THE leader of Barnsley Council has urged residents to take a ‘cautious approach’ over Monday’s easing of restrictions - and warned rates are ‘extremely likely’ to rise again.

The third step of the government’s roadmap is set to come into force, meaning that indoor hospitality can reopen and indoor entertainment can resume.

Up to six people or two households will also be able to meet indoors, and up to 30 residents can meet outdoors.

Leader of the council, Sir Steve Houghton, wants people across the borough to ‘enjoy new freedoms, but enjoy them carefully’.

He said: “We’ve had high rates in our borough since the beginning of the pandemic and are currently stuck at between 50 and 60 cases per 100,000.

“This makes us the highest in the region and, quite frequently, the country.

“We are extremely likely to see rates rising again in Barnsley and because we have a high baseline, this is more of a problem here than in most other places in the country.

“Sadly, some people who are not yet vaccinated could still get ill and even die and every single death is an avoidable tragedy.

“So please continue to go that extra mile when it comes to protecting yourselves, the ones you love, and our wider communities.”