Dear residents, businesses and local communities
I am writing this open letter to you as we enter unprecedented times for the world, the UK and for us all here in the East Riding.
With the continuing escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the UK Government has moved into the “delay” phase of its response, I want to assure you that East Riding of Yorkshire Council will do all we possibly can to support our local communities.
I also want to urge everyone across the East Riding to show community spirit so that together we will get through this.
Thousands of us may be facing the prospect of physical social isolation but that does not mean that we cannot stand together in the spirit in the face of this public health crisis.
Irrespective of our political persuasion, our religion, our race, our personal values and opinions, we need to put any and all differences aside and think of the common good – whether it’s refusing to panic buy at the shops, ensuring elderly and vulnerable neighbours are ok through regular phone calls or responding to any calls for voluntary help.
We need to be resilient but we also need to be mindful and considerate of others at all times. Please remember, quite simply, we have a common purpose, to get through COVID-19, individually, collectively, together.
We touch people’s lives in so many ways, every day of the year – from collecting bins, running libraries and repairing potholes to looking after the elderly, providing jobs and supporting tourism.
These are just a few of the 600-plus public services we provide, to try to make the East Riding the best possible place to live, work, visit and invest in.
We always try to do our very best. Our best for the East Riding. Our best for residents. Our best for businesses. Our best for local communities. Our best for the East Riding economy. Our best for the environment. Our best for children and young people. And our best to protect our most vulnerable members of society.
And we pledge to do our utmost to keep providing the best possible public services for you.
However, in all likelihood, it’s going to be tough and we want you to know that we may need to prioritise our resources – in the days, weeks and months to come – where they are needed the most.
The council, like any other organisation, is very likely to be hit hard by staff absences and other issues which may impact on our ability to deliver services.
We are also likely to be affected by the impact of COVID-19 on other organisations.
We may need to redeploy staff and other resources into the most essential and high-priority services so that, for example, we can give as much support as possible to vulnerable residents.
Please bear with us during the testing times ahead. Our services are operating as normal currently but that could change at any point. We will let you know as soon as possible as and when any services are impacted but we will do all we can to keep things going.
The council has been extensively planning our response to COVID-19 and staff have put enormous amounts of time and effort into preparing for various contingencies.
This dedication will continue through whatever the next few months bring as we journey into the unknown.
Please rest assured that council staff will keep calm and professional and will go about their work with dedication and commitment despite the obstacles COVID-19 may throw at us.
Staff are willing and prepared to carry out alternative duties to their normal roles to help the East Riding through this and I can tell you with a massive amount of pride that they will do whatever they can to support our local communities.
The council is constantly monitoring the rapidly-evolving global, national, regional and local situation and will continue to follow Government and Public Health England advice.
I urge you all to do the same, especially when it comes to handwashing and other health and hygiene guidance, to reduce the risk of spreading the virus and to keep as many of us as possible healthy and well.
Our response will be proportionate and flexible and it will be based on evidence, led by our Public Health experts and supported by the wide range of professions in our workforce.
I am sure our staff will remain positive and display a can-do attitude and public spirit by the bucket-load.
The 24/7 news and social media coverage and speculation can be scary but with some Yorkshire grit and determination, and a public spirit which is second to none, we can rally round and come together to get through this challenge.
We will provide updates to keep you informed of changes to any services and other actions and please accept that any decisions will always be taken with the health and wellbeing of our residents and our employees as an absolute priority.
On behalf of everyone at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, I send you sincere best wishes to remain healthy and thank you for your support.