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Leader responds to new COVID measures

Date Published: 24 September 2020
Cllr Hemsley face covering

Council Leader Oliver Hemsley has issued a response to Tuesday’s government announcement regarding further national measures to address rising cases of coronavirus in England.

Council Leader Oliver Hemsley
Council Leader Oliver Hemsley

Following Tuesday’s government announcement regarding a tightening of COVID-19 restrictions in England, there can be no doubt that we are all facing an increasingly serious situation.

Having been through a national lockdown and worked hard to gain a measure of control over coronavirus, we are now faced with the prospect of rising case numbers across the country. This comes at a time when the NHS and local Councils are preparing for winter and the added pressure this can place on health and social care services.

With cases on the rise, it’s felt that further preventive measures are now needed to stop the virus from spreading, and it’s important that we all get to grips with these changes.

There is now a much greater emphasis on the need for face coverings in enclosed spaces, such as taxis, shops and hospitality venues. There are also changes to operating hours for businesses that sell food and drink, which must close by 10pm each night.

Businesses, in general, will face stricter rules to make their premises COVID Secure from 28th September. The government has also said that these rules will be legally enforceable, with bigger fines for anyone who break the rules and puts people at risk.

Those of us who can work from home are being advised to carry on doing so throughout the winter months, while caps on the maximum number of people who can attend weddings and take part in indoor sport have been lowered.

This is only a snapshot of some of measures that were announced on Tuesday and I would strongly urge everyone to read the full list provided on the government’s website.

The government expects that these measures will need to stay in place until March of next year. I know this will be difficult for many people to hear but it’s important that we do all we can to follow the rules. 

My view is that Rutland has seen a very high level of compliance with national guidelines, and that this has been integral in helping us to manage COVID-19 locally. I can’t thank our businesses and residents enough for responsible and level-headed way in which they’ve responded to the pandemic. 

Our numbers are relatively low compared to other areas, which gives us even more reason to keep following the rules. Coronavirus remains a threat everywhere but it is down to us to control the virus here in Rutland.

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