Statement by the Leader and Chief Executive of Gwynedd Council (6 July 2020)
Audio clip: Statement by the Leader and Chief Executive of Gwynedd Council (6 July 2020)
After months of having to live and work in very different ways to what we are used to, the spread of the virus seems to be reducing. We are extremely grateful to the people of Gwynedd for their effort and sacrifice during the lockdown period.
The Welsh Government – based on the guidance of its scientists - now considers that the public health risk of Covid-19 has been reduced. They have therefore decided that the time is right to allow more sectors of the economy to reopen and to allow everyone to travel more than five miles.
It is clearly a fine balance for the government between protecting public health and the far-reaching economic and social implications that the combination of travel restrictions and forcing some businesses to close either partially or completely.
As a local council, we have to trust that this decision will continue to strike the right balance, especially considering that the number of people who decide to visit Gwynedd for leisure purposes will rise over the summer.
We know that many businesses and families will welcome the relaxation from the lockdown period, for the benefit of the economy and community well-being. But others will be concerned. It is important that we respect both points of view and note that we as a council – nor any other authority - have the right to prevent anyone from travelling.
So, as private businesses and public services gradually re-open and re-establish, we as a Council are asking everyone to continue to act in a responsible way to protect our own health and wellbeing; protect our communities; and protect our health and care services.
We ask that:
- Everyone keeps a distance of two metres from others;
- Everyone continues to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly;
- Businesses put the necessary arrangements in place to help customers keep the two metres between them and other customers and staff;
- Businesses adhere to the highest standard of cleanliness;
- People by patient and respect for Welsh Government rules.
Now that a major change is underway many will feel as they did at the start of the crisis. But we are confident that the arrangements that are now in place put us in a strong position.
The Test-Trace-Protect system for which the Council is responsible locally identifies anyone who tests positive for Coronavirus, identifies those who have been in contact with them and provides guidance to self-isolate for 14 days.
Through this system we will keep a close eye on the spread of the virus and if there is a significant increase we can expect the Welsh Government to reintroduce restrictions to protect public health.
In addition, we are calling on visitors to Gwynedd to act responsibly, to respect local communities and above all to comply with Welsh Government social distancing rules.
So, to conclude, the message to the people of Gwynedd and anyone who visits the county is simple - keep following the rules to keep yourself, your families and your community safe.
Councillor Dyfrig Siencyn, Leader of Gwynedd Council
Dilwyn O. Williams, Chief Executive of Gwynedd Council
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