Chairman's update on the coronavirus pandemic - 24 July 2020

As we approach the end of July, it is clear that we are all becoming accustomed to the islands being busier once again and I am pleased to see that most people continue to abide by the measures in place to help keep our community safe. Thank you all. 

This week I chaired the first Local Outbreak Engagement Board meeting. This board has been established to provide political oversight of the local delivery of outbreak planning, response and recovery and to support engagement with residents and other stakeholders. This meeting was streamed live on our Council Facebook page, as is the norm for all of our formal meetings at the moment. It went well and I am hopeful that it will be a valuable way of strengthening our already well-established partnerships and communications channels throughout the pandemic response and recovery phases.

You may have noticed an increase in the number of coronavirus related boards, teams, plans etc being referred to in our formal meetings of late. Now that these important plans and pathways have been established, we are in a better position to be able to communicate with you all about their structure and purpose, so keep an eye on our Council website (particularly our 'Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to know' and 'Coronavirus daily update' pages) for the latest information about how our planned response is being managed locally. The Local Incident Response Team (LIRT), for example, has been working to ensure everyone has access to testing on the islands, that those who need to self-isolate are supported to do so and that Public Health England are fully engaged to facilitate a robust outbreak response if needed. You can find out more about the work of the Local Incident Response Team here.

We realise that some of our residents cannot or do not access the internet and rely on word of mouth or paper communications to access our information.  We are grateful to those of you who have been passing messages on. I am pleased to confirm that we are now in a position that there is enough certainty around our response planning arrangements to be able to commit this information to paper. Our Adults and Children’s Services teams are already communicating regularly with vulnerable groups to ensure they receive the help and reassurance they may need. The next step will be writing to residents to ensure everybody knows where the most up-to-date and accurate information can be found, and how to get in touch with the right people. Our officers are ready to answer your questions and help support you wherever possible, so do not hesitate to get in touch with us in the usual way (call 0300 1234 105, selecting option 5 to speak to our local Enquiries Team if your query is not addressed by the other options). If you wish to email any questions about how the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic are being handled on Scilly, please use this address: outbreak@scilly.gov.uk

In non-Council-related news this week, we welcomed the introduction of a ‘click and collect’ service at our Co-op store on St Mary’s. I am sure I am not alone in wishing to express my gratitude to our local Co-op team for their efforts in bringing this to fruition. The reduction of the queueing and in-store burden for customers will be felt by residents and visitors alike, but I appreciate that it is additional pressure on the Co-op team, so please be patient with them as they bed in these new processes.

As of today, face coverings are mandatory in shops and when buying takeaway food and drink, except in the case of those with specific medical exemptions. They are also mandatory on public transport (including our inter-island boats) and in transport hubs. Please continue to wear face coverings wherever required, cleanse your hands thoroughly and frequently and maintain appropriate social distance from those you do not live with (2 meters wherever possible, and 1 meter plus if not possible and with additional protective measures).

Publishing date: 
Friday, 24 July, 2020