THE leader of Bradford Council Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe has issued a statement following the Government announcement about the relaxation of COVID restrictions for Christmas.

Cllr Hinchcliffe said: “Of course I want everyone to have a wonderful Christmas but the risk of allowing people to socialise in bigger groups, and a resulting potential increase in infection rates early in the New Year, is a very real one and does worry me. I don’t want us to squander the progress we’ve made.

“It is clearly a risk the Government feels is worth taking to enable families to see each other at Christmas. However I would urge everyone to take great care to heed the ‘wash hands, cover face, make space’ messages, even when mixing with close family, in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and prevent more tragic deaths.

“A number of our nation’s usual religious festivals have been disrupted this year. Bradford District is a place where we have vibrant faith communities so we’ve had a mournful year with Easter, Eid and Diwali all having been impacted by restrictions. As Leader of a richly diverse place I just want to acknowledge the members of other faith communities who’ve not been afforded the same concessions this year. But regardless of how subdued we choose to make Christmas or any other religious festivals this year, round the corner 2021 should signal a gradual roll-out of a vaccination programme to enable us to get back to relatively normal lives. And that’s the best Christmas present any of us, no matter what our background, can hope for.”