Observer column: 24 July 2020
It's been a difficult time for parents and children throughout this pandemic and now the school summer holidays will bring additional challenges, not least that of childcare for working parents who can't work from home. For those of us looking for ways to keep our children, grandchildren or nieces and nephews occupied safely there is still plenty to do though. We have many beautiful open spaces in and around our town where social distancing is possible, and children can be free to run and play. All our playgrounds are open with guidance for safe use clearly visible.
Our Active Hastings team have been running digital fitness classes and activities ever since we went into lockdown, and they will be continuing these throughout the summer. We are excited to say that the team are starting to run free outdoor activities for children again, through 'Street Bites on Tour'. Social distancing guidelines will be met, and the activities will be following COVID-secure guidelines. You can find out more about this on our website.
Hastings Museum and Art Gallery have done an incredible job of creating #HastingsDigitalMuseum during the pandemic, and they will be continuing to provide all their daily digital resources and activities throughout the summer. If you're looking for some fun creative and educational things to do, then go to the HMAG Facebook page and see what they're up to.
If you have lived in or around Hastings, then you'll know that the time for Hastings Old Town week including the carnival is nearly here but this year it will be happening virtually. The carnival theme is 'Stories for Children' and it will take place on August 8th. There's plenty of time to join in the fun so check out their website and Facebook page to find out how.
When the weather is good many of us head to the beach and we are pleased that we now have RNLI lifeguards on our beach in St Leonards, as well as at Pelham. Last weekend on the first day the RNLI were back at St Leonards, one of the lifeguards rescued a struggling swimmer. We are incredibly grateful to them for helping to keep us safe and if you go swimming remember you are safest on the beaches where there are lifeguards.
Thinking about safety you may have heard that a mobile testing unit was set up at the Stade last weekend. This was organised by Public Health through the Local Resilience Forum and run by the military. These units have been designed to be used in town centre areas to enable people to have access to local testing. The government has made clear the importance of testing in the ongoing fight to contain and control the spread of the coronavirus.
We understand that approximately 140 people used the facility in Hastings and of those just two tested positive (of those processed so far.) Most of the people who were tested, many of whom were key workers, have been reassured about their health status and can safely return to work and their lives. A small number have had it confirmed that they need to continue to self-isolate and take actions to reduce the spread of the virus.
The council recognises that the testing system is here to stay, the important public health role it plays, and will continue to support it. With partners, we will continue to look for sites for the pop-up testing unit to be hosted in the town as needed.
Please continue to shop locally and support our shops, businesses and venues as we continue our road to recovery. We must still be very careful and keep social distancing of 2m where possible, wash our hands regularly, and wear a face covering when social distancing may be difficult. The wearing of a face covering on public transport is compulsory and now we must all wear one in shops as well. Let's make a big effort to obey the law and be kind to our shopworkers who will be helping to ensure we are safe.
Council Leader's column