‘Adhere to the guidelines’

‘Adhere to the guidelines’

25 March 2020

SLIEVE Croob councillors say it is essential that everyone abides by social distancing guidelines that have been set out by government and public health officials.  

They have appealed to people to look out for one another and to accept the serious consequences the coronavirus poses to every single person.

Cllr Cathy Mason said while the five Slieve Croob politicians had different political views, they were standing in solidarity, united in the battle against the deadly virus.

She explained that the councillors have been in contact with each other over the past number of weeks, putting plans together and sharing information on how they can help local communities.  

“We are asking the public who are understandably confused and worried at this time to please adhere to the guidelines that have been set out by the government and public health officials, not only for you and your families, but for the most vulnerable in our societies,” said Cllr Mason.

“There will be many businesses and livelihoods that are going to suffer during these times, please link in with local advice centres, HMRC and NI Direct websites to find out what help is available to you. Let’s look out for each other in these turbulent times.”

Cllr McMurray — who spoke ahead of Monday’s ban on access to Tyrella beach — said that last weekend he had been “inundated” with messages and calls regarding the number of people attending local forest parks.

“Unfortunately, it appears that the general population is not adhering to the advice in relation to social distancing and I would suggest that they are nearly treating this crisis as a national holiday.

I will be reviewing access to our forest parks with party leaders and senior management team,” he said.

“We have been pushing a lot of advice and guidance with regard to the need for social distancing but it is not resting with the population. It is so difficult to balance the need to allow people the space to walk to protect mental and health and well-being, but we ask that the public refer to guidelines set out by public health officials to do so safely.”

Cllr Lewis said the closure of leisure centres, play areas, council-owned facilities and schools across this district had been done for people’s safety.

“I appeal to people to recognise why these areas are closed,” he continued. “Play parks and sporting facilities should not be used. It is imperative that we recognise and accept the seriousness of this illness. It simply cannot be business as usual, we must heed all relevant medical advice.”

Cllr Lewis added: “This is for our own safety, while also protecting the integrity of our health service and those vital, dedicated experienced staff who support it. Newry, Mourne and Down Council has taken extreme measures and please respect these steps. This isn’t a holiday and it’s not a jolly. We are protecting life.”

Cllr Gallagher said it was vital that everyone in the community ensures that social isolation is adhered to, highlighting the need to reduce the risk.

He added: “The elderly and those with predisposed health conditions need to keep their distance and follow public health guidelines. Remain at home if possible and get someone to do your shopping. Family units are important. People must not allow others into their home and visits that are not essential must stop”

Cllr Howell said that last week the Education Minister finally declared that schools would close to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, highlighting the huge responsibility on parents to ensure that not just children are safe, but so are those they are in contact with.

She added: “Unfortunately, some young people think that this is the start of their summer holidays and they are free to continue with no worries or concerns. I am appealing to parents to inform their children about social distancing and the importance of adhering to the public health guidelines. 

“If your teenager goes out can you be confident that they will observe the required social distancing of two metres? Many of them don’t have the willpower to practice what is being advised.

“As a parent I know only too well how hard it is to keep teenagers from going out, but we need to set the example to our children. If these social distancing rules are not adhered to, they will come home and unknowingly pass the virus to others, perhaps family members with underlying health issues or aged grandparents.”