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Thursday 22 October 2020 - Message from Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council

Let’s keep working at this – no lapses please

Our Covid-19 figures continue to rise steadily and we have increased to 205 cases per 100,000 people in the latest week (12 - 18 October) while the average in England has been 108.

In total we saw 444 new cases from 12-18 October an increase of 79 from the previous week. Our hospital chiefs and NHS staff are extremely concerned about the rising number of cases they are seeing.

Of course, many are eyeing the spread of Tier 3 restrictions across the north and are worried about the effect on their jobs and businesses and the impact on their lives.

I personally fought for several weeks against us going into Tier 2 because of the potential effect on business, but the numbers turned against us.  Our local tracking shows that the largest transmission of the virus remains through households.  While the causes are varied it always passes from person to person and so we must all make sure we do not lapse in our personal behaviour.

So, it is follow the hands, face and space guidelines, and reduce our social interactions to a minimum. Be aware of the Covid-19 symptoms and get tested if you think you might have it.   And if you do have symptoms, please stay at home. We have had a number of outbreaks locally when people have gone to work with Covid-19 symptoms. You must self-isolate for 10 days if you have symptoms or for 14 days if a household member has symptoms.

As a Council we have done as much as we can to support our town centres and high streets.  The recent Support Local #SupportLocal - campaign is highlighting our local centres.

I understand our @solihullcouncil Instagram page is now full of local businesses showcasing what they have to offer and reminding everyone what is on their doorstep.  So, please do take a look on Instagram or take a walk around your local centre and Support Local #SupportLocal safely with your face covering (unless you are exempt).

Actually, I have been looking more closely myself at labels on goods in shops, like fresh fruit: it’s astonishing how many ‘air miles’ some of them clock up. I have eaten some wonderful apples produced in the region, which taste amazing.

We also are putting on a series of business support workshops for our High Street businesses on a variety of topics over the coming weeks through the European Regional Development Funded ‘Reopening High Streets Safely programme’.  The first two, ‘update on regulations’ and ‘future planning’ are now available here and other workshops will be promoted on Solihull for Success.

As we approach half-term I want to thank all our pupils, parents, teachers and schools for adapting to their new Covid-secure arrangements.  I know some pupils, parents and carers have found the arrangements challenging, but I am pleased to hear that schools and our education and public health professionals have been on hand to support their return to learning.

Some schools have had to close their bubbles for a while as a result of a positive cases and have asked children to self-isolate. I know the pressure this puts on you as families and I’d like to put on record my appreciation for your on-going support.

I understand some schools have been visited by, among others, Ofsted, the Health and Safety Executive, the Council’s own education services staff, public health colleagues and our health and safety teams during the term.  I am reassured that the visits revealed appropriate measures are in place, with positive comments on the “excellent environmental and learning arrangements that schools have adopted”.

I hope all of you in our school communities keep safe and have a well-earned rest this half-term.

Work on HS2 continues.  As part of the preparations, we will see a number of road works and improvements in the area.  The latest will affect sections of the A452 Chester Road and A446 Stonebridge Road this coming weekend.  The road between Stonebridge Island and the M6 Junction 4 will be closed after the evening rush hour this Friday 23 October and be re-opened before the morning rush hour on Monday 26 October.

The closures will allow new bridges to be installed, which will link a new road network with existing routes to ensure our local road network is fit for purpose when the HS2 Interchange Station is operational.

During the temporary closure, diversions will be in place and signage will be displayed along the route. More details here.

None of us want to see further restrictions as we alI fear the damage they would do to the borough both socially and economically, especially as we move towards Christmas.  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, 22 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. Black History Month – more local info here and national here
  7. Winter Economy plan
  8. Further information on the app - NHS Test and Trace App
  9. What you can and can’t do
  10. Stoptober - visit the NHS website and download the free NHS Stoptober app.
  11. Self-isolation fund – more info here

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