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Town councillor urges public to continue following social distancing regulations in Sudbury as coronavirus lockdown begins to ease

A town councillor has warned that social distancing measures in Sudbury must continue to be obeyed as lockdown restrictions, which had been imposed to reduce the spread of coronavirus, are gradually lifted across the country.

During a meeting of Sudbury Town Council, which was hosted via an online video conference call on Tuesday, Oliver Forder stated that he had been left disappointed by a perceived lack of social distancing measures being adopted at Sudbury market.

“I have become a little concerned about the increasingly casual approach to social distancing, both by the employees, and, by their customers,” he said. “It’s nothing to do with anyone desperately trying to do things wrong, but I think it’s easy at the moment to become complacent.”

Pictured: Market Hill...PICTURE: Mecha Morton. (36391961)
Pictured: Market Hill...PICTURE: Mecha Morton. (36391961)

Highlighting the potential impact that a total disregard of the social distancing rules could pose, Cllr Forder said: “This is quite a dangerous situation when we are coming out of lockdown, and, there is a chance of a second spike, so I think it’s important to take it seriously,” he said, adding that he hoped the community would adopt a collective approach in a bid to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“Nobody, of course, wishes to be heavy handed in our town about enforcement. But I have a few suggestions about what we might do, which may, or may not, be right.”

Among his proposals, Cllr Forder suggested that market stallholders were reminded of their social responsibility in imposing the measures, while recommending that they wore face masks to coincide with the guidance set out by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Cllr Forder stated that, market traders who wore personal protective gear, such as face coverings, could help to set a positive example to the public.

“I think modelling this good behaviour will make it easier for customers to use masks,” said Cllr Forder.

Praising the collective efforts of the market traders for supporting the community, Cllr Forder added: “It’s been amazing how the market has continued to function during the crisis, he said. “It has been a real sign of solidarity; there’s a really friendly atmosphere which is really good to see and I would encourage everyone to go.”

In response, the town clerk, Ciaran Griffin, disagreed that social distancing rules had been flouted.

“My personal experience of the market is, actually, that, traders have been very good,” he said, adding: “We will try everything each week to make the market better and safer for our people.”

Concerned that a failure to comply with the social distancing rules had become a wider problem, Councillor Ellen Murphy said: “It’s all over Sudbury - it’s in the supermarkets and the shops, so, it’s not just relating to the market.”

Independent town councillor Steve Hall claimed that the problem appeared to have become more apparent after restrictions on the lockdown measures continued to be eased by the Government.

“It has been particularly more noticeable since there’s been more freedom,” he said, adding that he had witnessed multiple large gatherings outdoors across the town.