In normal times, we welcome visitors to Brighton and Hove. We have a large tourist sector that helps drive our local economy and we’re proud of the local businesses, attractions and events that bring people to our city year after year.
But we are still nowhere near to being back in normal times.
The government’s relaxation of lockdown restrictions, meaning people can travel to spend time at their favourite places to visit, has had a real impact on popular tourist destinations like ours.
Because so many love coming to our city, this potentially puts people’s safety at risk and could undo all the work to prevent covid-19 spreading which was achieved during lockdown.
We know how busy the beaches get on sunny days and especially over the weekend and this made physical distancing impossible at times.
The council ran a poll on Twitter asking people how they felt when out and about over the weekend. 93 per cent of respondents said the city was busy over the weekend and over 62 per cent said they felt unsafe.
Some people told us they did not feel they could even go outdoors because of how unsafe they felt.
I’ve also had lots of residents write to me directly to express similar sentiments.
It’s incredibly upsetting to hear from people who live in the city, many of whom have no garden or balcony, that they can’t go to their local park or the seafront because they feel unsafe.
I’m calling on government to grant us more powers so that if there is evidence that the spread of infection is becoming uncontrolled we can consider responses including local lockdowns.
We need to be able to undertake the actions we feel best protect the people who live here – and we need to hear from government on this as a matter of urgency.
For the time being we ask for the continued support and co-operation of the general public to help protect our city.
Please do keep physically distancing when walking around outside or in shops, look out for one another and #staysafe.
Councillor Nancy Platts is the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council.
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