We know many of our residents and businesses are taking necessary precautions and making all the necessary sacrifices to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) – thank you. We are also aware that there are a few people who are choosing to not follow the guidance on staying at home and social distancing and we strongly urge everyone to play their part.

Government guidance states we should all – unless we are keyworkers – be staying at home. Unless we are self-isolating or a vulnerable group we can still leave the house for essential groceries and to get important exercise. When we leave the house we must maintain a distance of at least two metres (approximately six feet) from others who are not from your household. Public Health England and the NHS explain coronavirus as a respiratory virus which is thought to be transferred by the inhalation or ingestion of particles from an infected person, including those spread by coughing or sneezing.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Caroline Reeves says:

“The safety and health of our residents and businesses are our top priority. These are uncertain times, becoming more challenging by the day, but I want to reassure people that we are doing all we can to ensure we continue to deliver essential services, and support our communities as best we can. We are here as your local authority, and I am confident we will get through this by working together.

“We need you all to play your part too. Keep handwashing for at least 20 seconds and do so regularly. Please make sure you follow the guidance and don’t meet in groups to socialise with people outside your household. We understand how difficult this is, especially for children and teenagers who from today are no longer at school, College and University. But if we do not stick to the guidance the virus will spread more quickly, putting our vulnerable groups at further risk and greater pressure on the NHS. We have today taken the sad but necessary decision to close all playgrounds in the borough, but our parks and countryside sites remain open for use. Please use them and stay two metres from others."

She said: “The community spirit that we have seen is overwhelming and heart-warming. I’ve been overjoyed to see how people are already pulling together and offering help, and I give heart-felt thanks to everybody for the assistance they are offering. Please do this in a safe and coordinated way without putting yourself or others at risk – Voluntary Action South West Surrey are coordinating, so please contact them. Also continue to think of those less able and more vulnerable than ourselves first, particularly when buying food.

“I urge everybody to follow only trusted sources for the latest information, such as the NHS website. Our own website and social media pages will also be regularly updated with essential information and details of any changes to our services.”

Carol Dunnett, Chief Officer for Voluntary Action South West Surrey, says: "We are incredibly pleased to see the compassion shown already in Guildford with people rallying offers of help for groups that due to the outbreak might now be isolated and at risk. If you or anyone you know would like help or need help or know someone who would benefit from help - please get in touch. We also have the skills and experience to advise groups on how to offer safe and coordinated help for example getting Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) criminal record checks."

She added: "Please do be aware that every offer of help is valuable. We currently have more offers of help than we have those to help but this changing every day. Please bear with us if we aren’t able to connect you with others who need help immediately. This is a marathon rather than a sprint, please rest assured we will coordinate as soon as those in need are all identified and will be in touch."