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Mayor’s Blog – Tier 2 = High Alert

Mayor’s Blog – Tier 2 = High Alert

Tier 2 = High Alert

I suspect that like me your initial reaction on hearing that Dorset was to be placed in Tier 2 when the Lockdown is lifted on 2nd December was one of incredulity. We have been extremely successful in keeping the number of infections very low across Dorset and West Bay and South Bridport was recently mentioned in national news reports as being one of few places that had registered extremely low infections. So how come we have ended up in the same Tier as Liverpool?

Although the number of Covid -19 cases in Liverpool remains much higher than in Dorset the hard lockdown there has resulted in a falling level of cases whereas in Dorset and the surrounding area the opposite has been the trend.

Attempting to micromanage Covid-19 Tier levels at a Borough or Parish level is fraught with issues. For example in Bridport there have been fewer than 3 cases reported in the past 7 days yet as you can sees from the map below we are surrounded by areas where the rate of infection is higher.

Seven day rolling rate of new cases by specimen date ending on 22nd November 2020

We may be protected to the South by the English Channel but to the West, East and North we are surrounded by areas with higher levels of infection. For the moment at least we are an island of calm surrounded by a sea of infection. For that reason alone being placed into Tier 2 offers a greater chance of that position remaining to be the case. That said, as we saw in Liverpool, only a few short weeks ago it does not take much for the rate of infections to spiral upwards exponentially. We therefore need to remain on our guard and behave responsibly as a whole community if we are to avoid a serious outbreak.

If, heaven forbid, Bridport is hit by a serious outbreak of the Covid-19 virus the demographic profile of our population is such that we have a significant number of over 60’s and vulnerable people living here. The impact on the town and in particular that section of the population would be extremely serious. It is this section of the population, given the evidence gained from the impact of the virus in other areas, that is most likely to require hospital care to hopefully nurse them back to health. This would put our local health services under extreme pressure very quickly.

What does Tier 2 status mean for the people of Bridport? The poster below covers all of the main points. Print it off and put it on your fridge as a ready reference.

If you require more detailed information visit:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-restriction-tiers-what-you-need-to-know

The good news is that Retail is open. This means that our high streets will be back to normal and the markets will be able to take place and expand to include non-essential stalls from 2nd Dec. We will also be able to proceed with the ‘Christmas Cheer Up’ market on Saturday 12th December.

If we want to continue to have access to the fantastic range of shops on our High Streets it is even more important this Christmas that we support them by buying local.

By shopping local you also reduce your carbon footprint so it is a win win situation. You know it makes sense. This Christmas protect the Amazon by choosing to shop local.

The bad news is that once again our hospitality sector is far from open for business as usual. Pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals. Venues must stop taking orders at 10pm and must close by 11pm. This is clearly going to be a blow and could for some bring them close to financial ruin. Once again it is up to us to give them as much support as we can by eating out where and when we can and making use of the takeaway menus many now offer.

An ongoing effect of the pandemic is the impact on our mental wellbeing. It is perfectly natural for fear and anxiety about a new disease and what could happen to cause strong emotions in adults and children alike. Public health actions, such as the Lockdown 2 followed by Tier 2, can make people feel isolated and lonely and increase stress and anxiety. Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on can all increase stress and anxiety. Taking care of your friends and your family can be a stress reliever, but it should be balanced with care for yourself.

I have been really impressed by the way in which the people of Bridport have reached out to others throughout the pandemic to offer help and support to the vulnerable and protect our residents and visitors alike. It has been a truly remarkable community effort. In addition to the support being delivered by friends and family there are a number of organisations that are able to provide professional support, care and guidance. These include:

Citizens Advice
Independent advice about money, benefits, rights, etc.
Telephone: 03444 111 444
Email: advice@bridport-cab.org.uk

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/local/bridport-district/

Cupboard Love Food Bank
Telephone (Food Bank): 07443 596096
Telephone (for help with shopping, if you can pay): 07552 312596
Email: cupboardlove.bridport@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/bridportfoodbank/

Burrough Harmony Centre
Peer support for mental health problems.
Telephone: 07597 379290
Email: harmonydropin@outlook.com

https://www.facebook.com/Harmony-Mental-Health-Bridport-Dorset-105851644354442/

Bridport Support Contact Centre
Advice and support for all needs.
Telephone: 01308 808900
Email: enquiries@bridport-tc.gov.uk

https://www.bridport-tc.gov.uk/?page_id=3574

Christmas is only a few weeks away and we have been told that across the UK, people will be able to form “bubbles” of three households over a five-day period. This will mean that we will be able to enjoy a degree of normality with those closest to us this Christmas. But what does this mean in reality?

Christmas is traditionally a time when families, friends and work colleagues get together to relax and enjoy each others company. After the year we have had, I can understand why the government has decided to relax the Covid-19 rules over the Christmas period to enable us to enjoy a degree of normality during the festive period. It is not without risks though and we may find ourselves paying the price for dropping our guard for a few days in 2021. Each of us must ask ourselves whether the desire to ‘do what we usually do’ is the right choice.

Between 23rd and 27th December:

  • we can form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households
  • we can only be in one Christmas bubble
  • we cannot change our Christmas bubble
  • we can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting our Christmas bubble
  • we can only meet our Christmas bubble in private homes or in our garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces
  • we can continue to meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside our home according to the rules in place in the tier where we are staying
  • we cannot meet someone in a private dwelling who is not part of our household or Christmas bubble
  • we should travel to meet those in our Christmas bubble and return home between the 23 and 27 December

Wherever you are over the coming weeks it is important to do everything you can to protect yourself and those around you as best you can from catching and spreading the Covid-19 virus. Remember the simple advice we were all given at the outbreak of the pandemic all those months ago still applies.

Remember just because you CAN (get together at Christmas) doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

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