Seeing friends and family or going out to enjoy the sunshine this Easter weekend could cost lives.

That’s the message from Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, who is urging everyone across South Yorkshire to do their bit in the fight against Coronavirus over the Bank Holiday – by staying at home.

Mayor Jarvis said: “Social distancing is working. It is helping to slow the rate of infection and prevent our NHS from being overwhelmed. But we will only beat this virus by continuing to stay at home – and a failure to do so will cost lives.

“The temptation to go out will be great. But, for our country, this weekend could be the defining moment of this pandemic.

“The advice is clear. Nobody should leave their home unless it is absolutely essential – such as for one form of exercise; to shop for essentials, as sparingly as possible; and to go to work, if you are a key worker.

“I know that the Coronavirus is causing enormous disruption to our daily patterns and routines and we are all trying hard to make the best of an awful situation.

“Please, spare a thought for those who are being affected, in different ways, by the lockdown – such as the elderly and vulnerable who cannot leave the house at all for 12 weeks; those living alone and who are lonely; families living in cramped accommodation with no outside space; and victims of domestic violence who find themselves in lockdown with their abuser.

“Each of us are being affected in different ways by the lockdown. There is specialist help and support available, provided by a wide range of local organisations. If you need that help, please do reach out.

“We also owe it to NHS staff and others on the front line, who are working relentlessly to save lives and keep essential services running, to help them in the best way we can – by staying at home.

“Let’s not look back on this Easter weekend with regrets. Stay at home; protect the NHS; save lives.”

Mayor Jarvis is working around the clock, in collaboration with partners across our region, to ensure South Yorkshire has what it needs to respond to the virus.

Action taken by the Mayor and the Sheffield City Region team has included deferring loans to major companies to ensure cash flow, protect jobs and provide certainty; lobbying Government over working practices in the warehouse and distribution sector, working with trade unions, metro mayors and councils to address worker’s concerns; campaigning for the NHS to get the equipment and support workers need; pressuring Government to release devolution money and provide greater flexibility on existing funds, to provide instant support to those affected by Coronavirus; and convening the South Yorkshire COVID-19 Response Group – brining anchor institutions from across the region together to develop our economic recovery plan.

More resource has also been put into the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub, to ensure South Yorkshire businesses can access the best bespoke advice and support. The Sheffield City Region team has written to 7,500 South Yorkshire businesses to make them aware of the support on offer from Government, and also created a new designated webpage, bringing together all available information for businesses and the self-employed.