The Leader of Swale Borough council, Cllr Roger Truelove, has called for a renewal of "community spirit" to help people get through the next six months of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In the last few weeks, the government has announced new measures to try to prevent the spread of the virus, including limiting opening hours for pubs, bars and restaurants, making collection of contact details a legal requirement for businesses, and making it illegal for groups of more than six people to gather socially.
Cllr Truelove's Statement reads: “Recent Government decisions have signalled a new phase in the fight against coronavirus. We are anticipating another set of extra responsibilities for our council and I am naturally concerned about unemployment and homelessness increasing. Having had the intense lockdown phase from March to June, we then had a period of comparative respite through the summer, with people patriotically eating out to help out. Now we are embarking on a long six-month winter of hibernation, with the possibility of further restrictions on individual lifestyles. We cannot underestimate the impact this may have on the economy but also on people’s wider health and especially mental health".
“People are going to find restrictions much harder to accept during the winter months and we will need to renew the community spirit of the first lockdown. We must not relax. We have had a comparatively low level of infection compared with some parts of the country and we must continue to follow the public health advice, to regularly wash our hands, wear masks and observe social distancing. At the same time, we must have a vision of our future as we come out of this crisis. Much will depend on the competence of our government, especially in tackling the severe economic climate. But as a Council we have to have a clear idea of where we want to go."
“We will continue to fight to protect Swale from unrealistic planning demands from government; to seek ways to provide more affordable housing; to fight the climate emergency locally, to work more closely with community voluntary groups, to build a local economy with wider job opportunities and make improvements to our town centres, our open spaces, our tourist centres and our heritage to increase our sense of pride in the place called Swale.”
For more information regarding COVID-19 and Coronavirus local please visit the council's website at: http://swale.gov.uk/news-and-your-council/coronavirus.