Friday 26 March
Light at the end of the tunnel after a very difficult year
Earlier this week, our council leader, Cllr Steve Siddons, reflected on the sadness and challenges of the last 12 months and his hopes for the future. Here's what he had to say:
“One year ago this week, we entered the first coronavirus lockdown and all our lives changed overnight.
“Terms that started out unfamiliar to us, like working from home, furlough, self-isolate and hands, face, space, are now the accepted norm. Businesses closed, sadly some lost their jobs and seeing family and friends became a distant memory. The pressure on our mental health has been unprecedented.
“Above all, we remember all those who have tragically lost their lives to the virus and the millions of people bereaved. I pay tribute to the wonderful and extraordinary NHS workers, who have been absolutely heroic in the face of adversity.
“Through these turbulent times, I am proud of the support our council has given and continues to give to our communities.
“We have worked tirelessly to issue business grants in a timely manner and provided businesses with the information and support they need to make the right decisions and keep customers and staff safe.
“Together with our partners, we have responded to every stage of the pandemic, from helping with practical support for those shielding or self-isolating, to providing clear and timely information through a variety of channels about all aspects of the virus. We also deployed our own staff and employed Covid marshals to support police activity around compliance with the restrictions.
“While a small minority of people have chosen to ignore the rules put in place to protect us, the vast majority of people have done the right thing. Thank you to everyone who has played their part in preventing the spread of the virus and helped to save lives.
“Lockdown isn’t over yet, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. The hope provided by the vaccination programme allows us to look to a brighter future with cautious optimism. A future where we can see our loved ones again, businesses can reopen and we are able to safely welcome back visitors.
“My Cabinet has already agreed a detailed recovery plan, in step with the government roadmap, which details how our council services and facilities will reopen, alongside details of the support we will give to help our communities recover from the pandemic.
“There are also exciting developments planned for improvements to Scarborough and Whitby town centres, made possible by the recently awarded government funding, and a bespoke investment plan for Filey.
“We will never forget the last twelve months but it’s now the right time to hope and plan for better times ahead.”
The stay at home order still applies this weekend. From Monday 29 March it will be lifted but many restrictions will remain in place to keep you and others safe.
- You will be able to meet up outdoors, including in private gardens, with up to five other people from multiple households i.e. the rule of six, or with one other household if there are more than six of you.
- Continue to work from home if you can.
- Minimise the number of journeys you make and avoid travelling at the busiest times where possible.
- Continue to practise hands, face, space, and when indoors, regularly let in fresh air.
- Holidays abroad are not permitted.
- Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts will be able to reopen.
Full guidance is available on gov.uk
The vaccination rollout continues to go well in our borough. We encourage you take up the offer of receiving a vaccine when you get invited. This may be by phone, text message or letter through the post.
The vaccines are safe, effective, easy to receive and are the best way of protecting you and others from serious illness from Covid-19. You can find out more information about the vaccines and get reassurance about their safety from the NHS website.
Looking ahead to next week, we will be promoting the minimise travel message to all audiences but we must also recognise there will be people that wish to use their limited travel to enjoy some fresh air on the coast and explore the great outdoors in the North York Moors National Park.
We are asking potential visitors to respect our communities, the environment and other visitors when they visit, and use our car parks and public toilets safely.
We are also encouraging them to consider moving on to somewhere quieter should their chosen destination be busy when they arrive, to allow the all important space for social distancing.
Our Covid marshals, which we introduced last year, will be patrolling popular areas to support a safe welcome back. They will monitor businesses, visitors and local residents’ compliance with the restrictions. While they have no enforcement powers, they are able to pass on any concerns they have to our police colleagues.
We understand that some of our local communities may be nervous but with the restrictions easing we all need to come together to ensure we can welcome visitors back safely. We will continue to work with our partners and deal with any localised issues as best we can should they arise.
Until our next update, thank you for your support and for continuing to play your part in preventing the spread of Covid-19.