Covid-19 Parish Council response

Ormesby St Margaret with Scratby Parish Council

Holidays in our parish: Covid-19 statement

Our parish is part of a much-loved holiday area, where we welcome visitors year after year.  This however, is no ordinary year.  We are in the grip of a rapidly spreading pandemic, which appears to be spreading quickly, and which is deadly to our more vulnerable residents.

The government has indicated that we should avoid all non-essential travel and that we should be socially distancing ourselves.  It has been said that those over 70 and those with underlying health conditions should put themselves into quarantine, because if they catch this virus, it is quite simply potentially a matter of life and death.

A holiday is not essential travel.  We as a Council are extremely concerned that many are not heeding these national warnings with the advent of the new holiday season.

As a community (and as part of that term, we include those who own caravans or chalets here, or who simply return year after year on holiday) we should all be doing everything within our power to stop the spread of this virus.  Simply put, travelling here further endangers us all.

  1. Like the rest of the country, our local pubs and restaurants, amusements, and in the wider Gt Yarmouth area theatres, attractions, museums and certain national retailers are closed to enforce social distancing. Like the rest of the country, we have queues in our shops for food and rationing of products.
  2. If you travel to us to spend time on our beaches, the raised population will be such that it will be impossible to socially distance yourself from others, with the result that no one will be able to safely use them.
  3. We have only one local hospital, the James Paget, which is already under extreme strain, dealing, like other hospitals nationwide, with confirmed cases of Covid-19. It serves an

extremely wide catchment area including the towns of Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft as well as the Broads villages, and our rural location will mean that ambulance response times will be compromised.

  1. The local GP surgeries are already operating at capacity. There are no physical appointments, the local surgeries may not have your full records as you will not be registered with them, and our local pharmacy is operating on reduced hours with a physical limit on numbers entering the building.  You risk lesser care should you need it.
  2. Recently formed voluntary groups and local organisations are already working hard to support the large population of self-isolating elderly and vulnerable people in our parish to ensure that they have sufficient food supplies, medication, and all the administrative and moral support they need. These same volunteers, key workers, councillors etc are also, as in the rest of the country, family members too, and many had planned holidays themselves this Easter, which have been forfeited so as to all take our part in the serious responsibility of stopping the spread of the virus.

Visiting Scratby, California or indeed Norfolk in general on holiday right now will simply make these problems even worse. The only responsible thing to do is to stay at home, as we are encouraging our residents to do, and look after yourselves and your families.  This is not a time to holiday.

If we all travel freely, we will spread the virus further and faster and our already limited infrastructure and resources will simply not cope. If you become ill whilst you are here, you many not receive care that you require.  We support all our community, and our local businesses, but in these very exceptional times we strongly urge you to remain at home.  Until this virus has been controlled, we as a Council must protect the immediate wellbeing of our residents.

Holiday visitors will be warmly welcomed back when this pandemic is over.  We are all in these uncertain times together. But for now, please, it is essential that you stay at home to protect yourself, your family, and our community.

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