A statement from Bristol’s Director of Public Health and Deputy Mayor: Areyoucovered

19 Aug 2020

A statement from Bristol’s Director of Public Health and Deputy Mayor

Following a small rise in COVID-19 cases in Bristol, Christina Gray, Bristol’s Director of Public Health, and Deputy Mayor Asher Craig (Communities, Equalities & Public Health) have issued a joint statement on recent activity in the city:

“We have seen a small but noticeable increase in the number of cases of COVID-19 in Bristol over the past seven days and wish to remind citizens of the current government guidelines to help prevent further cases.

“We have been made aware of multiple mass gatherings that have taken place in Bristol in recent weeks, and intended plans for future gatherings of 30+ people. These have resulted in large groups of people gathering and travelling together, increasing social interaction.

“In line with the government’s COVID-19 social distancing guidance, it is advised that large gatherings of 30+ people should not take place, even if attendees are wearing face coverings and attempting to maintain social distancing. While the risks of transmitting the disease at mass gatherings are relatively low, an increase in social contact which occurs when people are travelling to and from these events, as well as when people meet before, during and afterwards, pose an additional risk of spread. This can be particularly problematic when crowds of people use public transport to attend gatherings.

“It is vital that people adhere to the government restrictions on mass gatherings to avoid risks of transmission of the virus and help prevent a second wave locally. The same applies if you are meeting  in a group to socialise, and if members of more than two different households are meeting.

“Mass gatherings have included (but are not limited to) protests, demonstrations and group walks. We urge protesters/demonstrators to explore alternative, safer ways to take part in their mission/cause, such as using online platforms and resources.

“We understand that for many people, protests and demonstrations offer a powerful platform for raising awareness of an issue/cause and provoking conversation and change. However, while there is no vaccine or cure for the virus, we must work together to mitigate the risk of spread. Please encourage others to not mass gather at this time, and adhere to the safety guidelines in place.

“While we wish to reassure people that Bristol’s overall case numbers remain low, we must be vigilant in our fight against COVID-19. Remember, you should only be socialising in groups of up to two households (including your support bubble) indoors and outdoors, or up to six people from different households when outdoors.”

Sue Mountstevens, Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset, adds: “We are still in the middle of a global health emergency. The last thing we want is a localised outbreak that means we have to return to restrictions when other parts of the country are lifting theirs – we’ve seen how difficult this was for people living and working in Leicester.

“I know navigating the coronavirus regulations and guidance can feel frustrating and tiresome and hard to do when we are contending with changing rules and advice. However, please do not feel dejected, let’s keep observing these measures to keep our loved ones safe and stop the spread of the virus.

“I support the police approach to only use enforcement as a last resort so we must continue to take personal responsibility be cautious, act with common sense and ensure that the sacrifices of the last four months do not go to waste.”

For more information about how Bristol is responding to COVID-19 and for advice and guidance, visit the Bristol City Council website.