“We are doing all we can to protect you” — that is the message from the leader of the Isle of Wight Council today (Friday) as he moves to reassure Islanders the authority is ready to take on the coronavirus (COVID-19) threat.
In a message to Islanders posted on social media, Councillor Dave Stewart said the council’s focus is the health and wellbeing of its communities.
Maintaining essential services to our most vulnerable residents is a priority, as is supporting the many local businesses already hard hit by the pandemic, he said.
Councillor Stewart has also called on residents to take sensible precautions such as washing hands, keeping social space, self-isolating when required and seeking medical advice through the 111 service when needed. He said:
“I want to assure you now that we are doing all we can to protect you and the rest of our Island community as we enter the storm of coronavirus in the days and weeks ahead.
“In the midst of this international public health crisis, the Isle of Wight is stepping up to ensure all our community have what they need to cope with the impact of Covid-19 — we know it will be tough but we are ready and we will respond as necessary.”
Councillor Stewart has said the authority will be identifying those most in need and maintaining regular contact with them. A dedicated helpline to support the was also being set up.
He has also reassured businesses that the council is working hard to be ready to swiftly deliver the package of funding support announced by the government with further details to follow soon.
Councillor Stewart has highlighted other measures the council is taking, including:
• Closing all council-run leisure centres, museum and theatre
• Encouraging council staff to work from home to minimise travel and support social-isolation
• Working with partner agencies to ensure plans are in place to provide further support to the community.
Cllr Stewart says ferry companies are ensuring goods and people can get to and from the Island through safe and regular services, the police and fire service are fully prepared to respond to any emergency that needed their support and Southern Water has robust plans in place to ensure essential water supplies are maintained for everyone.
Councillor Stewart has praised the Island’s community spirit and the outpouring of public kindness and generosity. He has said:
“This collective community response is what will see us through this and ensure we do everything we can to overcome coronavirus and rebuild our community afterwards.
“There will be opportunities to help others and everyone can play their part.
“We are fortunate to live in a place where community spirit is second to none and now is the time to harness that spirit.”