More than a million people in South Yorkshire entering the highest level of coronavirus restrictions have been told to be under “no illusions” that “these measures are needed”.
Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis has sent an open letter to the residents of the county with only hours to go until the Tier 3 restrictions begin in Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster just after midnight on Saturday.
Mr Jarvis led the team which negotiated with the Government for nearly a fortnight before announcing the move, which comes with a £41 million support package, earlier this week.
The Labour Barnsley Central MP said in his letter: “I understand the weariness with which many of you will have heard this news.
“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.
“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.”
Mr Jarvis said South Yorkshire communities now have some of the highest numbers of cases in the north of England and infection rates are still going up.
On Wednesday Mr Jarvis admitted he could not have secured any more cash, saying he “moved heaven and earth to secure the maximum amount of resource that we could”.
Following the announcement, Sheffield City Council leader Julie Dore called the negotiations with government “a charade”, saying it was clear Downing Street officials and ministers were going through the motions for 10 days just to try and prove they were listening.