I am writing this update to you all as the Chairman is away, having a well-earned break from Council duties. He will resume his updates upon his return.
We have certainly shared a very different summer with many challenges. Fortunately, as an island community we have been lucky to have had a relatively low number of cases so far but we must remain vigilant. Remember the 3 simple actions we must all do to keep on protecting each other:
- HANDS - Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds.
- FACE - Wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
- SPACE - Stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors).
Our key tourism industry has had to cope with losing a significant early part of the season and then having to employ new strategies and working methods to be COVID safe. This has clearly had a substantial impact upon incomes and has been a major cause of concern for many. Nevertheless, there have been many reports of holidays much enjoyed by those who did visit, which is a testament to the islands’ excellent businesses who have made the best of the season under extremely difficult circumstances and continued to provide a wonderful Scillonian welcome.
Local COVID alert levels (the 3-tier system)
You will now, no doubt, be familiar with the government’s 3-tier alert system. At the time of writing the Isles of Scilly remains in the ‘Medium’ category, which is the lowest possible tier. If you haven’t done so already, you can find information on local COVID alert levels at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-levels-what-you-need-to-know.
You should avoid travelling to any part of the country which is subject to a ‘very high’ local COVID alert level. You can check the local COVID alert level for different areas by visiting the following website: https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-local-restrictions.
We ask anyone planning to travel to the islands to please respect the current government guidance, and we remind you that if you are resident in a ‘very high alert level area’ you should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK, except if you need to for work, education or caring responsibilities. The guidance is changing on a regular basis and it is your responsibility to ensure you follow the latest government guidance at all times.
Please remember that if you are planning to travel away from the islands at any time, and to any destination, it is important to ensure you have provisions in place in case you need to self-isolate away from home. You can read more about the things you should consider before leaving the islands here: https://scilly.gov.uk/news/mainland-travel-considerations.
Events on the islands
Events on the islands continue to be affected by the current social restrictions; however, we are working with partners to ensure the various celebrations and commemorations at this time of year can be honoured in new and safe ways.
Halloween is coming up soon and we are encouraging people to avoid ‘trick or treating’ this year. You can read the Devon, Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Resilience Forum Halloween message and get some ideas on alternative ways to have fun on 31 October here: https://scilly.gov.uk/news/local-resilience-forum-message-regarding-halloween
This year’s Remembrance Sunday service will not be a public event. Instead, a private service attended by 6 invited representatives will be held in the Park from 11am on 8 November. We respectfully ask that you maintain your distance from the Park for the duration of the service to help us ensure this official commemoration can go ahead safely and in accordance with government guidance. For further information on Remembrance Sunday arrangements visit: https://scilly.gov.uk/news/remembrance-sunday-commemorations-2020
COVID website and apps
We have been informed by our Public Health colleagues that government are updating their website for monitoring cases of COVID-19, so you may notice some changes in the way the data is presented over the next few days. See our latest Facebook update for details. This website, whilst clearly under regular review by the government, remains the best place to access information relating to COVID 19 case statistics: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/cases
One thing you may wish to do to help the national response to the pandemic is download the NHS Test and Trace App. The more people who download and use this app, the more information will be available to help monitor the situation, so please consider doing so. You can download the app from:
- Apple App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/id1520427663
- Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=uk.nhs.covid19
There has been some confusion in the community relating to estimates of case numbers given by non-NHS symptom tracking apps. Please note that these are estimates based on people reporting symptoms and are not Public Health England testing data. Once again, if you are interested in case numbers for UK regions, please refer to the government website: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/cases
As always, the best approach is to continue to act as if COVID is on the islands. Please wash hands frequently, socially distance and wear masks as appropriate.
Stay safe, be kind, warm wishes
Vice Chairman of the Council of the Isles of Scilly