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Friday 16 October 2020 - Message from Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council

It’s in our hands and we’re now running out of time.

Covid-19 is now killing people again in increasing numbers.

To put it in figures, on 28 August our rate was 6.5 cases per 100,000 of population and there were 14 new cases that week. In the last 7 days, we have had 349 cases and we are now at 166 per 100,000.

Every single ward in Solihull now has a rate above 50 per 100,000 (and most are much, much higher) and increasing. Nowhere in the borough is immune from the virus.

And the hospitals are filling up:  as night follows day, if more people get ill, sadly more people will die. Already this month regrettably we have lost two residents to Covid-19, the first since the summer.

So I am extremely alarmed by the complacency I sometimes see around me. People not social distancing and not wearing face coverings, alongside an attitude of “basically everything is all right, although it may be getting a bit worse. But don’t worry though.”   We all need to pass on the message to others, including our younger people, that we must all take action to protect against the virus spreading.

The siren calls for another lockdown are to be expected and I have lobbied against this as I don’t think we can cope with more restrictions either socially or economically.  However, the spread of the virus is becoming too great and we may have no choice.

Don’t let households mix indoors and, quite frankly, in my opinion, whatever the ‘rules’ say, we need to minimise / avoid interaction with other households in any situation, whether in gardens or anywhere else. Let’s limit the opportunity for the spread of the virus.  If you have symptoms, please do the right thing, get tested and self-isolate.

To help our local economy we will continue to ramp up support for businesses including those in the hospitality sector with help from Solihull Chamber, Solihull BID and VisitKnowle. 

We now have three New Business Investment Assistants on the ground in our local centres gathering feedback and offering support as funded through our Reopening High Streets Safely Fund.  They’re also promoting our #supportlocal campaign which was launched last week in the Solihull Observer. 

Our @solihullcouncil Instagram page is now starting to host the photos of local businesses to showcase them and remind the public they are open for business. 

We’ll continue our ‘Shop Local’ #supportlocal campaign in the lead up to Christmas/Small Business Saturday, so watch out for our #SupportlocalSolihull #SupportlocalKnowle #SupportlocalShirley and #WMOpen4Biz hashtags on social media.

We’ve also agreed a programme of events/webinars with business support contractors Blue Orchid to explain latest guidance for businesses.

Finally, more people are wearing face coverings, but again it should, in my opinion, be the norm outside your home – if reusable please wash them regularly – if not dispose of them safely in bins or take them home and put them in the waste.  (They seem to be becoming the new ‘plastic bags’ in our countryside and in our waterways.)

Please keep doing the right thing for Solihull, wash your hands, cover your face and keep your distance.

Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council, 16 October 2020

Useful links:

  1. Solihull is Tier 2 - high
  2. Council Covid information
  3. Flu vaccinations:  For more information on who is eligible to get a free Flu vaccination the NHS website has all the details here.
  4. Making your business covid-secure
  5. Solihull restrictions Frequently Asked Questions government guidelines here
  6. Winter Economy plan
  7. Further information on the app - NHS Test and Trace App
  8. What you can and can’t do
  9. Stoptober - visit the NHS website and download the free NHS Stoptober app.
  10. Self-isolation fund – more info here
  11. Black History Month – more local info here and national here.

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