BARNSLEY will move into the government’s strict tier three coronavirus alert level this weekend due to a surge in cases.

The restrictions will come into force from 00.01 on Saturday, it was announced this morning (Wednesday).

The total funding available to South Yorkshire agreed with the government for the new restrictions is £41m, including £30m to support the region’s businesses, and £11m for local authorities to support public health measures such as Test and Trace to stop the spread of the virus.

Residents must not socialise with anybody they do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in any private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events.

People must not socialise in a group of more than six in an outdoor public space such as a park, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue.

All pubs and bars must also close, unless they are serving substantial meals.

Mayor of the Sheffield City Region and Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis said: “Following extensive discussions with ministers, local council leaders and I have agreed with the government that South Yorkshire will move into tier three, the ‘very high’ alert level for coronavirus restrictions.

“We all recognise the gravity of the situation and have taken the responsible route to ensure we save lives and livelihoods, and protect our NHS.

“More older people are contracting the virus. The number of people with Covid-19 in our hospitals has doubled over the last ten days, with no signs this will relent over the coming weeks. Inaction was not an option.

“We called on government to offer a local lockdown lifeline for our local authorities and economy, and the new restrictions will be introduced alongside resources which mean we are better equipped to control the virus and limit some of the damage on jobs and businesses.

“Collective action was the only practical choice to keep everyone in our region safe. If restrictions are effective, individual local authorities will be able to move to lower alert levels as soon as it is safe to do so, in consultation with fellow local leaders, myself and national government.

“However, to reach that point as quickly as possible, it’s critical people in South Yorkshire follow the new restrictions as soon as they are in place.

“I want to thank everyone in the region for their perseverance. The character and grit of people in South Yorkshire will be needed in abundance to help us get through what will be an incredibly challenging period.

“Our NHS staff have worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic to keep us all safe. We owe it to them to ease the pressure ahead of the toughest winter our health service will ever face. I know people will step up and do their bit.”