Bristol’s response to the pandemic has often been humbling. Thank you for all you are doing.
However today marks an important day for Bristol. One we all need to sit up and take notice of.
It is day 14 of the government imposed second lockdown. The nature of the virus and testing means that it takes 14 days for the effect of any changes in people’s behaviour to be seen. And worryingly, Bristol’s numbers of COVID-19 infection continue to rise at a rapid rate.
People in our city are very unwell, and some will sadly lose their lives. Other people are facing incredible financial hardship and food poverty. People are lonely, isolated and afraid. And the mental health of our city is suffering.
And for other people the impact is minimal. These people don’t know anyone that is ill. They are not at high risk themselves. And they are able to work from home and receive their normal income.
Regardless of your politics, what you think about the virus, or how you feel about the current lockdown - we all must take action. Because while our lives may be affected in different ways, we are all missing out on the things we love. And we all have it in our power to make the difference, to bring the numbers under control and help get Bristol back to some version of normal.
There are many dangerous rumours spreading online from people who are either misguided or malicious. They are putting their lives, and the lives of others at risk. Please don’t take truth from people who aren’t qualified. Instead, please follow the lockdown rules and COVID guidance issued by the government. Don’t look at the rules and try and find a way around them – they are in place to keep you, and others safe.
The biggest thing you can do to help is stay at home as much as possible and not socially mix. This means don’t go to other people’s homes, don’t form a childcare bubble unless you really need to, and don’t meet up with other people in playgrounds and parks. Keep space – try and stay 2m from other people both inside when you’re shopping and when you’re outside. Wear a mask whenever you are supposed to, and regularly wash your hands. If you have a temperature, lose your sense of smell or taste, or develop a new continuous cough then get a test. And finally, if you are told to self-isolate you must stay home – this means you can’t go to the shops, do the school run or walk the dog.
We have help available for those that need it and a large volunteer network of people willing to help you if you can’t leave the house. It is this amazing spirit that got us through the first lockdown, and will carry us through this winter. Please call the We Are Bristol helpline if you, or anyone you know, needs help: 0800 694 0184. And if you can volunteer some time to help others, then you can sign up on the Can Do Bristol website.
Thank you again, and please look after yourselves, and others in your community.