Camden leader statement on national lockdown

On Saturday (31 October) the Government announced their intention for a national lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus.

The national lockdown is due to start at 00.01 on Thursday 5 November. It will mean that:

  • non-essential shops and businesses will close
  • you won’t be able to mix indoors with people from another household, unless they are people within your support or childcare bubble
  • you can only exercise or visit outdoor public places with people you live with, your bubble or 1 person from another household
  • you must work from home if you can, unless you are in an essential service, or where your workplace is open and you cannot work from home
  • you must stay at home unless you have to leave the house to work or you’re leaving the house for a permitted reason such as exercising outdoors, taking a child to school, attending university, to shop for essentials, for care responsibilities or to attend a medical appointment or seek medical advice.

You can read more about the restrictions here which will be reviewed by the Government in early December.

Councillor Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council
This is a difficult and deeply worrying time. We don’t know what the next few months will hold but I want to be absolutely clear that Camden Council remains committed to supporting our community and lobbying government to do what it takes to protect lives and livelihoods.

As a council, we continue to be committed to ensuring that:

- We will keep vital services running – even if they have to be delivered in a different way
- We will continue to fight for our children, ensuring they do not get behind on their education or go hungry this winter
- We will ensure no Council tenant loses their home because they are affected by COVID-19 and will protect others from homelessness by lobbying the Government to continue the eviction ban during lockdown
- We will make sure care homes and care staff are protected and ensure that those who work for care providers don’t have to choose between their wage, their health and the health of those they support
- We will help to ensure everyone has access to food whether they are unwell, self-isolating or caring
- We will support, encourage and mobilise the huge community spirit which exists in Camden
- We stand ready, with our voluntary and community sector, to support any resident that needs it. Anyone who is worried about their physical or mental health, their finances, housing situation, their ability to self-isolate or anything else can call us on 020 7974 4444 (option 9)

Since the end of September, the numbers of people catching the virus has increased rapidly and we are sadly now seeing more hospitalisations and deaths across the country. I share the disappointment that I know many in Camden will be feeling that we are here again but there is now little alternative to this lockdown. Despite the rising number of cases, the public health advice is that wholescale action now could make a huge difference in bringing down infection rates in our city. The actions we all take over the next month will not only save lives and protect our NHS but help get us to a place where we can better live with the virus.

As well as following the lockdown restrictions, it remains absolutely vital that you follow public health advice:

- Regularly wash your hands for at least 20 seconds each time
- Wear a face covering in all indoor public settings, unless you’re exempt
- Stay 2m apart from people you don’t live with

If you develop symptoms – a new, continuous cough; high temperature; loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – you must self-isolate and get tested via nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.

Self-isolating is so important because it will prevent you from passing it on to others in your community. We know that it’s hard though so if you need any support to self-isolate, please call us on 020 7974 4444 (option 9) because we stand ready to support you.

We know the virus doesn’t affect us all equally. Camden Council remains committed to making real change to address the injustice and inequality that has caused the disproportionate impact of this virus, but also to ensuring that the support we provide to communities during this period provides extra support for older residents, those with underlying health conditions and residents from a Black, Asian and other ethnic backgrounds who are at increased risk.

We are asking our community to come together again. But we are also urging government to learn the lessons from the first wave. We thought all our effort between March and June would give us the opportunity to control, manage and prevent the spread of the virus during the winter. That has not happened. Government must ensure during this lockdown period that we use this time to repair and improve the testing and tracing system, listening to the expertise of local councils.

We know these restrictions will be devastating for businesses already struggling so we are calling for a wholescale economic support package over the next year to protect jobs and give businesses certainty to weather this storm. And we are asking for funding for local authorities to address the urgent need in our community such as food poverty, mental health needs, unemployment and homelessness.

And we want to see a leading role for local authorities working with our communities, no more press leaks and last minute announcements but a real partnership.

Throughout the pandemic we have seen the depths of care and kindness in our community and we will need to pull on that energy again to make sure no-one is left in need this winter. I know it will be hard but I also know that we will face this together. I do not say that lightly, because I have seen the toll the sacrifices of the last few months have taken – people losing loved ones, volunteers delivering food around the clock and to support neighbours, parents juggling jobs and childcare, business owners making incredibly hard choices to stay afloat and people missing weddings and funerals. But the decision by Government to move to a lockdown to stop the spread of the virus is the right one given the situation we are in. It is only by drawing on the deep well of Camden community spirit that we can get through this and I hope we can all look after each other as we do our bit to stop this virus.

Lastly, thank you to everyone in our community for the role you’ve played since the start of the pandemic which has included volunteering your time, helping those more in need and following public health advice to protect yourself and others. And thank you to all of our essential workers including our teachers, NHS workers, emergency services, essential shop workers and others. We are truly grateful for everything you’ve done throughout the pandemic and for the vital role you will play over the coming weeks.

Councillor Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council