With travel to continental Europe from the UK suspended, and who knows for how long, the public health directors for Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin have issued a stark warning about travel to and from Tier 4. In a word. Don’t. This includes people from Wales.
This is the time of year when many people come from London and the South East to south west Shropshire to spend the festive period in holiday lets and second homes. They bring a lot of trade to towns and villages. Very often, families and friends meet up here having not seen each other for months, if at all this year.
But the reality of the Covid-19 virus is that it thrives on social mixing and gets around by people traveling. The new strain will eventually get to Shropshire. It might be here already. But we don’t want infection rates to rise in south west Shropshire with our older more vulnerable population.
Infections rates in south west Shropshire are very low. In the Ludlow, Clun, Church Stretton and Craven Arms, there were fewer than three cases in each area in the seven days to 16 December. It would be good to keep it that way.
Yesterday, Rachel Robinson, Director of Public Health for Shropshire and Liz Noakes, Rachel’s equivalent for Telford and Wrekin, warned that travel to and from Tier 4 areas, including Wales, is out of order. If you must travel from Tier 4, you must self-isolate for ten days.
Here is Rachel Robinson:
“We all still need to be extremely careful about who you mix with in the run-up to Christmas. If you catch COVID-19 now, you could pass it to a loved one over the festive period. If you are currently in a Tier 4 region and were planning on returning to Shropshire for Christmas, please stay at home and protect your loved ones. If you have travelled from these areas then please be super cautious.”
Liz Noakes is reported by the Shropshire Star as saying:
“People have been moving across the country before Saturday’s travel ban was imposed so this might have spread the virus further. We all need to act like the new variant is already here and do our utmost best to protect ourselves, our families as well as our community.”
This is another blow to trade in south west Shropshire. People go away for Christmas with money in their pockets. Our independent trades and hospitality businesses always look forward to a boost before the low season which usually continues until Easter.
But if Covid-19 rates increase here, we will have more illness. More fear. We’ll end up in a higher tier. That will hit businesses even harder.