Watford Borough Council is asking residents ‘to take action now’ and curb ‘the spread’ of coronavirus, as infection rates rise. The local authority is trying to prevent ‘further restrictions’ being ‘imposed on people and businesses.’ Moreover, they want to avoid the town moving into a higher tier of the new English lockdown system.
At present, the county remains at the ‘medium’ (tier 1) alert level. In the week ending 13th October, 101 people tested positive for Covid-19 within Watford. This equates to 105 cases per 100,000 in the population, whilst the average area in England had 93.
Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said:
“We have a small window of opportunity to stay in control of the spread of Covid-19. Everyone must take responsibility now to lower the risks involved in all of the things we do in our day-to-day lives. Unless we do that, coronavirus could get a stronger grip than it has now and we risk not being able to see those people who are most important to us.”
In order to tackle the issue, Watford Borough Council’s Community Protection team alongside the local police, have organised Covid-19 Action Week. Running from the 17th - 23rd October, teams will talk with local businesses to ensure they follow ‘guidelines’ which ‘protect’ workers. Justine Hoy, Head of Community Protection at Watford Council stated while it may ‘sound like an odd thing to say,’ they ‘need everyone to act’ as though they have coronavirus and do not want ‘to spread it.’ That way people are more likely to ‘keep’ the ‘idea’ in their heads, and it will help them become 'super careful.'
Display trucks are travelling to various hotspots throughout Watford, reminding residents ‘of the key actions’ they ‘need’ to implement. This includes ‘the basics’ of regular hand washing, using face coverings and to maintain social-distance. In addition, individuals with Covid-19 symptoms should self-isolate and ‘get tested.’ Finally, the council is advising limited contact with others from outside your household, and to ‘follow the rule of six.’ Over the weekend, the council began its campaign drive outside the Intu Watford shopping centre. A display truck was on-site exhibiting strategic adverts and messaging, along with the 'Smiley Face Man' who also offered advice to the public.
The council's display truck and the 'Smiley Face Man' outside Intu Watford. Pictures: Watford Borough Council.
In addition, two new police enforcement officers are now present on local streets making sure people comply with the rules. Those who ‘refuse to co-operate on face coverings’ or maintain ‘distance from offers,’ will receive Fixed Penalty Notices.
On the constabulary's role, Watford Chief Inspector, Ian Grout, said:
“We will be supporting our colleagues at Watford Borough Council in the coming week to ensure Covid-compliance in public spaces across the town. Previously, our emphasis has always been on encouraging people to comply with the rules, with enforcement as a last resort. But now, if a person does not comply when asked by officers they will not hesitate to issue Fixed Penalty Notices to those who are not exempt, yet continue to wilfully ignore what is mandatory. We understand that the Government legislation can be complex, so we regularly update the Coronavirus FAQ section of our website so you can keep track of the latest changes.”
For more information visit: https://www.watford.gov.uk/coronavirus