South Yorkshire mayor Dan Jarvis reacts to announcement region is staying in Tier 3

Sheffield City Region Mayor, Dan Jarvis, has reacted to the announcement that South Yorkshire is to remain in Tier 3 of the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

By Claire Lewis
Thursday, 17th December 2020, 12:32 pm

Today, the Government confirmed that South Yorkshire will remain in Tier 3 over Christmas.

The decision is based on data including new infection rates and the number admitted to hospital with Covid in the last week, which was 104 in South Yorkshire.

The Government also looked at pressure on the NHS, with South Yorkshire having 632 people in hospital, which was around 1.5 times the number at the spring peak.

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Sheffield City Region Mayor, Dan Jarvis

Mr Jarvis said: “I know this decision is absolutely the last thing our communities and businesses wanted to hear, another hammer blow to follow so many others.

“After the endless grind and hardship of this extraordinary, terrible year, simply having an ordinary Christmas would have been a huge relief.

“For many of our businesses, these days and weeks are critical to their survival.

“I would reiterate that this decision was taken solely by central government. Once again, Mayors and local leaders have been cut out of the decision-making process and not even afforded the basic courtesy of being consulted, or informed in advance, about this decision.

“These decisions are absolutely crucial to our residents, businesses and communities, but yet again they are being made about us, without us.

“I will keep fighting for more support to help our communities and our businesses get through this incredibly tough time. We secured £30m funding for business support in October, we’ve increased our own funding for business support and skills by £16.5m and we’ve given our councils a £6m boost to help them cope amid the crisis.”

He added: “But COVID is still deadly and is still spreading. The lockdowns have brought the rate of new infections down, but we are going into Christmas in a perilous position.

“Better treatments means fewer people are dying, but they are staying longer in hospital, occupying 632 beds across South Yorkshire – far above the peak of 400 in the spring.

“A surge in cases over Christmas, combined with the normal pressure on hospitals from winter flu, could put our NHS at a tipping point. We simply can’t risk the needless danger to our loved ones that would bring.

“We’ve already seen the first vaccinations in South Yorkshire. The light at the end of the tunnel is not just visible but growing brighter every day. That makes it all the more important to hold the line a little longer, so we do not unnecessarily lose lives just when the end is in sight.

“Nothing could be more natural than to want to see our family and friends over Christmas. But the best present we can give our loved ones is a COVID-free Christmas, and our communities, businesses and NHS cannot afford a third spike in the virus in January. We are so close to being able to spend time with our families as normal: we must not risk another lockdown and more loss of life for the sake of a few days.

“For now, in this season above all others, we have to think not just of our own safety but of our friends, our family, our community. Together, we can reach the finishing line that is getting closer every day.”