South Yorkshire 'must tap into grit and character' after going into Tier 3, says Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis

The metro mayor of South Yorkshire last night urged the county to “tap into the grit and character which have got us through so many difficult times before” as it prepared to have the harshest coronavirus restrictions imposed.

Some 1.4m people across Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham, and Sheffield will be under the Tier 3 restrictions from Saturday October 24, which bans all household mixing – whether indoors or outdoors – and forces certain businesses including pubs to close.

Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis reached agreement with the Government over the plans this week and secured a £41m economic support package from the Government to accompany the measures.

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Bitter wrangling over money with Greater Manchester led to the highest level of restrictions being imposed there from Whitehall without an agreement.

Sweeping new restrictions were imposed on millions more people yesterday, with Greater Manchester moving into the highest alert level, Tier 3, and Wales introducing its two-week “firebreak” lockdown at 6pm.

Coventry, Stoke and Slough will enter Tier 2 today, joining West Yorkshire and York, while Warrington is set to be placed into Tier 3 from Thursday next week, the local council said. Tier 3 restrictions are also expected to come into force in parts of Nottinghamshire on Wednesday.

In an open letter to residents, Mr Jarvis said he understood the “weariness” that many would feel, adding: “After the progress we made over the summer, the return to stricter restrictions is deeply frustrating. Many of you will be fearing for your families, your livelihoods, your future. Some of you will be wondering if these measures are worth it.

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Sheffield City Region mayor Dan JarvisSheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis
Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis

“Those feelings are understandable. But we should be under no illusions. These measures are needed. The scientific advice is that they can help.

“We still have a difficult path ahead, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. These restrictions will help us reach it sooner, and at a lower cost.

”From last week, it was clear we had to act. The number of people being admitted to our region’s hospitals was rising sharply. Our communities now have some of the highest numbers of cases in the North, and infection rates are still going up. The virus is spreading from young to old.”

The numbers of coronavirus cases continue to fall in some of the areas with the highest rates in England but have continued to rise across other local authorities. Rates are still rising in Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster but falling in Sheffield.

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Mr Jarvis said everyone needed to do their bit to bring the infection rate down, adding: “This is not just about keeping yourself safe.

“It’s about doing right by your neighbours, your friends, your community. It’s about doing right by our NHS.

“We owe NHS staff – and other front line workers, from retail staff to bus drivers – a deep debt of gratitude. The best way to express it is to follow the rules. If we don’t, we risk their sacrifice, and ours, being in vain.

”That is why I am asking people in South Yorkshire to tap again into the grit and character which have got us through so many difficult times before. Together, we can and will get through this.”

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