Published: Friday, 17th April 2020

With the sun continuing to shine across Medway, key workers continuing to provide a vital role during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are reminding residents to stay at home this weekend.

Councils, the police, fire and rescue service and the NHS are working together day and night to ensure people across the county are receiving the support they need. Together, as part of the Kent Resilience Forum, they are urging against unnecessary travel.

Ensuring vulnerable residents get the help they need

On behalf of the Kent Resilience Forum, James Williams, Director of Public Health at Medway Council, said: “Agencies across Kent and Medway are pulling together to ensure the most vulnerable residents get the help they need and our health care colleagues are doing a tremendous job of treating those unwell with COVID and other illnesses; all we ask from you is that you continue to listen to government advice and stay home again this weekend. NHS staff are working tirelessly and it’s important we all do our bit to avoid putting a strain on the NHS.

“The latest modelling shows everyone’s commitment to the social distancing rules is having an impact and means we now expect fewer people to need hospital treatment in the coming weeks. But we’ve got to stick with it over the next few weeks. Another sunny weekend is approaching, but like you did over Easter please stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

“You can go out for one piece of exercise a day in line with government advice, and this is important for your own health and wellbeing. If you do go out, stay close to home and two metres away from people outside of your household. Only take public transport if it is absolutely essential – train and bus operators are continuing to run services predominantly for key workers to ensure they can continue to support you during the pandemic. On behalf of the Kent Resilience Forum, we’d like to thank residents for doing their bit to stay at home and for sticking to social distancing rules if they make an essential trip.”

Thank you for helping others stay safe

Leader of Medway Council Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “Thank you to our residents for continuing to stay home during this time, unless the journey is essential. As the warmer spring weather continues, we are reminding residents not to travel unnecessarily, such as to the coast or country parks for a picnic or social gathering. Instead we ask you to enjoy the parks and green spaces near your home.

“We are also advising residents to avoid having bonfires as the smoke can impact people with COVID-19 symptoms who could be experiencing breathing difficulties, as well as people with respiratory conditions.

“We’re committed to continuing to provide support to you and our most vulnerable residents most in need and would like to thank everyone for doing their bit to help others stay safe during the pandemic.”

Please avoid having bonfires

Kent Fire and Rescue Service continues to urge residents not to have bonfires. Assistant Director for Resilience, Lee Rose, said: “Please avoid having bonfires at this time, but if, however, you do choose to light one please do so safely and let your neighbours know to avoid concern, and give people the opportunity to close windows and doors.

“We’re also strongly advising people not to fly sky lanterns as a way of showing support for the NHS, as they can cause large-scale fires. Please choose safer ways to show your appreciation, like joining in with Clap for Carers at 8pm each Thursday.”

These are difficult times for us all

The Chief Constable of Kent Police Alan Pughsley said: "My officers are continuing to engage, explain and encourage people caught in breach of the restrictions, with enforcement used only as a last resort. It is disappointing that my officers had to issue more fines than previously over the Bank Holiday weekend due to a minority of people not doing as they have been asked, but I would like to thank the overwhelming majority who did resist the temptation to leave their homes to enjoy the warm weather.

"These are difficult times for us all and I completely understand why some people, for example those without gardens, may struggle to stay at home for an extended period of time. However, when you consider that more than 12,000 people have already died in the UK, it is of paramount importance that we all do as instructed by the Government.

"There is nothing more important than saving people’s lives and we all have a part to play. Please stay at home."

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