From 19 July, most Covid legal restrictions have lifted. Whilst it is very welcome that we on the road back to normality, positive cases and the numbers of people having to self-isolate is increasing rapidly – with Barnsley amongst the top ten hotspots in the country. This underlines the fact that we aren’t yet out of the woods.
We all have a responsibility to behave responsibly and continue to do our bit to keep one another safe.
- Taking part in the free twice-weekly Covid testing; with home kits available at test sites, pharmacies and for home delivery.
- Self-isolating if you have symptoms or are told to by Test-and-Trace.
- Getting vaccinated when you are invited by the NHS and ensuring that you’ve had both doses for maximum protection.
As Mayor, I have taken the decision to mandate that face coverings – which are a low cost, simple and effective means of keeping us safe – must still be worn at transport interchanges in South Yorkshire. Unlike the Mayor of London, I do not have the power to mandate coverings on public transport but would urge all passengers to continue to wear them to provide reassurance to fellow passengers who are anxious about the spread of this virus. Likewise, I would strongly urge residents to continue to wear face coverings when in enclosed indoor spaces, such as shops, pubs and restaurants.
I know how tough the last 12 months have been, but they have also demonstrated the amazing strength of our coalfield community spirit. It’s that community spirit – and by doing the right thing and continuing to follow the rules – that will enable to us overcome this cruel virus and for life to return to normal.
I’d like to pay tribute to the 128,000+ people – including hundreds here in Barnsley – who have lost their lives to this virus and to send my condolences to everyone who has lost family, friends and loved ones during the pandemic.
I would also like to offer my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all those who have put their own lives at risk to protect the vulnerable and keep our communities moving in the most difficult of circumstances. You represent the very best of our community. Thank you.
As we emerge the other side of the pandemic, our focus must be on ensuring that there is no return to a failed status quo. I’m working tirelessly, alongside our local council leaders, to build a stronger, greener and fairer regional economy for all our communities: creating a £860m South Yorkshire Renewal Fund and investing in the next generation through our Young People’s Pledge. This is a practical demonstration of the power of devolution to transform our communities and the difference it makes having Labour in power in local and regional government.