We are all working closely together to make sure that we continue to deliver vital community services and support. Public Health England is leading the response and we are one of the many public services supporting them.

I won't deny that this is a rapidly changing situation, but we have plans in place to make sure that you continue to receive the vital services that we deliver. Our staff have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure that we are prepared.

On Monday, the Prime Minister brought in new measures to help reduce the impact COVID-19 has on our health service and to help protect people. In brief the Government's advice was:

  • anyone who lives with someone who has a persistent cough or a temperature should stay at home for 14 days;
  • people should start working from home where they possibly can;
  • avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues;
  • only use the NHS when we really need to; and
  • that the Government would be no longer "supporting" mass gatherings using emergency workers.

We know that things are going to be tough in the foreseeable future, not only for those who are most vulnerable, but also local businesses. The Government is issuing extra support for these groups and as soon as we receive the money, we will be making sure that this reaches those who are eligible. Once this is over, we all have a role to play in supporting our local businesses and helping them to recover.

I also know that there are many of you who want to play their part in helping those who are most vulnerable in our society. We are looking at ways in which we can support local communities with this role. As soon as we have more information to share on this we will do so.

In the meantime, I would urge you to limit your movements and take care of yourselves. Please remember that all of our services are available 24/7 online at www.chichester.gov.uk and for those who don't have access to computers you can call 01243 785166. We would urge you to use these options, rather than making the journey to our buildings.

I am well aware that things could change over the coming days and weeks, and we will always follow the latest guidance issued by Public Health England. We will also be keeping our website updated with information about council services on our Coronavirus web page and we are also providing regular news updates on our social media channels at Chichester District Council on Facebook , @ChichesterDC on Twitter and chichesterdc on Instagram.

Please look out for each other, especially friends, family members and neighbours who are on their own. Equally though, please also ensure you are not putting yourself at risk of infection or infecting someone else, and follow the advice of Public Health England before you take any action if you start to experience any virus symptoms.

I would also like to ask for you to be considerate when you are out shopping, please do not stockpile goods. Our supermarkets are confident that there are enough of all the essential items we need. We need to ensure that everyone has the food and supplies they need to see them through if they or loved ones become ill.

Finally, on behalf of everyone in the district, I would like to thank all of our NHS staff, who are working tirelessly on the front line, saving lives. We appreciate you more than you will ever know.

Cllr Eileen Lintill
Leader of Chichester District Council