'Pack it in': Praise for our council leader's blunt message to covid rule breakers

  Posted: 06.10.20 at 10:07 by Sam Petherick

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Every Friday for the past few months Richmond Council leader Gareth Roberts has put himself in front of the camera for the grim task of updating residents on Covid-19.

Sometimes this has involved reporting the death of residents to the deadly disease, and nearly every time it has involved Cllr Roberts repeating his message that people should wear a face mask, wash their hands and keep a social distance.

In his latest address, following a spike in coronavirus cases which has given Richmond the third highest infection rate in London, Mr Roberts had a blunt message for people who are not following those three key guidelines: pack it in.

The message went down well with many. Ilse Howard said: "What an excellent leader you have. Not afraid to speak out like it is. Good man."

Photographer Emma Durnford wrote on Twitter: "Well said yet still pedestrians and people in shops forget any #SocialDistancing. Hoping people will start (rather late in the day) to take it seriously. As you said #packitin!"

Tim Pemberton said: "You absolute legend! 'Please, pack it in!'. Said quite rightly with meaning!!"

'Please, pack it in' - Cllr Roberts

Priya Samuel said: "Well said Cllr R!"

But Wayne Wedgbury wanted to see the message directed more specifically. He said: "Before telling everyone to “pack it in” maybe we need to ascertain who are the positive cases.

"There must be data on the age profile. When you know who is actually to blame then full your boots and call them out - until then stop treating the sensible residents like children."

Cllr Roberts' message

The council leader was speaking after the largest single week's increase in Covid-19 cases in Richmond since the pandemic began.

Coronavirus cases in Richmond, London and the UK up to October 2

He said: “Of course we want to ensure that we don’t go into local lockdown. But what we have to be aware of is that the mood music coming out of London is that if one area of London goes into local lockdown, we all go into local lockdown. We need to avoid that if at all possible.

"Therefore, it is absolutely vital that we follow all the rules to avoid spreading the virus.

"We need to make sure that we are wearing a mask if we are travelling on public transport, in supermarkets, shops or similarly enclosed public spaces. And, of course, wear the mask properly, including over your nose.

"We also need to make sure we are washing our hands wherever possible and maintaining the social distance of at least two metres and observing the rule of six - no more than six people indoors or outdoors meeting at any one time.

"If you’re one of those people who think that these rules don’t apply to you, that you can go about your business as you have always done… now, you may not care about your own health, you may not care about your own job, but you are putting other people’s health at risk, you are putting other people’s jobs at risk.

“So please pack it in. Wear the mask, wash your hands and keep your social distance.

“It is absolutely vital that we all follow these rules because the increase of cases that we have seen over the last seven days is something that should be concerning all of us.”

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