Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said: “The easing of lockdown restrictions will be welcomed by many; particularly those living alone who can now create a ‘social bubble’ with a friend or family member for the first time, and the owners of ‘non-essential’ shops who can finally get back to business.
“However, if we are to avoid a second wave of Covid-19 and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, we cannot afford to let the sacrifices we’ve made over the last 12 weeks go to waste. Early indications show that in South Yorkshire we are heading in the right direction. But we must stay resolute, continue to follow the guidelines on social distancing and face coverings, and avoid using public transport unless absolutely essential. The advice remains to work from home if you possibly can. The situation remains precarious, with a real threat of a second wave occurring.
“Although all of us have a responsibility to do all we can to stay safe and stop the spread of the virus, as regional leaders, we also need more from Government in terms of intelligence and decision-making powers, so we can best serve our communities.
“We know that Coronavirus is not affecting all areas of the country equally, with the R rate falling more quickly in some areas than in others. We therefore need access to up-to-date, quality data, at a regional and local level, so that we can quickly identify any resurgence and if necessary, re-implement lockdown measures to ensure the safety of the public.
“Government also needs to listen to the expertise and on-the-ground knowledge coming from Metro Mayors and other regional leaders and use this insight to drive national policy-making. This means giving Mayors, or at least a regional Mayor, a seat on COBRA, which will help to ensure the London-centric approach we’ve seen thus far is replaced with a more balanced, informed outlook with the safety of the whole country at its heart.”