Chairman’s update on the coronavirus pandemic - 4 December 2020

So, the islands are now officially in Tier 1: Medium Alert. I would like to repeat my message from last week that whilst we are currently fortunate enough to be in the lowest tier and under the most permissive social restrictions, we are far from out of the woods and must not let our guard down at a time when there is greater risk from an increase in the movement of people and at a point when a vaccine is on the horizon.

There is a lot of information to process at the moment, so I’m grateful that our council comms team have worked with our Public Health team to produce a summary of the key messages about the tier system and Christmas Bubbles, in order to assist you in your decision making in the run up to Christmas. It highlights all of the things they think will be most relevant for our community at this time and I encourage you to read and share it. We will be issuing this information in hard copy and distributing with this update to all the usual places (the Paper Shop and Post Office on St Mary's, and to the off-islands) in the course of the next few days. One of the key themes to remember is: ‘just because you CAN do something, doesn’t necessarily mean you should.’ I would like to emphasise Public Health’s appeal for everyone to act within the spirit of the rules.

There have also been developments in other areas of our work this week. On Monday we announced that the council has appointed Natural Generation as the contractor for the GO-EV electric vehicle project. Natural Generation will be installing the project’s charging points, solar panels and solar canopies. You can read the full announcement here.

I have also been informed of another positive development this week. The majority of the repairs at Normandy swimming pool have now been completed and staff are pulling out all the stops to ensure the remaining works are completed as soon as possible. This follows the decision taken by your councillors in August to spend £25,000 on repairs. I realise it has taken some time, so thank you for your continued patience. The swimming pool is a really valued community facility and I am pleased that we are now getting closer to reopening.

On a similar note, I’ve also been informed that some repairs have been carried out and further works scheduled on the council owned playparks at Porthcressa and the Garrison on St Mary’s. This is great news and I know that lots of parents will be looking forward to enjoying the playparks with their children once again. A word of caution, however: please remember that until we announce the reopening of the playparks you must not enter these sites as we cannot guarantee the safety of the equipment.

I hope to be able to give you a clearer timescale for the reopening of all of the facilities mentioned above in next week's Chairman's update.

Please do take some time to read through the guidance on tiers and bubbles - as strange as that sentence sounds! It’s really important that everyone knows what the rules are in the coming weeks in order to give our community the best chance of a peaceful Christmas time.

As ever, thank you for your support and please continue to raise any concerns with your councillors.

With my very best wishes

Robert Francis

Chairman of the Council of the Isles of Scilly

Publishing date: 
Friday, 4 December, 2020