Mayor James Palmer blasted those he claims are trying to misunderstand the Government’s “careful balance of Covid-beating initiatives”.

He said there was a dual aim of trying to jumpstart the economy and secure jobs and on the other, to protect life “and suppress the spread of this dangerous virus”.

He used as an example those who decry the “hugely popular and rather imaginative” Eat Out to Help Out campaign whilst pointing to a simultaneous effort to urge overweight people to drop a few pounds.

“I’m sorry, I just don’t see a clash,” he said. “It isn’t Either/Or. “Enjoying a once-in-a-while meal subsidised by the Chancellor doesn’t mean we can’t also improve our diet, exercise more, and shed superfluous ballast so we can fight Covid if we get infected.”

Mayor Palmer said: “What’s really new and important is the rising evidence that people carrying less fat seem to be surviving Covid more frequently and recovering more quickly. “So, I think most reasonable people would agree that we should just step up and shed our excess baggage.”

Changing our commuting habits will also leave “a lighter, greener footprint, then we can help reduce pollution as well”.

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He said the summer provides an opportunity to build our resilience.

“From fat to fit, it’s our chance to get healthy before winter hits with the fistful of bugs that we’re told could complicate Covid and put us at avoidable risk,” he said.

“So those who make a fuss about wearing masks and social distancing, or try to pick holes in campaigns that are striving to strike the tricky balance between protection and freedom, between health and wealth, surely need to get with the programme.

“It’s not rocket science, it’s simple common sense. And community sense.”

Mayor Palmer added: “We can’t relax. We need to care for ourselves and our community just as much now as we did in March.

“The furlough scheme is winding down, recession is biting, and job losses are on the rise.

“Each of us has the personal and economic power to help fight back by making a targeted effort to shop locally and keep businesses afloat.

“Every pound we spend strengthens our community’s ability to thrive – and every pound we lose strengthens our health, and our own ability to survive.”