Mayor's statement in relation to Government's latest Coronavirus announcement

Mayor of Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, shares her statement following the Government's latest Coronavirus announcement and 'Freedom Day'.

Responding to the Government’s latest Coronavirus roadmap announcement, Mayor Tracy Brabin, said: “The past 15 months have been so hard for us all, and I know we all want to find the light at the end of the Covid tunnel; a step closer to a life of normality. Today’s press conference perhaps offered our first glimmer of that light.

“However, caution, care and clarity are needed as we step into new freedoms. 

“Here in West Yorkshire COVID cases have risen 62% in the last week. So, we really do need a clear message from the government that puts people’s safety first, based on the science and live data.

“Today’s message put the onus on the individual and on businesses to ‘self manage’ what has been mandatory in recent months.  This will have left many feeling confused.  As demonstrated in the lively debates in today’s press, the advice can be divisive, leading to disagreements on the interpretation of what is ‘safe’. I am concerned that that debate creates confusion that compromises that crucial safety.

“Firstly, arguments have been raised today on the issue of facemasks on public transport. In a recent travel study, (Understanding attitudes to social distancing and face coverings on public transport) the majority of passengers said they would lose confidence in using if face masks were reduced. So many people, especially those who are more vulnerable, may become anxious about using public transport if face masks become voluntarily.

“The pandemic has heightened existing inequalities within our communities, and I urge the government to reconsider this, so that we don't create a situation where people become excluded. We also must consider the safety of those working on public transport.

“We have also heard today that working from home will be up to employers.  Employers have been under huge amounts of pressure during the pandemic and must be provided with a clear framework that allows them to keep their employees safe.

“Finally, the lack of clarity on bubbles and isolation is unhelpful.  The Government must resolve this. If bubbling and the requirements to self-isolate remain in place, people need adequate proper support. People within our communities are having to make the decision between putting a meal on the table, or stopping the spread of infection.

“Yes, West Yorkshire, I too want a freedom day. But we need to help people through this transition, support them with the right advice and advocate for those who need support through the coming months.”