‘Don’t be stupid’, says Sidmouth Town Council chair as lockdown eases

Ian Barlow is standing for Sidmouth Town Council. Picture: Ian Barlow

Ian Barlow is standing for Sidmouth Town Council. Picture: Ian Barlow - Credit: Archant

‘The message is, don’t be stupid’ - those are the words of Sidmouth Town Council’s chairman, following the Prime Minister’s announcement on the easing of lockdown measures.

Speaking to the Herald, Councillor Ian Barlow said: “We need to be clever and aware of what is happening around us and react to things as they happen. The message is, don’t be stupid.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has started to ease the lockdown measures that were put in place to combat the Covid-19 outbreak.

One of the changes means that people can now go out as many times as they like and as far as they like for exercise or for day trips. People can also now sit and sunbathe with household members.

Cllr Barlow said tourists and holidaymakers will eventually be able to return to Sidmouth, along with second homeowners, as the lockdown continues to ease.

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He added the council was doing everything it possibly could to prepare for this and find the right balance between getting the economy back on track and keeping everyone safe.

Cllr Barlow said: “Personally I think people will want to stop going abroad on holiday as much they do.

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“So, I think we will need to work out how we can deal with that and keep everyone safe, because we can’t stop them from coming.

“We need to find a sensible balance between locking ourselves up for the next 18 months and what we were before the outbreak, or more people will die from the economic backlash than the virus itself.

“We all need to be smart enough to see the risk and be willing to do what needs to be done to mitigate the risk – like not going to the seafront on days where you know it will be busy, instead go somewhere a little quieter. And be aware of stupid people.”

Cllr Barlow said the council had been working hard, doing everything it could to be ready for when the lockdown was lifted.

This included working with businesses and district councillors on plans to provide face masks, hand sanitizers, signage and many other things to keep residents safe while allowing the economy to survive.

He added they has also been looking at the town’s rebrand, social media and how it is advertised across the world.

As well as this, the council has been looking at starting the redevelopment of the skatepark and were in touch with Sport England, looking for a grant to make it the best it can possibly be.

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