New government guidance: face coverings
I am writing to you on a very serious issue. From tomorrow (8 August), face coverings are mandatory in more public places. As well as shops, public transport and places of worship, use of face coverings will also be required in venues and facilities operated by the council. These include our libraries and community hubs, heritage sites, children and family hubs, crematorium chapels and registry office.
While I know that these may feel uncomfortable, particularly in this warm weather, it is absolutely essential that we all do our bit to help protect others and ourselves during this terrible pandemic. It is also important to protect the staff who work in all these places providing you with products and services that you need and enjoy. You may be refused entry if you refuse to wear one and do not have an exemption, but we hope you understand why.
The Medway community pulled together so well during the lockdown and I am proud that, although we have suffered some very sad losses of loved ones, in Medway we have not been as badly affected as some other areas. This is down to our community spirit and you all heeding the government advice.
But we have also seen in recent weeks how easy it is for the virus to take hold again. Local lockdowns have been applied in a number of areas including Leicester, Blackburn with Darwen, Calderdale, Kirklees, Bradford and most recently Aberdeen. We want to avoid any such restrictions here in Medway and to pave the way for a successful return to school for our children in September and to keep shops, pubs and restaurants and many other venues open for you.
So I am asking you all to please make this small sacrifice for your community, keep a face covering with you at all times and pop it on when required. Please do also continue to heed the government social distancing advice and keep washing your hands regularly.
There are of course some people who are exempt from wearing a face covering due to an age, health or disability reason so please do be mindful and respectful of them too.
We all have an important part to play to protect Medway and it has never been more important for everyone to take the necessary steps to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Please do urge your friends and family to do their bit too.
For those feeling creative, our Medway Adult Education trainers offer online courses on how to make a face covering. We also have information on our website on the social distancing measures in place at our venues.
We must avoid an upsurge in cases, and any lockdown which may follow. We can only do that with your help and co-operation. I hope we can then all continue to enjoy all that Medway has to offer this summer in the safest possible way.
Cllr Alan Jarrett
Leader of Medway Council