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Major Updates

Leaders across the West of England have joined together to urge residents to stay at home to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and protect vulnerable people across our region.

All five leaders are working from home but have come together with one voice to support the Government’s call.

The Government has stepped up its measures to reduce the risk of people spreading the virus:

  1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes (see full guidance below)
  2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
  3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public.

West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “This is a very different crisis from anything our region, indeed our nation and the world, has faced within a generation or more. The news and messages coming from the Government are unprecedented and I know the things we are being asked to do as individuals can sometimes go against our own natural instincts. But it is vital that we listen to the advice from the NHS and the Government and stay at home unless it’s absolutely essential, because the only way we will tackle this crisis is through a collective determination to do the right thing.

“I am working closely with my fellow council leaders and government, which has announced an unprecedented package of measures to protect peoples’ jobs and incomes. My team at the Combined Authority are leading the support for businesses in our region; our Growth Hub is a key point of contact for business advice and the latest advice from the Government. We are talking to businesses every day and feeding back to government what is  happening in the West of England, making sure they are being listened to. We are also working closely with our transport operators, colleges and partner councils to make sure we’re doing everything we possibly can to minimise disruption. This crisis will end, and we can recover strongly with a new found sense of community, pulling together for the good of the region and the country as a whole.”

Cllr Dine Romero, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “It has never been more important for all of us to work together as it is right now. We must all follow the stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives message so we can protect our communities. It’s admirable that more than 1,900 people have already volunteered to help the most vulnerable people in our district through our Third Sector Group.  We are working closely with them to co-ordinate this mammoth task. We also realise that this is a challenging time for businesses and our Invest in Bath team is actively helping them in accessing the Government support available to them.”

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “Bristol City Council is leading the response to keep people in Bristol safe and are working hard alongside city partners, health services, and the voluntary sector to support people. We have put in place a number of special measures for homeless people announced this week. By ignoring advice to stay inside you are putting lives at risk. It is everyone’s job to act now – stay at home and save lives.”

Cllr Don Davies, Leader of North Somerset, said: “Please stay at home to help keep us all safe. It’s the responsibility of every one of us to do this.”

Cllr Toby Savage, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, said: “The situation regarding coronavirus has developed very rapidly and we all must pull together as a community to protect ourselves and those around us. Alongside health colleagues, we are working to do everything we can to slow the spread of the virus and to ensure our residents and staff are protected.

“Our aim remains to provide council services as comprehensively as possible, for as long as possible, with a focus on delivering social care support for the most vulnerable. We are looking at how we can redeploy staff who aren’t able to perform their usual roles, but may be able to support other essential functions. We are also supporting the many community-based and often informal groups of neighbours across the area that are coming forward to volunteer to help those who are most in need.

“We will be collaborating closely with WECA and other local partners as we strive to keep our most vulnerable residents safe and well and support our local communities and businesses.”

The full guidance on staying at home and away from others is available here:

Everyone must comply with these new measures, which are effective immediately. The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

For more information on support for those affected by the coronavirus situation, including information and advice for businesses from the West of England Growth Hub, please visit:

Press release by WECA.

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