Lockdown will lead to tough few months but brighter days are ahead, says council leader - The Leamington Observer

Lockdown will lead to tough few months but brighter days are ahead, says council leader

Leamington Editorial 7th Jan, 2021   0

THE ‘HAMMER-BLOW’ of lockdown will lead to a tough few months, but brighter days are ahead, says Warwick district council’s leader.

Following Monday’s announcement of a third national lockdown, council leader Andrew Day has reassured the area is well ‘prepared’ thanks to the NHS vaccination programme and grants to help safeguard businesses.

The new restrictions mean people can only leave their homes for essential reasons and schools have shut for all except children of key workers and vulnerable pupils. Businesses have also been forced to close or remain closed.

It comes after the UK reported a record 58,784 cases on Monday, and a further 407 deaths.

In Warwick the latest figures show 466 cases in 100,000 at the time of reporting – a rise of 117 compared to the previous week.

The prime minister says the restrictions will last until at least mid-February, by which time all residents in care homes, along with their carers, everyone over the age of 70 and all frontline health and social care workers should be vaccinated.

But coun Andrew Day remains determined the district will work together to get through the lockdown.

He said: “It’s disappointing we’re once again having to go into a lockdown. The severity of the situation requires that we continue to work together, taking what we’ve learnt from previous lockdowns and going the extra mile to save lives and protect the NHS. Despite these restrictions, we continue to benefit from living in an area with wonderful parks and open spaces for our daily exercise, giving us all opportunities for some respite from this necessary confinement.

“The council recognises the latest restrictions will be a hammer-blow to many businesses and the most vulnerable in our community. We’re responding to once again distribute further business grants and gearing up to assist our colleagues at Warwickshire County Council with new shielding arrangements.

“We’re also supporting the NHS with the vaccination programme and testing regime. It’s going to be a tough few months for everyone, but if we all play our part by staying local and following the guidelines, brighter days are ahead.

“Thankfully we’re well prepared to go ‘once more unto the breach.’ to quote Shakespeare’s words from Henry V.”

While the district’s parks, public toilets and children’s playgrounds remain open, all group activities are suspended. Football pitches, tennis courts and pavilions managed by the council are closed. The cafes at St Nicholas and Victoria Park are operating for takeaways only.

Other council owned facilities including the leisure centres, art gallery and museum and Spa Centre and other attractions will remain closed.

The council is also preparing to issue lockdown grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

And Warwickshire County Council leader Izzi Seccombe is urging residents to play their part.

She said: “We know how difficult this new lockdown will be for so many people in so many ways, but we need our communities in Warwickshire to pull together again over this, just as they did last March.

“We need everyone to follow the rules. Infection rates in Warwickshire are still very high and we know the new Covid-19 variant spreads incredibly quickly.

“I’d like to remind Warwickshire residents that no one has to be alone. Support is available, whether that be a friendly voice to speak to on the phone, help getting food items if you have no one else to turn to, or financial support through government grants.”

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