Councils, MPs and organisations across Norfolk have issued a joint message today to urge people to continue to stay at home this weekend in a bid to save lives and slow the spread of Coronavirus.
The message, which has been co-ordinated by Norfolk Resilience Forum, comes amid fears the combination of a forecast sunny weekend and fatigue as residents face a third week of lockdown could mean people are increasingly tempted to venture out.
Simon Bailey, Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary, said: “This is a public health emergency, not a public holiday. Norfolk is not open for tourism and people need to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
“Right now, our priority is to protect local communities and I urge everyone to follow the government advice, which the majority of people in Norfolk have done admirably.
“These restrictions are in place for a reason; to prevent the spread of the virus which could increase with non-essential travel.
“Now is not the time to be visiting green spaces, beaches or beauty spots. The message is simple – stay away and stay inside.”
Tom McCabe, chairman of Norfolk Resilience Forum (NRF) and Head of Paid Service at Norfolk County Council, said: “All the partner organisations of the NRF are working hard to keep the people of Norfolk safe.
“But every single person in our county has a vital part to play in joining together to beat this virus by doing the absolutely crucial thing of staying at home. It’s the single most important thing you can do.
“When you do need to leave the house for shopping, exercise or critical work journeys, avoid meeting with people outside of your household or gathering in groups.”
Pete Waters, of Executive Director of Visit East of England, said: “We are encouraging everyone to please stay local when they go outside, use open space near to your home and do not travel unnecessarily to beaches, parks and other attractions in your area.
“At this time of year we would normally be supporting and encouraging the holiday visitor economy but right now our plea goes out to local attractions and businesses in the tourism industry to continue to stay closed and for second home owners to stay away.
“We know it is difficult financially but it is the right thing to do. Your efforts are greatly appreciated and will really contribute to the overall national effort to save lives.”
Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is a difficult time for businesses and we’ve already spoken to hundreds of firms about the support available. The LEP and our business advisers at the New Anglia Growth Hub can offer free support to any local business. The Government has announced a series of support packages for employers and their staff during this exceptional time, which are very welcome.”
All nine Norfolk MPs are working with their communities: Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis; Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman; North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker, South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon, South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, Broadland MP Jerome Mayhew, Norwich North MP Chloe Smith and Norwich South MP Clive Lewis.
North West Norfolk MP James Wild said: “Whatever the weather we have a shared responsibility to protect those around us.
“We have strong communities across Norfolk and I am confident we can beat this but we must do it together and not falter now.”
Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green, added: “As tempting as the weather may be this weekend I must urge every man, woman and child in the county to do all they can to ensure they listen to the sound safety advice from the experts and please, please stay at home.
“I appreciate the positive weather forecast will make it tempting for many families to want to venture further afield. I have had this discussion with my young grandchildren. The sad fact is however that we have no choice but to help play our part in protecting the NHS and ultimately, to save lives.”
Professor Nancy Fontaine, NNUH’s Chief Nurse and Director of Infection Prevention and Control, said: “I appreciate it is difficult to stay at home when the weather improves, but we cannot falter now. Our frontline staff are staying at work in the hospital to look after the people who need us most. Please help them by staying at home to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.”
Andrew Proctor, Leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “All councils are taking the same approach in every district and borough so no matter where you live in Norfolk we are providing the best possible advice and care for our residents.
“We will continue to work together not only as part of a joined-up local government response to this Coronavirus crisis, but also with businesses and all our partner organisations.
“Everyone is doing an incredible job pulling out all the stops to support the public in staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives. I know we will keep up that good work.”
Norfolk Trading Standards along with colleagues from the district councils and Norfolk Constabulary, we will be out checking to ensure that all businesses that are required to be closed are indeed closed. If businesses need advice on the closure requirements, or if anyone wants to report a business that is failing to close, call 0808 223 1133.