“Social distancing is the main priority.”
More and more eateries are opening up and offering a take-away service – as posted today on the Sidmouth Community Facebook pages:
As are other businesses opening up – and with a special plea:
Please follow the Social distancing we have set up in store card payments only.
And as the Sid Valley gradually opens up, the focus is very much on social distancing:
And this is the key message from the chair of the Town Council, interviewed by Sidmouth Nub News today. Here are some of the main points he makes: click on the link below for the full interview:
Bringing normality back to Sidmouth and attracting visitors
Nub News caught up with Sidmouth’s town council Chair Ian Barlow today for an in-depth Q&A on how the town can achieve a sense of normality in the months to come while still encouraging visitors to the town.
What are the town’s main priorities at this point?
“Social distancing is the main priority. The best case scenario is they create a vaccine but even then it will be at least 12 to 18 months before it is rolled out. The coronavirus is going to be with us for quite a while yet. Businesses need to adapt to that. We’ve got to learn how to live and work with social distancing. We’re working hard to provide larger pedestrian areas to make social distancing easier. Sidmouth county councillor Stuart Hughes is working on this as we speak.
“We’re looking at masks as well, I’d like to make it a rule that if you’re out in public in Sidmouth you must wear a mask. I know people don’t like them but we need to get over that. The masks aren’t the full answer but they do help to prevent transmission via sneezes or coughs. We’ve got to get used to wearing them. It’s all about doing everything we can to lower the risk of infection.
“At the moment one in 400 people has the infection, anybody in a public facing role is at more risk, just through the law of averages. All retailers should make it a rule that customers must wear masks. I’d love to make it a law. I can’t do that but I can work with the town’s businesses to make sure Sidmouth is ahead of the game. I would like to see these masks bought and supplied to local businesses. People will soon get used to it.”
How do we stimulate the town’s tourism economy?
“Businesses are now starting to get their heads around the situation. We’ve been trying hard to get the town’s bigger businesses and hotels talking to each other to get a plan together. We’ve got to persuade the Sidmouth community that we need these visitors. Overall we’ve got to get our economy going again. We need to prevent a mass recession that could kill more people than the coronavirus.
“This is the new normal, the quicker we understand that the more prepared Sidmouth will be. I want to put signs up saying, ‘you’re welcome in our town but please wear a mask’. We’ve got to work together to reassure residents that they are safe to welcome tourists to the town. We’ve got to present a united front to potential visitors that we are a safe place to visit. That means using masks, using hand sanitiser, more signage on social distancing and enlarging pedestrian areas.
“In terms of actually trying to encourage people to come here? We are waiting to see what the Government comes up with in terms of the easing of lock down restrictions. These people are coming at some point and we need to be in the best position to take advantage of that while ensuring public safety.
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