Published Saturday, 19th December 2020
Following the announcement that Sutton will move into Tier 4 restrictions, the Leader of the Council, Ruth Dombey, said:
Yesterday, I wrote to you about how the coronavirus infection rate in Sutton was deadly serious. This evening, the Prime Minister announced just how serious the situation has become.
From Sunday, Sutton, along with the rest of London and Surrey, will move into new Tier 4 restrictions. These are largely the same as the last lockdown in November. You can see a summary of the new restrictions here.
I know how desperately disappointed everyone will be about these new restrictions. Only a few days ago, the Government promised us that the planned relaxation of rules for five days of Christmas was still going ahead. Today, the Prime Minister has confirmed that all those living in a Tier 4 area, like Sutton, will not be allowed to mix with other households.
This decision will be a huge blow to everyone in Sutton – for families, friends and local businesses who, unless they are essential services, will be forced to close from tomorrow – after what has been an exceptionally difficult year for all of us. Like many, I will no longer be able to spend Christmas with those I have most looked forward to seeing. It will be painful not to see my son and his girlfriend after so many months.
But, sadly, the facts are clear. In Sutton, COVID-19 infection rates have increased to 409 per 100,000 people and continue to rise – an increase of 117% over the past seven days. This is a deeply worrying situation and the Government has decided we must take action now to try and turn back the rising tide of infections and stop our NHS and our hospitals from being overwhelmed.
The escalation of the virus, exacerbated by a new strain has come at a very difficult time of year. We were all getting ready for Christmas, with many out and about in our high streets and shopping centres and looking forward to the festivities.
We now face an unprecedented challenge in our borough. So many of us were already facing an incredibly hard winter – many have lost a loved one, or lost their job, or are living alone. Today’s announcements will be bitterly disappointing for everyone and we will need all the care, kindness and community spirit that has shone so brightly this year to get us through the coming weeks. We saw Sutton step up before and now we need to once again.
Please, now more than ever, keep yourselves and those you love and care for safe and well over this holiday season.
Please follow the rules: stay at home as much as possible, keep a safe distance from those not in your household, wear a mask in busy and indoor spaces, wash your hands regularly and get tested if you have any symptoms.
I know how frustrated, upset and disappointed everyone will be about these new restrictions over the holidays. It is hard for everyone but, in the spirit of this festive season, one of the kindest things we can do right now is protect and look out for each other. The sacrifices we make now will mean we can keep our loved ones safe during this hugely challenging time and, hopefully, as the vaccine rolls out means we can face brighter and more positive times next year.
As the Leader of Sutton Council, I know I speak on behalf of all councillors in our borough when I say how grateful I am to Council staff and our partners in the voluntary sector and the NHS who are working so hard to deliver tests and vaccinations, make sure the rules are followed, look after our more vulnerable residents and keep everyone informed. They will be working through Christmas and many of them will not be seeing friends and family in order to keep us all safe. The best way we can say thank you to them is to follow public health advice and make the right choices about what we do in the next few days and weeks.
All of us making sensible decisions now can make a huge difference in the coming weeks.
Cllr Ruth Dombey
Leader of Sutton Council