Even though it’s not what any of us would have wanted, I think the new national lockdown is the right step. Unfortunately, if we don’t act now, additional Covid admissions could overwhelm local health and care systems. I’d like to remind everyone that you are not alone - your council is here to help and we have plenty of support available.

In South Gloucestershire we are seeing an increase in Covid-19 cases, with most of these being in the community. As of 1 November, the latest reported rate of infection in South Gloucestershire was 250 per 100,000 people locally, with 715 new cases confirmed in the previous seven days*.

We must help protect our community and our health services so the system can cope and care for those in greatest need.

Throughout the pandemic, we have worked with partners and our local communities to help contain the virus. Having closely considered our data and likely future projections, along with the pressure faced by the local NHS system, we had already started discussions to move into Tier 2.

Now, though, the new national lockdown is the right decision. The rules, which came into force on Thursday (5 November), are:

Gyms must close, pubs and restaurants can only offer takeaway, drive-through or deliveries, and non-essential shops must only provide online or click and collect services.

You will not be able to leave or be outside of your home except for specific purposes. These include:

• For childcare or education, where this is not provided online

• For work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home (including if your job involves working in other people’s homes)

• To exercise outdoors or visit an outdoor public place - with the people you live with, with your support bubble or, when on your own, with one person from another household (children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside)

• For any medical concerns, reasons, appointments and emergencies, or to avoid or escape risk of injury or harm - such as domestic abuse

• Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which should be as infrequent as possible

• To visit members of your support bubble or provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer.

It’s very important for children and young people to continue to attend schools, colleges and universities. This supports their wellbeing and education and helps working parents and guardians. Schools in South Gloucestershire have implemented a range of protective measures to make them safe.

This winter will be undeniably tough. But I’m very proud that South Gloucestershire’s communities pulled together before to support each other. I know we can all do so again.

*Data taken from beta.southglos.gov.uk/covid-19-dashboard-for-south-gloucestershire