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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Stay Safe. Stay At Home.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

It’s now been nearly two weeks since the World Health Organisation declared coronavirus a pandemic, and we are beginning to get a clearer idea of what exactly is required from us all to face down this crisis. 

By now you will have no doubt seen the recent announcement that schools have been closed. Exceptions have been made for children considered to be vulnerable, defined as those who have a social worker or are currently under an education, health and care (EHC) plan.  Children who have at least one parent or carer identified as a “key worker” will also continue to attend school to allow services vital to the country’s coronavirus responses to keep running. The complete list of “key workers” can be found here, and if your job is on the list then your workplace should be able to provide you with a letter of confirmation that can be shown to your children’s school. Despite the extraordinary circumstances all of the schools in Tameside have stepped up to the challenge, providing support and offering free school meals to all eligible pupils. My thanks go out to the school leaders, teachers, support staff, NHS workers and council officers who have gone above and beyond at this difficult time.

 

We have also seen the introduction of unprecedented measures to halt the spread of the virus. On Monday evening the most sweeping lockdown on travel and trade ever seen in Britain was announced. This included the closure of all non-essential retail stores and facilities, as well as limiting people’s ability to leave their homes except for shopping for basic necessities, exercise, medical need or travelling to and from work. While I’m pleased to say that most residents have abided by the lockdown restrictions, we have heard some disturbing reports that not all retail outlets and licensed premises have closed, and that some residents are continuing to go out in groups without good reason or are not staying more than 2 metres apart.

To clear up any doubt, this is absolutely unacceptable. These new rules might seem extreme but they have been put in place for a reason, and anybody who ignores them is putting themselves and others in serious danger. The council’s enforcement officers will not hesitate to take severe action against businesses violating lockdown rules, up to and including prosecution or termination of licenses. The police have also been given the powers to disperse groups of people or those they believe are outside without valid cause. It is so important that we follow the lockdown rules and any other advice and guidelines announced by Public Health England. The more we do so, the sooner all this will be over.

 

That being said, we’ve also heard about some incredible examples of our communities coming together, carrying out the little acts of kindness that are helping to raise spirits and make things a little more bearable for everybody. I’m thinking especially about the pupils at Silver Springs Academy in Stalybridge, who gave an impromptu singing performance for elderly residents self-isolating in the flats across the road from the school. Singing classics like “Something Inside So Strong”, “True Colours”, “Sing” and “Rather Be”, the heart-warming recital made it to the pages of the Manchester Evening News and showed that our young people are leading the way in keeping positive and thinking of others.

If you have any other examples of residents going above and beyond in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, please let us know. Sharing stories such as these is a really good way to keep everyone’s spirits up in this most unusual and challenging of times. I promise to keep you updated as more information on the fight against coronavirus becomes available. In the meantime please stay at home, follow all the necessary measures and, while not putting yourself or anybody else at risk, help others where you can. Thank you.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


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