Devon County Council stands ready to help those who are most badly affected by the latest lockdown, council leader John Hart declared today.
And he appealed to everyone in the county to abide by the rules and defeat the latest virulent strain of the virus.
Mr Hart said the arrangements that had been made during the first two lockdowns were already in place to support the vulnerable and elderly.
Team Devon was set up as a partnership between the county, district councils and other organisations to determine which group could best help people quickly and effectively.
“I have been speaking to the county’s MPs this morning and I will be chairing a meeting of Team Devon tomorrow,” said Mr Hart.
“I know so many people have already been badly affected by this terrible virus and the measures we’ve had to take to try to control it.
“Grandparents haven’t seen their grandchildren, families have had to balance working at home with helping to care for their children and those children have missed out on learning and seeing their friends at school.
“And now we are asking them to make those sacrifices all over again. So I want to be clear that we stand ready to do all we can to help those most badly affected by this lockdown, as we did in the two lockdowns last year.
“At least this time we can see some light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccination programme, which I hope the Government will ensure is rolled out at speed.”
Mr Hart said he welcomed the Chancellor’s new package of aid for the hospitality industry.
“I have been calling for the Government to provide specific help for hospitality businesses which are so vital to Devon and the South West but we need to see all the details. Many of these small businesses are already on their knees and they may need more support,” he said.
He praised people’s efforts during the last nine months which had kept Devon’s infection rate amongst the lowest in the country but he added: “We need people to behave now. This is a more virulent strain of the virus and it’s spreading rapidly in other areas.
“People need to go into lockdown and stay there to prevent it getting more of a hold in Devon. This virus doesn’t spread itself, it’s people who spread the virus.”
Mr Hart appealed to people to wait to be called for their vaccination.
“Please don’t call your GP surgery. They will contact you as soon as it’s your turn,” he said.