COVID-19: A message from the Leader of the Council

Published Monday, 14 December 2020

The following open letter is the lead article in Bromley Council’s Update e-newsletter.

Dear Resident,

I apologise for writing to you so shortly after my previous message, but the situation has taken a significant turn for the worse infection rate wise locally in recent days and I thought it right to fully brief you prior to the Christmas holiday and your traditional get together with elderly loved ones in particular.

At the risk of causing alarm, after months of recording relatively low infection rates locally, that trend has now stopped and is beginning to reverse compared to other parts of London with last week’s figures coming of particular concern after hitting several new daily highs.

Too many people are simply not being careful enough.

In particular this is based on a combination of our younger people picking up the virus either in a school or college setting or when hanging about with friends, before then inadvertently infecting their parents or guardians. With that in mind, it really would be helpful if parents could please keep a safe distance apart at the school gate and continue to wear their face covering whilst doing so please.

Individuals not self-isolating when they should be.

Also, the small minority of people who steadfastly refuse to follow all reasonable requests to wear masks, observe simple hand cleaning hygiene and socially distance as best they can at all times to protect others.

There is no easy way to say this, but it needs to be said because it is brutally true, that unless we snap this slipping trend now, an increasing number of our families and friends are going to become extremely ill or die over the course of the next three to four weeks, at precisely the worst time of year with the Princess Royal already experiencing severe strain on its services.

To the minority of you reading this message who haven’t worn masks when asked to do so, cleaned your hands regularly or observed social distancing around other people to date, may I please appeal directly to your better nature, even now, to join the programme for the good of others, even if you don’t care about yourselves.

With Public Health experts now talking openly in terms of exponential growth in pandemic numbers for London, the situation has become absolutely critical and I implore everybody to please take heed.

Residents, the long awaited vaccine is now being rolled out at pace across our borough and an end to the enduring misery of the past 9 months is now firmly in sight.

There have been false dawns before, but this time we really are almost there.

If you are meeting family for Christmas, have a great time together but still be very careful even then not to drop your guard or be tempted to stray from your permitted ‘bubble’, no matter how tempting the thought might be.

It really is the only way of ensuring that as few Bromley families as possible suffer personal loss and heartache over the course of coming months and that as many of us as possible are able to enjoy a far happier and more fulfilling year together in 2021.

My apologies once again for this follow up message so swiftly after my previous message.

I felt it vitally important to make you aware that the sands are shifting locally to help inform decision making.

My kindest best wishes for Christmas and long beyond.

Councillor Colin P. Smith

Leader of Bromley Council.

More information about coronavirus is at www.bromley.gov.uk/covid-19

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For media enquiries, please contact Susie Clark, Communications Executive, on 020 8461 7911 or email susie.clark@bromley.gov.uk