Like many of you, I am extremely disappointed that we are having to go back into lockdown. I know how difficult people found it first time round – I heard from constituents about their fears for their jobs and businesses, their families, their mental and physical health, their children. But case numbers are going up everywhere and without swift and decisive action, we will soon see hospitalisations back up to a level that our NHS will not be able to cope with. This represents a risk to all of us.
Another lockdown will not be easy for anyone, but it is the only way to get our case numbers down to a level the NHS can cope with while continuing to provide other essential care. We have built additional capacity into the hospital system since March, but it is not unlimited, and we need beds available for cancer patients, heart attacks and other urgent and serious conditions as well. (Reminder: if you have any symptoms of illness but aren’t sure what to do, please call 111 for advice or 999 in an emergency.)
I am glad to see that schools have been exempted from this new lockdown given the difficulties faced by children and parents in the first lockdown and I hope that all schools will be able to remain open throughout these new restrictions.
I was also pleased to see that playgrounds can stay open and support services for new mothers. I was delighted to see Kew Gardens confirm today that they are able to continue opening during the lockdown. Further details about opening are here: www.kew.org/kew-gardens/visit-kew-gardens/coronavirus-guidance
I want to assure all of my constituents that those who are extremely vulnerable will be supported in this lockdown, although the support will look different as they have not been told to shield in the same way as in the spring. NHS London has informed me that they will be writing to people on the shielding list tomorrow, and our local authorities will also be contacting people who are known to them as needing support.
You can see all of the latest information on COVID-19 and the new lockdown here: www.gov.uk/coronavirus
REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY 2020
This year’s Remembrance Sunday will have an extra significance for me this year. I will be thinking about the many Britons who sacrificed themselves in 2020 to protect others, not from a foreign army this time, but from a relentless virus. I ask my constituents to join me on Sunday in remembering them, as well as the brave armed service members who gave their lives for us in wars. I am joining the national call to stand on our doorsteps or at our windows for two minutes of silence at 11:00am in lieu of attending a ceremony this Sunday. Standing where we stood to clap for carers in the spring will remind us of how many additional people are owed our gratitude this year. If you would like to donate to the Royal British Legion, you are able to do so on their website, and in return receive a printable poppy which you can display in your window.
In Richmond, in line with the national advice, there will be no official parades taking place on Remembrance Sunday. Instead, residents and veterans will be encouraged to pay their respects at home by observing the national two minute silence and following special Council videos, pictures and social media coverage. There were to have been a number of wreath laying ceremonies across the Borough, but these are under review because of the new lockdown. I will have further information in Friday’s newsletter.
HAVE A SAFE BONFIRE NIGHT
With public fireworks displays cancelled this year, you may be tempted to have a celebration at home, with your own bonfire and fireworks. If you plan to do so, I ask you to do so responsibly. Fireworks are explosives and only CE marked products should be purchased. They need to be handled with great care, according to manufacturers instructions, and never by children or those under the influence of alcohol.
London Fire Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Paul Jennings says:
“Think about your neighbours, particularly older people or those who are self- isolating, pets and of course those of us in the emergency services. Bonfires should be clear of buildings, sheds, fences, trees and hedges. This time of year is usually one of the busiest for firefighters and Control Officers and we also need to support our NHS colleagues, so please help us, by keeping yourself safe.”
OWL POLICING SURVEY
Online Watch Link (OWL) has launched a local policing survey so that residents can share views on policing in South West London. They want to see what improvements they can make next year to improve engagement with the public and to increase confidence in local policing. They are asking people in the boroughs of Richmond, Kingston, Merton and Wandsworth to share their opinions on local policing, so they understand what matters most to residents and can decide what improvements they can make in the future. They have created a short survey consisting of fourteen questions which takes no longer than three minutes to complete. The closing date for this survey is Monday 30th November. To complete the survey, click here: www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/SW_Confidence_and_Engagement_Survey/