‘We will get through this pandemic, together’ - How Suffolk reacted to second lockdown announcement

A member of the public watches a press conference with Prime Minister Boris Johnson Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

A member of the public watches a press conference with Prime Minister Boris Johnson Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Suffolk has tonight reacted to the news that England is headed for a second national lockdown due to coronavirus.

Council leaders, MPs, community leaders and those on social media have all been commenting on the new rules - which will see hospitality and leisure businesses shut, non-essential shops shut and a ban on meeting anyone from outside your household indoors.

Matthew Hicks, leader of Suffolk County Council, took the opportunity to remind people to stick to the rules and said: “I know it feels like we’ve been here before but the truth is, we haven’t. A second wave of Covid-19 poses a greater threat to Suffolk life because its very existence shows we need to do even more than we already have, to stop the spread.

“This is a serious wake up call. We must now stay or work at home, unless journeys are absolutely essential. This isn’t about us as individuals. This is about protecting the NHS and saving the lives of our neighbours and loved ones.

“Please everyone, together let’s do what Suffolk needs us to do. We’ve done it before and we can do it again. Our actions today determine the futures of others. Now is the time to stick with it Suffolk.”

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Terry Baxter, chairman of Ipswich Central, wrote in a statement: “Businesses in Ipswich town centre have been working incredibly hard to begin their recovery from the last lockdown, while prioritising the safety of staff and customers.

“The result, compared to other locations, has been improved trading conditions combined with very low rates of infection. It is, therefore, devastating that the majority will now be forced to close again following the Prime Minister’s latest announcement.

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“This lockdown needs to be effective, but, for Ipswich, it must also be short term.

“In the meantime, and to avoid untold damage to our local economy, the government must provide a full package of support for businesses, including the full job retention scheme for all employees, but also additional financial support. At this important moment, we urgently need to be given reassurance, optimism and certainty.

“We will be entering into immediate and urgent discussions with Tom Hunt MP, leaders at Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council, and other key stakeholders, to reinstate and reinvigorate the proactive partnership approach that served the town centre so well last time around.”

Matt Hancock, the health secretary and West Suffolk MP, tweeted: “The PM is right - we must take action now to protect the NHS & save lives from this unprecedented pandemic.

“We will get through this pandemic, together.

“Thank you to all those in our NHS & social care for your tireless work in our national effort.”

People on Facebook questioned whether another lockdown was necessary. Charmaine Tooke wrote: “I understand that it’s spreading very quickly but what about those who are struggling to make ends meet? What about those who are mentally struggling also?

“It’s going to have such an impact, maybe just shut the pubs and clubs.”

Jo Ellis said: “Just wear a mask! Keep the distance, it’s not rocket science. Grow up, follow the rules and stop being such a child.”

Helen Haill echoed her point, commenting: “Maybe if people had listened in the beginning this would not be happening again.”

But others thought the new measures would not be enough.

Suzi Wright said: “It’s hard to do worse really. Lockdown was advised, and needed, weeks ago. Too late, again.”

Nigel Diggens wrote: “He should shut schools and universities as well. Not keep them open.”

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