The message could not be clearer: ‘Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives’. However, for those forced to leave their homes to carry out vital, highly-valued work to support the vulnerable and keep the Island running, the Isle of Wight Council has welcomed the government’s offer of free car parking for critical workers in the NHS and social care during the coronavirus outbreak.
Health and social care workers are working very long shifts — day and night — as they step up to the unprecedented challenge.
Today’s announcement means they will be able to park in on street parking bays and council and NHS owned car parks without having to worry about cost or time restrictions.
Council leader Dave Stewart said:
“However, we want to go further than the government offer and extend the offer of free parking to all key workers in council owned car parks at anytime. This will start from immediate effect and they need do nothing for now.
“This should help to minimise the spread of infection by supporting key workers who will be travelling by car or other vehicles to comply with social distancing advice.
“This includes our growing army of volunteers who are supporting those Islanders most in need, delivering essential supplies of food and medicine.
“It is our view that no health worker, social car worker, volunteer or teacher — in fact any key worker — should have to pay parking charges in our car parks during this crisis.
“I hope this will allow them to park near to those residences where they may be delivering hot meals, essential supplies or medicines, attending to a vulnerable person or perhaps park closer to their own home.
“We are also introducing 30 minutes’ free parking in Newport High Street for all Island residents to enable them to visit the pharmacy or do essential food shopping without the need for money to park.
“However, the message remains: “Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives” — you should not leave your home unless absolutely necessary. Only that way can we turn the tide on the Covid-19 threat.”