The Speakership of the Confederation of the Cinque Ports transferred to Rye on 21 May and, until the town council appoints a new mayor, the current speaker is Michael Boyd.
We are currently Covid-19 risk assessing the remaining town council activities and services in anticipation of them being reinstated / opening in the not-too-distant future – weddings, the Rye Information Point (for visitors to Rye), and ‘in person’ council meetings in particular.
There is an expectation that weddings may be permitted, in a limited form, from June 1, but we do not anticipate being ready to host any until July. Our main difficulty (shared with others) is sourcing sufficient screens, sanitiser, wipes, gloves, cleaning materials, masks etc – and the acquisition of these will determine when activities / services may safely return.
When may business resume ?
Subject to government proclamations on gatherings and social distancing – and the availability of materials / equipment – I anticipate that the earliest it may be possible to safely open the Rye Information Point in the town hall – and hold a socially distanced council meeting (but not at the town hall) – is July or August.
If it is not possible to hold an ‘in person’ council meeting by the end of August, the council will need to meet remotely in order to approve the annual accounts and annual governance and audit return by the August 31 deadline.
The majority of councillors have expressed a preference not to hold remote meetings for a variety of reasons – including lack of suitable equipment, past / recent unsatisfactory experience(s), ensuring inclusivity, or no previous experience.
Could High Street be closed briefly ?
A number of councillors are considering what might be done to help businesses operating in the town achieve social distancing requirements for their customers. Rye’s narrow pavements – and the loss of the pavement fronting the George – severely restricts the ability to socially distance.
One suggestion that is being explored is closing the High Street to vehicles at certain times to allow pedestrians to walk / queue in the road. We are waiting to hear if there is a lawful power to permit this.
Image Credits: Rye News library .