13th May 2020
Response to proposed relaxation of lockdown restrictions
As of this week, England sees the relaxation on some of the rules on use of open spaces and exercise. As a Town Council, we are keeping the situation under review in respect of opening up the places and spaces that are under our control – however, the situation is, at this stage, far from clear in terms of guidance or the ongoing risk to public health.
We have asked for information on local health status and in particular infection rates, based on test outcomes in this area; this is necessary to inform risk assessments which need to reflect risks both to Council employees and the public, in order to meet our statutory obligations as an employer and a public authority – bearing in mind the limited number of staff that the Town Council has, and the need to protect them.
We are aware that Wiltshire, as a county, has a comparatively low number of known infections at this time – but that number is based on a very low number of tests conducted and does not take into account potential future visitors to the area. This means that it is difficult to make an informed decision. We do not have Bradford on Avon-specific data.
As a public authority, we must rely on a level of caution so as not to place people at risk of harm – in particular given the higher level of risks to our older population. We are also aware that, with some residents being asked to return to the workplace, there will be an increased risk of virus transmission there – potentially meaning an enhanced risk as those individuals return home from workplaces.
Information on Town Council managed facilities:
- For the present time Town Council premises, public toilets and Town Council managed play areas will remain closed to the public. In line with Government guidance, this is due to the persistence of the virus on hard surfaces, and what could otherwise be an almost constant requirement to try to keep surfaces clean, which would be impossible to manage safely.
- As of Monday 18th May, the town tennis courts at Culver Close Recreational Ground will re-open, with specific measures in place to assist and remind people of social distancing rules. They will remain open, subject to people adhering to rules that will be in place to protect individuals and Town Council employees tasked with maintaining and cleaning them. If those rules are not complied with, we may need to close them again.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Dom Newton, said:
“We continue to ask you to make sure that you continue to be courteous and responsible in limiting use of the more narrow lanes and pathways in and around the town, whether that’s the Town Bridge, canal towpath, or hillside pathways. While guidance now permits one-to-one meetings with individuals from different households in outdoor spaces, we ask that you continue to follow the broader restrictions on socialising outside of your household; and that you maintain a minimum 2m social distancing at all times.
Whilst we understand an eagerness to resume ‘normal life’, we are also mindful that exercising caution and patience in the short term, is vital if we are to contain the spread of COVID 19 in our community. We will continue to do what we can to prioritise the health and well-being of all our residents and work with other agencies to do so and will publish further updates as and when the situation develops.”