Give space, keep safe
Coronavirus has been the single most life changing event our city has had to face in peace time. Our communities, friends and families have all been affected in some way and for those who have lost loved ones, sadness will forever be its legacy.
Lockdown measures have undoubtedly saved lives, protected NHS workers and prevented our health services from becoming overwhelmed but as measures are eased we are now working to support the city reopen safely.
Although the government is constantly reviewing its guidance, the need for physical distancing remains and, currently, the advice is still that we all need to stay 2 metres apart when we’re outside our homes.
Physical distancing is guidance and not regulation. The emphasis is on individuals to take personal responsibility for following government guidance and we do not have any powers to enforce it.
Our combined actions have helped to reduce the transmission of Covid-19 and it is now up to us all to continue to behave responsibly and respectfully in public places if we’re to keep the virus at bay. It is still early days.
From 1 June outdoor markets have begun trading and from Monday 15 June more retail outlets can reopen.
We’re introducing a range of measures to support our city businesses, including widening pavements, closing roads and installing signage. Our trading standards team has also written to retailers to remind them of their duty to help protect public safety and to minimise the spread of Covid-19.
Like many organisations in the city, the council is operating some of its usual services with less staff and we are adapting to meet the needs of a very new and changing environment. Not everything will be as it was before, straightaway. Planning ahead before we travel, allowing more time for journeys and daily tasks, such as shopping and doing the school run will be the new normal for now.
The majority of the city’s restaurants and bars are closed and those that are open, are only permitted to offer a take-away service. This means they are not allowed to open their usual toilet and washroom facilities. Consequently, at the moment, there are far fewer toilet facilities available in the city.
We are opening as many public toilets as we can and installing additional facilities where possible - such as on the seafront, where we know there is already a high demand. But this costs a significant amount of money and we have limited resources.
When you travel into the city, please consider what facilities you need and check to see what is open and where.
Travel and transport
During lockdown we closed some roads, extended cycle lanes and footways and put measures in place to make more space available for residents to exercise close to their homes. Some of these measures are still in place and as a result, some of our carparking in the central and seafront areas, including Madeira Drive, is not available.
We have committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and we will continue to review how we travel into and around the city in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve this target.
From 15 June many of our schools will be open and there will be more children walking and using cycle lanes to travel to school. Please watch your speed on the roads and take note of new road layouts. Cyclists should slow down and use their bells when riding in shared spaces.
Please be mindful of people with mobility issues or visual impairments. Some people will struggle to manage physical distancing and many disabilities are hidden. Keep your distance to make it easier for everyone to get out and about.
The city’s BTN BikeShare scheme is still operating, with a team carrying our extra cleaning of bikes and hubs. With more than 600 bikes available to hire, the scheme is one of the most popular methods for travelling around the city.
Since the government changed its guidance to allow people to travel as far as they like for leisure, we have experienced problems with overcrowding on an area of beach closest to the city centre, between East Street and West Street. At times we have had to employ stewards to manage crowds, asking people to move to less crowded areas and when necessary, we have restricted access to the beach.
Brighton & Hove has 12km of beach for us all to share. If you see the beach is crowded, please move along to a less busy part.
Our usual lifeguard service is not in operation at the moment. A limited service, adapted to take into account the Covid-19 restrictions, will begin on 13 June and run until 6 September.
If you’re going into the sea, please take extra care. The current is strong and the water is not as warm as it looks.
People who behave irresponsibly on the beach put themselves and our Seafront Team at risk.
We are Brighton & Hove
In Brighton & Hove, we’ve seen key workers across all sectors rise to the challenge of keeping vital services running to protect residents.
The resilience and kindness of people who have volunteered to help others has been incredible to see. Whether shopping for vulnerable neighbours, delivering food parcels, picking up prescriptions and even providing online entertainment, the efforts that people are continuing to make have made me even prouder to belong to this creative and compassionate city.
More kindness, consideration and patience will all be key through our recovery process and as we move forward together to build a stronger, safer city.
Councillor Nancy Platts
Leader of the Council