‘We are in the midst of a pandemic – we need to keep fighting against Covid-19’. That’s the message from West Yorkshire’s Local Resilience Forum for anyone thinking of protesting.
Speaking in reaction to protests seen in London and Bristol, they urged residents to continue respecting the lockdown restrictions to ensure infection rates don’t rise again.
Robin Tuddenham, co-Chair of West Yorkshire Prepared and Chief Executive of Calderdale Council warned that too much public mixing could jeopardise the progress made, and delay the process of reopening.
“The roadmap out of lockdown has started rolling out, but it’s vital we all remember we are still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. With rates of infection in the region remaining high compared to the rest of the country, it is very much dependent on all of us to keep working hard and pulling in the same direction to reduce the risk of the rate of infection creeping back up,” he said. “We are urging everyone to continue following the guidelines – stay at home unless for an essential reason, social distance with anyone not in your household and wear a mask wherever necessary.”
The UK is currently in the process of emerging cautiously from lockdown. The next step is due to start next Monday with people being allowed to socially mix outdoors in groups of up to six people, or two households.
However, they will be strongly advised to stay home where possible to minimise the risk of infection.
The right to protest has been front and centre of the national consciousness after the break up of the Sarah Everard vigil in London. It was followed by a large march against lockdown and violent scenes in Bristol after protestors against the Government’s controversial Police Bill. Protests have not been shown to definitively cause spikes in the past, but they remain controversial at a time when we are all supposed to be staying home.
“Peaceful protests in the region will be supported, but violence towards anyone is never acceptable,” said Dave Walton, Co Chair of West Yorkshire Prepared and Deputy Chief of West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service.. “As an LRF, we know our emergency services, local authorities and numerous other agencies and organisations are ready to act and will continue to work together to keep our communities safe – but we also need your help in order for us to do that.”