Sheffield City Region mayor's anger as press briefed before local leaders on northern lockdown

Credit: PA Images

South Yorkshire mayor Dan Jarvis has criticised Government officials who briefed national newspapers on more Covid-19 restrictions for parts of northern England before local politicians.

Press reports revealed around 10 million people in the north of England would be placed under stricter lockdown measures like shutting pubs and restaurants.

Many politicians, including council leaders in affected areas were first alerted to the plans in national newspapers.

Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, Dan Jarvis, said: "It is totally unacceptable that potential changes to local restrictions are briefed to the press without consulting local leaders. This causes chaos and uncertainty."

Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis Credit: PA

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to shut pubs and restaurants in places like Newcastle, Manchester and Liverpool. Despite Sheffield having some of the highest cases in the country, no extra restrictions have been announced but this is likely to change.

Mr Johnson is hoping a more simplified version of local lockdown being split into three tiers will be easier to understand for the public.

  • Tier 1 will see current social distancing measures - the 'rule of six' along with the 10pm hospitality venue curfew of 10pm maintained.

  • Tier 2 will have the same restrictive measures plus a ban on households mixing.

  • Tier 3 will include the above but the closure of pubs, bars and restaurants until further notice.

As of October 7, Sheffield had an infection rate of 355 per 100,000, Rotherham 200, Barnsley 143 and Doncaster 135.

Mayor Jarvis added: "Coronavirus cases across South Yorkshire continue to rise at an alarming rate and it is clear we have reached a point where additional measures are needed to stop the spread of the virus. I have been in constant contact with Public Health England and local authorities about what steps are necessary, and I have sought urgent clarity from Ministers about their intentions.

When businesses hear about the looming threat of closure, yet the Government has so far offered no plan to support our economy. People in South Yorkshire and across the North deserve far better. As well as seeking to understand any new measures, I have pressed Ministers for clear guidance, support for our economy and an exit strategy from local restrictions.

Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis

"We will provide a full update as soon as possible. In the meantime, people across South Yorkshire should continue to follow the guidance and limit contact with other households."