‘PLEASE stay at home to protect the NHS and help save lives’.

This is the message from Cllr Louise Gittins - leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council - to residents in the borough.

Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that people must stay at home, except in limited circumstances, the council is advising all residents to follow these new measures to help protect the most vulnerable people in our communities.

Cllr Gittins, who is also cabinet member for wellbeing, said: “The time has come for more significant action, and I ask you all, please to stay at home, to protect the NHS and help save lives.

“I understand this is undoubtedly a challenging time for all of us, but the council, our partners and our growing number of volunteers will be doing everything that we can to support you.

“As council leader, I will also make sure that we continue to deliver the critical front-line services that we’re responsible for delivering on a daily basis:

  • protecting hundreds of our most vulnerable children and families
  • maintaining social care services for adults
  • providing support and advice to our businesses
  • collecting waste and maintaining the quality of our roads.

“All of these services and a huge number of others that we manage through the course of our business will be heavily impacted by COVID-19.

“These vital services are being prioritised, and council staff are already being redeployed to help us manage those priority areas.

“Some of our services will need to be delivered differently or temporarily scaled back, but please be reassured that the decisions we make as a local authority will be based on the most up-to-date information available, and with the best interests of our residents at the forefront of our minds.”

Cllr Gittins went on to say: “As a community, we all have a role to play, and it is absolutely vital that everyone plays their part.

“This is a time to look out for each other. We may be physically isolated for a period of time, but we don’t have to be socially isolated.

“You can support family, friends and neighbours safely through different methods of communication, by phone or social media, and of course, following the advice of the NHS and Public Health England.”

New guidance from the Government aims to reduce day-to-day contact with others and reduce the spread of infection.

You should only leave the house for the following reasons:

  • shopping for essential food and medicine, as infrequently as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, but not in groups
  • travelling to support a medical need or to provide care or help a vulnerable person
  • travelling to and from essential work but only where absolutely necessary and where working from home is not possible.

Even when doing the above activities, you should minimise the time spent outside of the home and ensure you are two metres apart from anyone outside your household.

Playgrounds and places of worship will also be closed, and all social events will be cancelled.

Libraries and Leisure centres have already closed their doors, and some will be re-purposed as hubs for council staff and voluntary organisations supporting the most vulnerable.

Cheshire Police and other agencies are enforcing these new measures and issuing fines if people do not comply.