Chairman's update on the coronavirus pandemic - 14 August 2020

As you may already have seen, I have written on behalf of the Council to the government requesting additional financial support to ensure our lifeline transport links can survive what will be a very difficult autumn and winter period. All of Scilly’s transport providers are private companies that operate without subsidy under normal circumstances and I feel it is reasonable, and essential, for the government to help until the economy recovers sufficiently for a return to their usual business.

As I mentioned in my statement last week, a letter to all residents about the Council’s work in relation to coronavirus arrangements has been posted and if it’s not already with you, should arrive shortly. I hope this letter will enable you to share my confidence in the expertise and capability of our Public Health professionals and everyone they are working with to help keep our community safe.

Something which has been brought to my attention this week is the increase in the number of parties occurring on beaches, particularly Porthcressa. Whilst I obviously recognise that the beaches are there to be enjoyed and encourage people to do so respectfully, we cannot overlook the need to follow the Public Health guidance on the numbers of people we can interact with, and the social distancing advice still in place. Please try to lead by example and encourage others to take these restrictions seriously, not only for your own safety, but also for that of the most vulnerable members of our community who are relying on us. I urge anyone making use of the beaches in the evenings to take particular care as we do not want to increase the strain on our emergency services at this time. 

Separate to concerns about the spread of coronavirus, are those relating to recent noise and antisocial behaviour in the same area late at night. If you, or someone you know, is contributing to the problem, please think of the disturbance and upset you are causing to other residents and visitors in the area, many of whom are working long hours to help keep the islands running smoothly amid considerable challenges. Please also bear in mind that you are not permitted to move outdoor furniture provided by the council for the community and that you must carefully remove your rubbish, particularly any broken glass, from public areas as this activity is an additional drain on our operational services team and presents a risk for other members of the public (particularly young children) sharing this space in the daytime. 

Speaking of the public realm, the lockdown period at the beginning of the year meant that the Council was not able to carry out its full programme of maintenance work and preparations for the summer season. Please bear with us as we try to get back up to speed with this work. You can help ease the pressure on the operational services team by being responsible and keeping our islands tidy.

Now that many of the government’s lockdown restrictions have been eased or clarified, and we have a range of well-considered and tested plans and procedures in place, I intend to reduce the frequency of these statements and will only update you in this way if there is something new or important to say from now on. In the meantime, I would like to reassure you that the Council, Public Health and other key partners are suitably prepared for any outbreak. We will continue to reiterate the core messages to wash your hands, maintain social distancing and wear face coverings in all shops and crowded spaces, indoors and outside, in order that we can continue to avoid cases of the virus. Please act responsibly so we can all enjoy the remaining weeks of summer and as ever, thank you to those of you already setting an excellent example. 

All good wishes

Robert Francis

Publishing date: 
Friday, 14 August, 2020