Statement from the leader of the council regarding COVID-19 – Thursday 22 October 2020

Published

Councillor Andrew Johnson, leader of the council, said: “Last week given our borderline status and likely projected increase in cases I asked government to consider whether it was appropriate or not for us to move into high-risk tier two. Since then the rise in our number of cases has slightly abated, but the potential for underlying infection remains extremely high. As a result, and based upon the data before us, in discussions with government we have requested to remain in tier one for now pending further review, to which the government has agreed. However, our numbers are such that we remain on the cusp of tier two and all the additional restrictions on our lives this would bring. We must not be complacent. We must continue to follow the guidance. We must stop the spread. Doing this may help us avoid tier two. 

We will keep the situation under constant review and any decisions on further restriction will be based upon data, the expert advice of our dedicated public health professionals, and liaison with government. The Royal Borough is now regularly publishing local data so that residents can see and appreciate the trends that are guiding our decision making. 

Over the last week, I've listened to the views of many businesses concerned about the tier two and tier three restrictions. The Royal Borough is actively consulting with our local businesses to understand the pressures they are under. We will continue to lobby government for additional business support. Our businesses will be crucial to securing the local economic recovery and I welcome recent news that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is increasing support for businesses impacted by further restrictions.

We are also asking for more local test and trace support to ensure the quality of our data improves so we can pinpoint sources of infection and take a risk-based approach to any restrictions.  

We can help avoid tier two if we all continue to follow the guidance. Remember to wash your hands regularly, wear a face covering where appropriate and keep space between yourself and those not in your household – this is particularly important if you have visitors or if you visit other homes. You must not meet in a group of more than six, indoors or outdoors, and if you do have symptoms please self-isolate and get a test.

It is imperative we all understand the risk to public health and the local economy this virus poses. We can stop the spread and we can help avoid further restrictions. Following the public health advice will help us protect our local businesses.”