Observer column: 6 August 2021
It's hard to believe that we are now well into August and the summer season will soon be over. We've now had quite a few events in the town, including Old Town Week. While things haven't been able to be quite as they were before the pandemic, it has been good to see people enjoying themselves again.
Cases of COVID-19 are still high in Hastings, and we all need to remember that the virus has not gone away. Everyone can now have their vaccine to help protect against the spread. Sessions are still available at the Hastings Centre through the national booking line - 119, or through the NHS website, or, this week, just turn up. If you've had your first vaccine, please make sure you get your second dose. This can be done eight weeks after your first. Both doses will give you the best protection against COVID-19.
Please let any friends or family who haven't had their vaccines know how they can book. Free travel is available if they can't get there. Book your appointment first and then call the travel coordinator line Monday to Friday 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm on 01444 275008.
It is also important to get tested if you have symptoms. There is a mobile testing unit at The St Leonards Academy for August. You must book, either online at gov.uk/book-a-coronavirus-test or by phoning 119. If you test positive there is support available if you need it. Visit the COVID-19 section of the council website for more details. Self-isolating even if you feel well could stop you making friends or family unwell.
I would encourage everyone to continue wearing face coverings when you are out and about, especially when inside or on public transport. This is something simple we can all do to help keep everyone safe. As a reminder, you will be required to wear a face covering in all council buildings, to keep other visitors and our staff safe.
With the summer holidays underway I know lots of you will be looking for things to do with the children or grandchildren. Don't forget to check the Visit 1066 website for local ideas for days out and activities. Hastings Museum and Art Gallery has received excellent reviews since it reopened earlier in the year. Tickets are free and can be booked online at www.hmag.org.uk. Active Hastings are also running free sessions that are available without booking. Visit the council website to find out more.
Hastings is due to receive £229,000 in Welcome Back Funding. This is to support our pandemic recovery and encourage people back into the town safely. Following discussions with business leaders across the town, we will be using this funding for events across Hastings' main shopping areas when the town is usually less busy in autumn, winter and spring. We will also be upgrading the public Wi-Fi networks to provide better connection for residents and visitors in town.
We are continuing to work closely with Southern Water and the Environment Agency to ensure that the beach, beach huts and other affected areas at Bulverhythe are completely reinstated after the sewage pipe leak at the end of last month.
Council Leader's column