The public response throughout this crisis has been phenomenal, and a real sense of civic spirit and working together has been shown in Leeds that we can harness going forward.
Today, the Prime Minister announced further easing of lockdown measures which will be taking place over the next few months. Retail, restaurants, pubs and bars, as well as hair and beauty businesses have recently reopened to residents, with leisure facilities reopening in the coming weeks. Our focus to make Leeds as COVID-secure as possible continues, especially as we plan ahead for schools and universities returning. But the virus is still very much with us, as seen by the situation in Leicester and over the Pennines, as well as local outbreaks in areas across West Yorkshire. As a city we need to keep vigilant and work hard to keep people safe and the virus rate as low as possible. Our message remains the same; as a city we will work to ensure:
- Safe travel ensuring the safe use of highways and public transport and encouraging active travel where possible.
- Safe public spaces with physical distancing in communities, district centres and the city centre.
- Safe delivery of services including health and social care, and other public services.
- Safe education as more children and young people return to schools, colleges and nurseries.
- Safe working with physical distancing in workplaces and coordination between large employers to avoid peaks of movement.
Leeds is in a strong position, and has continued to rise to an unprecedented challenge, ensuring that we have a strong outbreak management approach for the city. However, we remain absolutely vigilant around the higher relative infection levels in some of our neighbouring towns and cities, and continue to work very closely with them. This includes regular joint meetings between Directors of Public Health in West Yorkshire and Public Health England, and sharing information and best practices. The national test and trace service is now operational, and locally, we have made good progress with our Outbreak Control Plan which was published at the end of June, and we have attached our COVID infographic for further information. Working with partners and the Local Outbreak Control Board, outbreaks across the city will be closely monitored and managed, so we minimise the risk of a further local or city lockdown.
This week at Full Council, there was unanimous thanks to the NHS, all the key workers, volunteers and our partners who have kept the city going through the pandemic. Next week at the council’s Executive Board, we will be discussing the latest COVID response and recovery report that highlights all the fantastic work undertaken in partnership with so many organisations, including the third sector, to support residents and business across the city. A copy of the report can be found here.
Going forward, our community, city and regional partnerships are essential – working together to achieve one aim: to improve local areas and communities.
So we want to thank you, for all of your hard work and dedication, the partnerships we have formed and the resilience you have shown. There is still work to be done, by working together we can, and will, build a better future for all.
We hope you get to have a break over the summer holidays and we look forward to picking up again with you in September.
Councillor Judith Blake CBE Tom Riordan CBE
Leader of Leeds City Council Chief Executive of Leeds City Council