Message from Sarah Norman, Chief Executive, Barnsley Council - 23 February 2021

I imagine that like me, lots of you tuned in to the Prime Minister’s briefing yesterday to see what the plans to slowly move us out of lockdown would be.

There’s definitely more of an element of optimism in the air – even if it is a cautious one!

As a council, we will be taking information from the government’s roadmap and thinking carefully about what it means for our services.

The key elements will be used to inform the development of our own roadmap for the next twelve months and will work alongside our Outbreak Management Plan, which drives our approach to prevent, detect, respond to and reduce the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) among our communities; and our Recovery Strategy, which focuses on five key themes – health and wellbeing, business and economy, community resilience, education and skills, and infrastructure and the environment. You can read more about these at www.barnsley.gov.uk/services/health-and-wellbeing/covid-19-coronavirus-advice-and-guidance/ under Barnsley coronavirus response and recovery plans.

Of course, there are still many uncertainties which are beyond our control such as how the virus will behave in terms of any mutations or new variants; the success of the vaccine rollout; and further national policy decisions.

For these reasons our roadmap will include contingency plans if things don’t go as well as hoped, as well as planning for the unlocking that the Prime Minister has set out.  However, we will continue to work with our partners to make sure Barnsley is in a good place when we are able to start living out of lockdown and in the months that follow.

While there is light at the end of the tunnel and we now have something to work towards, it’s still going to be vitally important that we all continue to follow the basics of following hands, face, space guidelines and adhere to any rules and regulations that come with each stage.

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