Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement of new national Covid-19 restrictions, Cllr John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council and Chair of the Team Devon Local Outbreak Engagement Board said:
“We broadly welcome these new restrictions which seem a sensible and proportionate response to the rise in numbers of Covid-19 cases in other parts of the country.
“It is important that everyone now sticks to them and I urge everyone – residents and businesses – to do all they can now in order to avoid more severe restrictions being imposed in the future.
“We have been fortunate in Devon that, with the support and common sense of our residents, the number of cases has stayed very low despite the easing of lockdown restrictions and visitors over the summer.
“It has been a huge effort and has had a huge impact all our lives, our families and our livelihoods.
“But our relatively low number of cases so far also means there is little immunity here and we are very susceptible to any second wave.
“We do not want to have to go back to a full lockdown with all the implications this would have on people’s health, on the welfare of the elderly and vulnerable, on our children’s education and on the local economy and jobs.
“Clearly, with growing numbers across the country we need to break the chain now and, with winter approaching, stop the spread before it gets out of hand.
“I urge everyone to take personal responsibility and be extra cautious, and particularly our young people who perhaps have begun to feel invulnerable to the virus.
“The fact is that by not respecting the basic rules such as social distancing or not meeting up in groups you risk spreading the virus in our community and you put others, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, at risk.
“I do sympathise with all households and families who are being asked to limit their contact with each other once again – and particularly where this might have an impact on isolated older or vulnerable people.
“I also sympathise and have real concern over the impact of more restrictions on our local economy which relies so heavily on tourism and leisure and has already taken such a knock over the summer.
“We will do all we can to continue to help and support these businesses.
“But the fact is that the bigger consequences of not putting relatively limited restrictions in place now are plain for all to see.”