Leader's concern at Essex County proposal to escalate COVID-19 restrictions

13 October 2020

Thurrock Council Leader, Councillor Rob Gledhill, has criticised Essex County Council's request to the Secretary of State for Health that they be put into a higher local COVID-19 alert category immediately.

Their actions could have far reaching implications for Thurrock's businesses and residents, who may also be forced into the higher category of restriction because of this request despite the fact that Thurrock has the 126th lowest rate of infection out of 149 local authorities nationwide.

Cllr Gledhill said: "I cannot believe that Essex County Council would make this proposal without appearing to fully consider the evidence of the impact of further restrictions it potentially also imposes on the people of Thurrock. The simple facts are the government have announced we are in Tier 1 – Medium alert, we have a far lower number of infections than most Essex districts and councils in the country, fortunately we have very few of our residents in hospital and even more fortunately we have had no residents die of COVID-19 since the middle of July.

“I have voiced my opposition to Thurrock being included in any voluntary increase in restrictions at the highest levels having spoken directly with Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health on Sunday and Public Health England East yesterday. Any decision on further lockdown restrictions must be balanced against the harm this action would have on the wellbeing of our residents and businesses and I am sorry the data as of today just doesn’t support a call for more restrictions being imposed on Thurrock residents and I am certainly not going to impose them voluntarily.

"Whilst we are not being complacent and continue to monitor the data, Thurrock has a comprehensive plan in place to help control the rate of infection in Thurrock, this was praised by Public Health England East. We want to ensure that local public health decisions concerning our residents are made by Thurrock Council alone not imposed because of the issues elsewhere."