continues at a very low level in our area, and is being kept that way – so far – by people largely sticking very closely to precautions. The national picture is generally low level too, but with severe local flare-ups which force entire communities to go back into lockdown. A difficult winter is widely predicted because of the potential for flu symptoms to be confused with or aggravated by coronavirus – do get the flu jab when it’s available.
2. How are Godalming and Waverley coping?
See the town council website
For a comprehensive overview of the Godalming position. The high street pedestrianisation is largely seen to have worked well, though access for disabled people who normally rely on car drop-offs has been a challenge, and the times have been adjusted to give everyone the chance to access all the shops easily. The Community Store initiative (also on the website) has been a real success – please do contribute to their pickup points, and of course, don’t hesitate to use it yourself if you or your family get into difficulty.
The wider Waverley position is described here:
I think that we have a good deal to be proud of in the sensible way that people have been tackling the issue. We just need to be careful not to weary of precautions before a vaccine becomes available. At a borough-wide level, we’ve been trying to balance the need for enjoyable events with the need to put health first, and the council executive has rejected a general ban on events in favour of a nuanced approach, working with each event organiser individually to ensure that precautions are in place. Realistically it’s not easy for the police to break up a large event once it’s started if the organisation is sloppy, but there have been some really good public events which passed off without any problems.
The only serious issue has been at Frensham Ponds, where a surge in visitors during the heatwave got completely out of hand – the car park filled up and people double-parked illegally on the main road, social distancing was largely ignored and each day left a residue of huge mounds of litter, with booze bottles, discarded nappies, and other unwelcome waste left lying on the beach. Attempts by local council staff to persuade people to behave more sensible were greeted with abuse. As the Executive member responsible for enforcement I’ve authorised spot fines and brought in additional support from East Hampshire to reinforce our hard-pressed staff, and the position has now improved – but I’d still advise finding other less obvious beauty spots on really hot days.