The National Health Service will be 72 on Sunday after experiencing what many have described as ‘the most challenging year in its history’.
As pubs and restaurants plan their re-opening this weekend NHS leaders have been joined by bosses from blue light services and local authorities to urge people to pay a fitting tribute to the 72nd anniversary by staying safe.
The combined message from Sussex Resilience Forum (SRF) partners, is to stay alert to Covid-19 and avoid placing strain on the NHS and other local services.
Public services across Sussex are preparing for the potential impact of the changes that will see people able to drink and socialise in ‘Covid-secure’ licensed premises for the first time in months.
Local services are preparing for a surge in demand with the prospect of warm weather and the relaxation of the social distancing measures encouraging more visitors to enjoy the Sussex coastline and night-time economy. A fitting tribute to the 72nd anniversary celebrations of the NHS would be for people to follow guidance and avoiding unnecessary risk this weekend says the SRF.
It comes after incidents last week where huge numbers of visitors left roads gridlocked near Camber and police and the local authorities were left to deal with the aftermath of large gatherings in Brighton and Hove.
The message from SRF partner organisations ahead of Saturday is clear: enjoy yourself but stay safe and respect our local communities.
Assistant Chief Constable Dave Miller, Chair of SRF said: “Our businesses and communities are understandably welcoming the further easing of restrictions planned.
“We want everyone to be able to enjoy the additional freedom this will bring but our plea is to do this safely and to avoid placing additional strain on emergency services and the health service who have all worked so hard to protect the public during this pandemic.
“The fact that the re-opening coincides with the 72nd anniversary of our health service, which has demonstrated its incredible resilience and relentless care throughout this pandemic, makes our message even more important.
“For many, the experience of visiting a pub or restaurant will be very different, as social distancing restrictions will remain in place, and large gatherings continue to be prohibited. This means that pubs and restaurants will have a number of measures in place, with limits on the number of customers they can welcome into their premises.
“It’s crucial people plan ahead, contact the venue they are visiting or check their website to find out how to do this in a safe way.”
Police and local authorities are working closely together to support the further re-opening of the local economy with a view to maximising public safety and to preventing and tackling anti-social or criminal behaviour and the impact of this on our local communities.
Those who do decide to visit pubs and restaurants, are encouraged to take the following steps to ensure their trip is as safe as possible:
- Follow social distancing guidance at all times
- Plan ahead – many pubs and restaurants will be working to a strict ‘bookings only’ policy to limit numbers
- Avoid large gatherings and do not congregate outside licensed premises
Mr Miller continued: “What is important now, is that we all continue to support our communities in preventing the spread of the virus, which remains a real risk.
“Our teams across the SRF will be working hard to ensure that resources are in place to respond to demand, but we would ask everyone to play their part by working with us. Please enjoy our pubs and restaurants sensibly, take note of the new restrictions in place, and avoid large crowds to keep each other safe.”
South East Coast Ambulance Service Operating Unit Manager Tim Fellows said: “This weekend we’ll be joining in saying thank you to everyone who has supported the NHS over the last few challenging months. To help us we really need people to act responsibly so there isn’t unnecessary additional pressure on our service. We urge everyone to please be sensible, stay safe and carry on looking after themselves, each other and the NHS.”
Further information on changes to restrictions can be found at gov.uk