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Council leaders respond to third national lockdown

Level 5 national lockdown response

Date issued: 5 January 2021

The Leader of the Council, Cllr Mark Cory, and the group leaders of the Liberal Democrat, Labour, Conservative and Highwoods Independent groups, Cllr Martin Goss, Cllr Tina Bourne, Cllr Paul Dundas and Cllr Beverley Oxford, have issued the following joint statement:

The Prime Minister’s announcement last night of a Level 5 national lockdown is the necessary response to a worrying surge in the rate of Covid transmission which has seen the number of infections reach a new daily high in recent days.

Colchester pulled together and had lower infection rates than elsewhere during the first two lockdowns – entering Tier 4 restrictions later than the rest of Essex just before Christmas – but despite our resilience and high levels of compliance, the new variant is more transmissible and there has been a worrying rise in cases locally since then.

There is no doubt in our minds, therefore, that we are all being asked to do the right thing to ensure those we love and care about the most and our most vulnerable residents remain safe.

Under the new national lockdown, the following restrictions will apply:

You must not leave or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave home to:

  • shop for necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • attend education or childcare – for those eligible
  • Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. Early Years settings remain open.
  • Higher Education provision will remain online until mid-February for all except future critical worker courses.
  • If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live. You may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.
  • If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work

Meeting others:

  • You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).
  • You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.
  • You should not meet other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.
  • Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household.

For a complete list of all national lockdown restrictions, please visit www.gov.uk.

Unlike the previous two lockdowns, we face the additional struggle of coping with winter – requiring even greater resilience. As difficult as the coming weeks will be, you should know that this council will be here for you, just as it has been since the beginning of this crisis.

Rest assured, we will continue to work across the political spectrum with officers to provide the necessary services and support to all – just as we did throughout the previous lockdowns – helping to keep residents updated on any changes to services and playing our full part to ensure that all businesses are aware of the range of support available and get help swiftly out to them when we can.

We are enormously proud of the way our residents and communities have looked out for each other, supported each other and worked hard to keep our infection rates some of the lowest in the county. And we also want to thank the council’s staff for their continued efforts. Like us, they are committed to supporting the borough’s residents throughout the long and difficult period that lies ahead.

Please, please follow the rules; think about reducing the risk of infection both to yourself and others and continue to do everything you can to keep infection rates down. Everyone knows how difficult and disruptive to normal life this is, but we cannot and must not give up now.

The message is clear: Stay at home, Protect the NHS, Save lives

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