On Monday, the government announced a further national lockdown, due to a huge increase in the spread of the Coronavirus and numbers in hospitals.
The last time we faced a lockdown of this magnitude was in March of last year. At the time, people were regularly commenting on how quiet the streets were. Many roads were empty, and people could hear birdsong and wildlife more clearly. That is how seriously that first lockdown was taken; people were genuinely staying at home, working from home, and only going outside for essentials like food shopping and exercise. If we really want to combat Covid-19 and return to some form of normality any time soon, this current lockdown needs to be treated with the same seriousness as in March.
However, recently we have seen the ‘usual’ rush hour with lots of cars on the roads, and many gatherings and groups of people walking along the beach. We understand the government’s mixed messaging has confused people, but it’s really important we all get to grips with the new rules quickly. Here are the basics, taken from the new government rules:
“The most important rule of the national lockdown in England is that you must stay at home.
You cannot leave your home or be outside of it unless absolutely necessary.
The permissible exceptional reasons you are permitted to leave your home are:
- To shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
- To go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
- To 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
- To meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
- To seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
- To attend education or childcare – for those eligible
- To attend communal religious worship
- To undertake activities related to moving house”
It’s vital we all follow these rules and stay at home to drive down Covid cases. Where it is absolutely necessary to leave home, such as for our hour of exercise, we must maintain social distancing.
The seafront and our parks have become such valuable assets to all our residents, especially those without gardens. If we don’t follow the rules and socially distance, we make life very difficult for our older and vulnerable residents, as they feel they cannot use our seafront and parks for their exercise due to the level of risk.
If we don’t follow the rules, we risk piling even more pressure on our health and care workers and frontline workers, who are already overwhelmed by the increase in Covid cases, nationally and locally.
If we don’t follow the rules, we risk the lives of vulnerable residents across the city and the country.
In the first lockdown in March, Brighton & Hove showed the best of itself as a caring, compassionate city, whose residents looked out for each other. From joining mutual aid and other local support groups, to checking in on neighbours’ health and wellbeing and helping vulnerable people with shopping, to following the rules – our city showed a great spirit of community, and for this we thank you. Now we are in a new lockdown, let’s show that same spirit, and follow the rules to keep each other safe.
There is an end in sight – the vaccine is being rolled out across the city as we write this!
Please keep each other safe.
Please keep Brighton & Hove safe.
Brighton & Hove Labour Group
Peter Kyle, MP for Hove
Lloyd Russell-Moyle, MP for Brighton Kemptown