Buildings across Leeds city centre will light up this weekend to remember those who have tragically lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This Saturday and Sunday will mark one year since the first cases were detected in the UK. In that time, the virus has sadly claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people, with more than 1,300 of those deaths in Leeds alone.
As a mark of respect, buildings including Leeds Civic Hall, Leeds Town Hall, Leeds City Museum, Leeds Arena and Leeds University's Parkinson Building will be illuminated blue, in tribute to selfless NHS staff working in hospitals and care settings, and yellow, the colour which symbolises grief awareness.
The sombre landmark comes amid the more positive news that almost 80,000 people in Leeds have now received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with vaccination sites up and running at venues around the city.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said: “This weekend we reach a solemn milestone for our city and for the whole country as we mark one year since the beginning of what has been one of the most anxious and uncertain times in living memory.
“The profound sadness of losing so many lives cannot be overstated and commemorating that loss and expressing our solidarity with those who have said goodbye to friends, loved ones and family members will be a poignant moment.
“The pandemic has also seen some truly inspiring examples of courage and unity, from the health and care workers who have given so much in the fight against the virus to those who have pitched in to support their neighbours and communities. This tribute will also recognise their enduring courage and spirit in these toughest of times”
Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Eileen Taylor added: “The past year has been immeasurably difficult for us all and the pandemic has taken an immense toll on the city as a whole and on each of us individually.
“As we mark a year since the first cases of this dreadful virus were detected in the UK, it is a fitting moment to pause, reflect and consider the people and the stories behind what can be at times overwhelming statistics.
“As we remember those who are no longer with us, we should also look ahead with a sense of hope and optimism that better days are on the horizon and have greater confidence that by continuing to look after each other, we can and will emerge from this crisis together.”
Everyone in Leeds is being asked to continue to do their bit to help fight the spread of COVID-19 by:
Staying home as much as you can and minimising contact with others when you do need to go out. Acting as though you have the virus is the best way to stay safe.
Regularly washing your hands for at least 20 seconds.
Wearing a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
Staying two metres apart from people you do not live with where possible.
Ensuring work venues are as COVID secure as possible.
Remembering that if you’ve had your vaccination or previously tested positive for COVID-19, it’s important that everyone still follows the rules to keep us all safe.
More information and support for residents can be found here: www.leeds.gov.uk/coronavirus
Support for businesses can be found here: www.leeds.gov.uk/coronavirus/business