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Takeaway customers are being reminded they should consume their purchases at home under the Covid-19 lockdown regulations.
With the lockdown continuing and an indication from the Government that the rules will not change over the bank holiday weekend – it is important the public stays at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
Although Essex residents have largely respected the regulations, authorities are increasingly finding some are ignoring the spirit of the lockdown – in particular using takeaways but eating their food nearby rather than taking it home. That is why councils across Essex and Essex Police have worked together to develop the ‘Don’t stay, take it away’ campaign for local businesses, residents and visitors.
Under the Covid-19 regulations food outlets can trade as takeaways, but have a responsibility to make sure customers do not congregate outside, even if they do not own the land.
BJ Harrington, Chief Constable of Essex Police, thanked those who had been observing the lockdown said: “We understand just how tough it is on everybody, and I am so pleased that here in Essex everyone has by and large followed the rules,”
“The longer the lockdown continues the harder it becomes, but it is so important that we continue to observe the rules and follow the guidance from scientists to ensure that we don’t undo all of the good work done so far.
“With that in mind while the lockdown continues, if you do get a takeaway and collect it yourself please leave straight away, take it home, and eat it there.”
Authorities in Essex are also working with local businesses to see how they can be supported with reinforcing the ‘take it away’ message with their customers.
Cllr Neil Stock OBE, Leader of Tendring District Council, added: “Businesses are adapting their offer to include takeaways, and we absolutely support that as our traders are a vital part of the local economy.
“But that only works if their customers – the general public – use them sensibly and continue to respect the guidelines on social distancing. So please, don’t stay and take it away.”
Cllr Martin Terry, cabinet member for public protection for Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, said: “We know our beaches and open spaces are beautiful and people are very tempted to pop down to seafronts or parks and enjoy them along with an ice cream or packet of chips.
“People are entitled to travel a short distance to take their exercise, and to use takeaways, but they must respect the guidelines and see that through. Please do not come to our beaches for a picnic, or have an ice cream on a bench – don’t stay, take it away.”
Southend pier, one of the towns top tourist attraction is set to remain closed until at least July following fresh guidance from the Government.
The council has confirmed that Southend Pier is a ticketed attraction and will therefore not open until other leisure attractions such as cinemas and hotels are able to.
Government guidance suggests that this will not be until July 4 at the earliest but it could be pushed back further should the number of Covid-19 cases begin to rise.
Keeping the pier closed is likely to help the council to keep the number of people visiting Southend to a minimum, despite people now be allowed to visit beaches and sunbath.
The pier has been closed since March 18 after the government introduced lockdown restrictions across the country.
Western Esplanade will be temporarily widened for pedestrians and cyclists from Saturday 16 May, in response to national changes to lockdown, and to allow local people to safely enjoy the seafront.
The widened promenade will be created from Chalkwell to the Pier, and will be made possible by a contraflow system which will still allow cars to travel in both directions, but reduce lane width by keeping parking bays along Western Esplanade suspended.
Seafront car parks previously closed will also reopen from Saturday as part of a balanced approach that has been decided on after considering a number of practical options and measures.
Seafront parking bays along City Beach, and all those along Western Esplanade which are required to enable the contraflow will remain suspended. The suspension will be lifted on the others.
As a result of this change, parking enforcement across the Borough will step up from Monday 18 May, including in pay and display areas and where seasonal parking restrictions are in place.
However, one-hour restrictions in residential areas will not be enforced until Monday 1 June and enforcement of resident or business permits will not take place for four weeks, although expired permits must continue to be displayed. The council are also looking at providing free parking for NHS and key workers from next week.
Members of the public are asked to self-enforce social distancing whilst queueing for and using any public or private facilities, and use MOBON, the parking app which allow cashless and contact free payment for parking.
Cllr Ron Woodley, deputy leader of the council, says: “Following the Government announcement on Sunday, we have considered a number of options and measures and decided quickly on what we feel is a balanced approach to protecting local people and businesses, but also respecting the new national instructions.
“The national announcement stated that people are now able to drive to exercise and so we need to open our car parks again, but we also need to ensure people can keep two metres apart, and the contraflow will help achieve that.
“I will say that we are still asking people who do not live locally not to visit Southend-on-Sea and allow local people to have a safe environment and open spaces where they can exercise, enjoy the fresh air, but also keep apart from others outside of their household.
“As ever we will keep all these measures under careful review to ensure we can keep local people safe and well.”
Cllr Martin Terry, cabinet member for community safety, says: “Physical distancing and ensuring people stay safe and well by staying apart is now a fact of life.
“These measures will help people do that, but we urge everyone across Southend-on-Sea to self-enforce and take individual personal responsibility to keep their distance from those outside their households at this time.”
In addition, Belfairs Golf course will open later this month, and household waste recycling centres across Essex will open from Monday 18 May (see separate release).
Southend Pier is a ticketed attraction and will not be able to re-open until at least 4 July under the Government’s recovery plan. Maintaining social distancing on the pier train and walkway is a challenge, and so the council will continue to consider and review national guidance as and when it is published by the Government before re-opening this attraction.
Following a temporary relaxation, we will all once again need to enforce the dog control order in place for beaches. Please be aware that if you take a dog, other than a guide dog, onto any beach until 1 September you could be fined.
With the Borough’s two household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) reopening to the public next week (Monday 18 May), the council is urging residents to think carefully and consider whether they need to visit or not.
Strict social distancing measures will be in place to keep visitors and staff safe and well and Government guidance states residents should only visit the site if they are unable to safely store their waste at home, without it causing a risk to public health, or they are unable to dispose of the waste through usual weekly kerbside collections.
The council is urging residents to be aware of this Government guidance and make a common sense decision on whether their trip to the recycling centre is needed. There are likely to be long queues, so please bear this in mind and only visit if it is absolutely necessary.
Any residents showing symptoms of COVID-19, is self-isolating or shielding should not visit any recycling centre under any circumstances and should follow advice from Public Health England.
For more information on the restrictions in place at the site, please visit www.southend.gov.uk/hwrc
Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “I am urging residents to only visit the sites if absolutely necessary, and particularly to start with when we expect it to be very busy.
“Even though lockdown restrictions have been lifted slightly, we must not become complacent. I cannot stress enough that the centres are reopening to allow residents to dispose of waste they cannot store safely at home or recycle for the weekly collection, not as an excuse to get out of the house to get rid of one of two pink or black sacks.
“Although the sites will be open seven days a week and with extended hours (7am – 6pm), they will be very busy to start with, and queues to enter are expected. We therefore urge residents to consider carefully whether to take the trip, and if they do need to go, to please check the link to the sites’ webcams on the council website so you don’t add to the queues.
“It is absolutely vital that residents continue to follow Government and Public Health England advice around the Coronavirus pandemic, and to please make a common sense decision around whether they should visit the sites.”
Belfairs golf course and local free to use tennis, and basketball courts along with outdoor multi use games areas, are set to reopen from Friday 23 May, with social distancing advice in place to help residents exercise safely.
The golf course and tennis courts were closed to the public from the first week of lockdown, however following updated guidance from the Government around unlimited exercise, including the use of tennis courts and golf courses, plans are being finalised for the reopening of the facilities from Friday.
Players looking to play a round on the Belfairs golf course will only be able to do so in groups of two (two ball), in line with current guidance around only meeting one person from another household at any one time. The free to use tennis courts in a number of the town’s parks, will allow games of one on one, and signage is in place at all sites promoting social distancing guidelines.
The rentable tennis courts at Chalkwell Park and Priory Park are managed by Fusion Lifestyle, please contact them for further details.
Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “With the Government announcing golf and tennis as appropriate sports which residents can take part in as part of their exercise, we are now able to announce the facilities are to open from Friday. We had to ensure the sites had social distancing-specific rules in place to protect the health and wellbeing of players and staff.
“Although the sites are to reopen, I urge residents to adhere to the guidance in place at all of our sites which is for the benefit of everyone and I hope all our park users will follow them. Everyone has worked so hard to get to this point, and it is important we don’t let our standards slip as we approach the summer.”
To book a tee-time at Belfairs golf course, please telephone the Starters Hut on 01702 525345
Golf course and tennis courts set to reopen for public use
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has expressed its full support to all state funded schools in the borough confirming trust in their professional judgement as they are due to reopen.
Following the Government’s recent decision that schools are to reopen from 1st June 2020, for select year groups, school staff have been busy carrying out important risk assessment and making plans so pupils in reception, year 1, and 6, plus year 10 and 12, can return safely.
Each individual school has its own challenges in terms of facilities, staffing, logistics and students. The council is clear that headteachers and their staff are best placed to make the decision on how to respond to the Government’s request in a way that is right for their staff, their children and their community.
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has written to every school to let them know their position.
Cllr Anne Jones, cabinet member for children and learning, said: “We are incredibly lucky that we have such fantastic schools in the borough whose primary concern is the safety and wellbeing of the children and the staff. No one understands the schools better than the staff that work within them, therefore their judgement as professionals on how to implement the safe return of students is essential. Every school has our full support – whatever their decision.”
Belfairs Golf course, a Southend-on-Sea Borough Council owned pay and play golf facility in Leigh-on-Sea, is planning to reopen by the end of the month following the Government’s relaxation of restrictions on Sunday 10 May.
Belfairs Golf course has been closed since 23 March and has been a popular location for local people to take their daily walk during lockdown.
Under Government rules, golf will be able to resume in England from today (Wednesday 13 May), but council staff will now spend the upcoming days making the course playable again and making any required modification to make the course safe for players and staff.
New signage to promote social distancing requirements and ensure those walking on the course are aware that golf is being played again will also be erected. People will still be able to walk in the woodland once the golf course has reopened.
Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment and planning, says: “We are working hard across all our services and facilities to implement the new Government guidance whilst also ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our local residents and staff as a top priority.
“We will get the course open again as soon as possible and by the end of May at the latest, but in the meantime we need to do some minor works to ensure the course is up to a good standard and playable and all users of this public open space, be they golfers, dog walkers or any other visitors, are safe.”
When the course opens the following restrictions will apply:
• Only two players will be allowed to play a round together
• People must telephone the Starters Hut on 01702 525345 to book a tee-time
There are two golf clubs based at Belfairs Golf Course – Belfairs Golf Club and Southend Golf Club. Peter Mahoney, of Belfairs Golf Club, and Colin Wyatt, of Southend Golf Club, say: “Both Belfairs Golf Club and Southend Golf Club are looking forward to the golf course opening up again. The Council has done a great job of maintaining the golf course while it has been closed, but there are still issues to deal with before reopening. Golfers must keep to the guidelines set out for everyone’s safety when the course reopens.”
In light of the latest Government announcement, the Council is looking at the measures that need to be in place to reopen outdoor sports facilities, including Belfairs Golf Course, and address the requirements for these facilities to operate in a COVID-19 secure way. Once necessary measures are in place opening dates for other sports facilities will be announced.