Statement from Cllr Philip Whitehead, Wiltshire Council Leader following PMs announcement
Cllr Philip Whitehead, Wiltshire Council Leader said, "Following the Prime Minister's announcement about the timetable for the lifting of restrictions over the next few months, we will continue to work to support schools, businesses, residents and our staff to ensure restrictions can be lifted safely across Wiltshire.
"Our schools have remained open over the last six weeks for vulnerable children and those of critical workers and we are extremely grateful to those hardworking staff who have provided remote education to pupils at home as well as educating those at school. We will continue to provide our support to all our schools as they prepare to welcome back all children safely on the 8 March.
"We will also be doing all we can to support businesses to ensure that they can safely start to put in place plans to reopen in the timescales set out by the Prime Minister today.
"It is vital that residents carry on following Government guidance as this will help save lives and ensure we can continue to ease social distancing measures and recover from COVID-19. The vaccination programme is progressing well and thousands of people in Wiltshire have already received their first dose of the vaccine. Everyone in the first 4 priority groups have been invited to have a vaccine with all care homes visited by NHS staff. Across the county uptake has been incredibly high with the vast majority of people accepting the offer to be vaccinated.
"It is incredibly important that everyone accepts when they are contacted and makes an appointment to get vaccinated.
"Council staff are currently working from home and will continue to do so and we would urge local businesses to adopt the same approach where possible. We would also ask that residents continue to only make essential face-to-face visits to our hubs if they have safeguarding issues that cannot be dealt with over the phone.
"Preparations are currently underway to hold COVID secure local council and Police and Crime Commissioner elections on Thursday 6 May. Social distancing measures will be in place to ensure people can vote safely but we would encourage people to register to vote by post if they can.
"This is a challenging time for everyone and the way Wiltshire has pulled together to look out for each other and protect the most vulnerable is truly remarkable. I would like to thank everyone across the county for their ongoing resilience through these difficult times."