community play their part to drive the rate down these businesses will be able to reopen.
"That's really the best thing we can all do… this virus is largely being driven by people mixing in households and being too close to each other in other social situations…. the very thing we are urged to not do!!!… Can we just think about that it's the best thing we can do for our communities."
Terry Byron posted: "I support all local businesses but also believe we need a circuit breaker to turn the corner on Covid 19."
"I have every confidence that the people of Knowsley and beyond will come together"
Councillor Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council said: "We have been clear from the outset that we wanted constructive conversations with the Government to come up with a workable and reasonable solution for our area.
"These measures are not something which anybody wanted, but it is very clear that our City Region and our local hospitals are now under more pressure than anywhere else in the country.
"We simply cannot risk overwhelming an already stretched NHS and we need to protect the most vulnerable residents of Knowsley. Therefore, reluctantly, we have to accept these measures. Indeed, I have been clear for some weeks now that further measures did need to be taken.
"Along with the other City Region Leaders and the Metro Mayor, I have also been clear about the need for more support from the Government to make sure that we can in turn support the local businesses who will be affected (and, most importantly, their employees). While the Government has listened to us by providing some funding support, we will continue our discussions and call for more money to allow us to support our communities through the coming weeks and months.
"I know that we have difficult period ahead, but I have every confidence that the people of Knowsley and beyond will come together, as they did earlier in the year, to drive infection rates down so that we can look forward collectively to better times ahead."
With potential closing restrictions and uncertainty facing the sector, we spoke to a number of hospitality businesses in Knowsley on Friday to hear their thoughts.