As stated in this column last week, ‘life as we know it’ will not be able to carry on for a period of time. We now know that, due to the effort to manage the spread of coronavirus covid-19, Flora Day is cancelled, the Scilly World Pilot Gig Championships are cancelled, countless meetings have been postponed, holidays are cancelled and elderly people are likely to be told to self-isolate for 12 weeks. Customers are advised not to drink out, eat out or enjoy a film at the cinema and to avoid all unnecessary social contact.
Public health advice regarding the spread of coronavirus has been effective but it is clear that the situation is changing daily. We all need to use our common sense as far as what we do and where we go and ensure we continue to receive our information from reliable sources.
The advice given by Government Ministers and Prof Chris Whitty, the government's chief medical adviser, and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance is intended to minimise suffering and save lives and my hope is that this new set of robust measures to restrict social contact will result in the number of cases of coronavirus falling.
In the meantime, businesses that we rely on here in West Cornwall and on Scilly face an unprecedented challenge to their viability and I will do what I can to make sure help from Her Majesty’s Treasury is effective and easy to access. No good business should be lost as a result of managing this outbreak wherever it may be. On Thursday last week I made some changes within my Penzance office so that there is now a member of staff prioritising this above all else. Whatever the enquiry we will do our utmost to get the latest information and advice from government departments to you rapidly.
As people self-isolate we need to find ways to ensure they have all they need and are safe and well. The simple calling card designed by Becky Wass from Falmouth has caught the imagination of the nation’s media. Her concept of being a good neighbour by dropping in a ViralKindness card with contact details and explaining what help can be offered is a really useful way of ensuring no one is left alone or more isolated than absolutely necessary. The card offers to pick up shopping, have a friendly phone conversation, post mail or pick up urgent supplies and is a good way of turning a very anxious time into something a little better. Printable PDF: bit.ly/viralkindness
On Monday the Penzance Towns Fund Board met formally for the first time and the task is to identify projects worthy of central Government in areas of digital, transport, culture and skills.
Over recent years local leaders in Penzance have identified a number of worthwhile investment opportunities and it is hoped that these will be considered for funding. However, we are very early in the process so there is an opportunity for anyone to put forward ideas that may help to improve the opportunities available for local people.
St Ives Towns Fund Board will meet next Monday 23rd March (at least via Skype) and there is also the opportunity for ideas and initiatives to be put forward for consideration.