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Southend-on-Sea Borough Council responds to new national Covid restrictions

November 4, 2020 11:07 AM
Originally published by Southend Liberal Democrats - Working For You

On Saturday evening (31 October 2020), the Government announced that they are taking action nationally to control the spread of Coronavirus.

From Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December 2020, the Government is taking the following action:

  1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for specific purposes.
  2. Preventing gathering with people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
  3. Closing certain businesses and venues.

Cllr Trevor Harp, cabinet member for adult social care and health, says: "The Government has said that the single most important action we can all now take in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home, to protect the NHS and save lives.

"I ask all local people, whatever their views, to please now come together as a community and adhere to the new national restrictions from Thursday.

"We have done very well so far and our positive case rate is comparatively low in Southend-on-Sea. Keeping it that way will be essential and help when the proposed end of these restrictions comes in December, at which point the Government has said it is looking to go back to a local approach that will be based on local data.

"If all of us keep up with the basics of good hand washing, wearing face coverings, maintaining our distance from those we don't live with or who aren't in your support bubble, and self-isolating and getting a test if you have symptoms, we can keep our rate as low as possible which will help keep people safe and well and get our economy back moving again when the time comes."

Cllr Ian Gilbert, leader of the council, says: "We know that this announcement will worry many people in our local community and in local businesses. These new restrictions will undoubtedly be hard and we are seeking further guidance from the Government on any further business and employee support that may be available on top of what has already been announced nationally.

"Shielding is not being reintroduced but Government advice states that if you are aged 60 years or over, or deemed clinically vulnerable because you have an underlying health condition, you should be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contacts with others.

"Others who are deemed clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus due to having specific serious health conditions are now advised to work from home. If you cannot work from home, you are advised not to go to work and may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA). You are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible, but are encouraged to go outside for exercise.

"Throughout the pandemic the council, the community, local volunteers and our great voluntary sector have worked together and looked after each other, and the support provided by Southend Coronavirus Action will remain in place.

"We had already started making calls to over 7,000 vulnerable local people and that work will continue in the weeks ahead. If you do not have a family support network in place and need help, please reach out to family or friends, visit our website or call 01702 212497.

"Our staff are available to offer advice and information and where necessary link you to direct support available from the council or within the community to help you stay at home as much as possible or self-isolate if you need to."

Krishna Ramkhelawon, the council's director of public health, says: "It is important to remember that until Thursday 5 November, Southend-on-Sea will remain at MEDIUM local COVID alert level and we must adhere to these local restrictions until then, when we will move to the national approach.

"From Thursday 5 November, please adhere to the new national restrictions, including not leaving your home unless for the specific purposes outlined by the Government and not socially meeting indoors with anyone outside of your household or bubble.

"Please do continue to exercise or visit outdoor public places but only do this with the people you live with, your support bubble, or one person from another household.

"Complying with the new measures will help limit the spread of coronavirus in our local community, reduce the impact on our local NHS and save lives."

The new restrictions mean that the council's museums and galleries and leisure facilities will be required to close by Thursday 5 November and until Wednesday 2 December. Belfairs golf course will also close for golf. The council awaits confirmation about library services which were not covered in the announcement, along with advice on how local Remembrance services may be affected.

Local parks, open spaces and playgrounds will remain open.

A full list of the business closures will be published next week and set out in law.

The full new guidance will be published on Monday 2 November and the Government will write to everybody who is clinically extremely vulnerable to set out detailed advice to follow while the new restrictions are in place.

The new restrictions will be underpinned by law which will make it clear what you must and must not do from 5 November. The relevant authorities, including the police, will have powers to enforce the law - including through fines and dispersing gatherings.