How safe are visitors?

7
1611
Visitors arriving at Rye Station

It’s almost 20 weeks since the start of lockdown, and with many Rye shops and restaurants open for business for increasingly large numbers of visitors, some could be forgiven for wondering where we are with the pandemic.

One statistic from the World Health Organisation this week was sobering. “There is a Covid related death every 15 seconds somewhere in the globe”. This came at the same time as some of the UK Press speculated that many coming to the coast for either day visits or for “staycation” are of the mindset that that they are escaping from Covid-19 and in particular the necessary “mitigations” (social separation, hand washing and face coverings).

New Covid-19 cases by day

With large crowds visiting local beaches – more are expected with the next round of forecast hot weather this weekend – we risk that, as we get back to business, people visiting Rye and District may be from places where infection rates are higher. And one lesson of the pandemic is that travel increases transmission.

Looking at data for the south east, from the Office of National Statistics and Public Health England, the position with infections remains little changed from last week. Nationally the slight “uptick” for the last week in July is attributed to infections in the so called hotspots in the north. But local data does not easily indicate the full picture because infections are linked to home addresses rather than work places. And for Rye and District many travel to work.

Education first, or jobs? 

Against the background advice from the Chief Medical Officer last week that in England we were “at the outer edge of what we can do” in term of easing lockdown, with one month to go before many schools open, some experts including the Children’s Commissioner are calling for priority to go for schools to open, even if that means that other locations such as pubs and shops should close.

Along with more discussion about the need for furlough to be continued, measures to help the unemployed and struggling business, we can expect to hear a lot more of this in the coming days.

With the NHS reporting that Covid-19 is causing delays to the diagnosis and treatment for people suffering from non-Covid conditions such as cancer and diabetes, in Rye it is reassuring to know that it is possible to secure a video consultation with a doctor or an appointment with a dentist.

With a vaccine some way off, an effective and wide-scale test and trace system, along with continued use of the “mitigations”, are seen to be the way to keep control of infections. The national test and trace system where some 20% of those tested are not traced is resulting in some local authorities developing their own tracing systems. A new 90 minute test has been reported and such equipment, if proved successful, could transform testing.

Continuing fears about safety

Despite the easing of lockdown, a large number of Rye’s 50 or so voluntary organisations remain closed. These depend on many volunteers, who are mature and with lingering concerns about the risk often because of underlying health conditions. It is hoped that as we ease further and community support commitments reduce, some of the many hundreds of younger volunteers who have committed to Rye Mutual Aid (RMA) (Ryemutualaid.org) for community support, will find the time to help other existing social enterprises.

What is clear is that as uncertainty continues, it is important that everyone continues to do their bit to help control the virus. In particular, when away from home:

  1. Keep washing or sanitising hands regularly;
  2. In enclosed spaces, wear a face covering over nose and mouth;
  3. Stay at least a metre away from people not of your household.

Feeling unwell? Do you have a fever, cough or loss of taste or smell? If so, seek a test and stay at home.

Image Credits: Anthony Kimber , UK Government .

7 COMMENTS

  1. The title “How safe are visitors” is a little unfortunate though it can be taken in two ways. Would have preferred “How safe are residents ?” Good summary though of the current situation though.

  2. Thank you for the information, it’s very useful and true. Sadly those visiting seem to think as they are in the open country social distancing is not important. Frightening to be honest.

  3. A very useful article. I am inclined to agree with the previous comments. How safe indeed are we as residents especially given the overall attitude of visitors who seem to think social distancing no longer applies? Just the other day I got pushed aside in Bargain Box by a whole family of 5 or 6, who although wearing masks, steamed up the wrong way towards the counter (clearly marked with arrows) and then crowded together to choose some scratch cards leaving no distance between us and forcing me to dash into a corner! The streets mean a constant game of dodge, and some small shops seem to be totally ignoring the rules, not even having signage requesting that people wear face masks before entering!

  4. I AGREE WITH ALL THE ABOVE COMMENTS.WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE REQUEST OF CLOSING THE HIGH STREET TO MOTOR TRAFFIC EXCEPT DELIVERIES/EMERGENCIES? OUR PAVEMENTS ARE SO NARROW PEDESTRIANS ARE BEING FORCED INTO THE ROAD NOW SHOPS ARE OPEN & RYE IS FULL OF TOURISTS

    • Rye Town Council did ‘feed in’ social distancing suggestions during ESCC’s officers deliberations – as well as passing on comments from local stakeholders. However, it did advise ESCC that it would like the opportunity to comment on whatever social distancing measures officers would be recommending (none, as it turns out).

  5. Yes please, let’s have wider, level and decent pavements so that people walking with sticks for support, pushchairs and wheelchairs can actually enjoy our Town. Also a narrower High Street would mean no parked cars and only deliveries parking to unload. How peaceful the High Street could be.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here