ON HOLD: Civic Sunday falls victim to Covid
Record Covid cases in Solihull saw plans for a procession of up to 250 people – including frontline NHS staff – put on hold.
The council had postponed the weekend’s Civic Sunday event, which would have seen a selection of honoured guests join a parade to St Alphege Church.
This year the troupe of local dignitaries would have walked alongside a group of health and social care workers in recognition of their “contributions and sacrifices” during the pandemic.
It had also been intended to follow Sunday’s event with a reception and short ceremony at the Council House, to make-up for the fact that Covid restrictions had prevented this during May’s annual Mayor-making meeting.
But with the borough now among the country’s coronavirus hotspots, organisers had agreed it was too risky to go ahead.
The council confirmed that a decision had been taken following discussions between the mayor, the council’s chief executive, Nick Page, and director of public health Ruth Tennant.
A spokeswoman said: “It hoped that it will be able to go ahead later this year.”
In a statement posted on social media in the run-up, Mayor of Solihull, Cllr Ken Meeson, had said that despite the lifting of legal restrictions on large events the local situation had weighed on the decision.
“In the circumstances I have agreed that we should postpone Civic Sunday in the hope that there will be happier and safer opportunities to reschedule later in the year,” he said.
“I recognise that this decision will be disappointing for so many people and am sorry for any inconvenience this short notice may cause, but we must put safety and well-being as our first consideration.”
High rates of Covid have meant that last week’s unlocking has not ushered in the rapid return to normality some may have hoped for when the government published its roadmap back in February.
The council-run Core theatre has confirmed in recent days that an outdoor theatre show in Brueton Park had been postponed after a member of the cast tested positive.
The live performance of Mr Stink, based on the David Walliams book of the same name, has now been rescheduled until late August.
Although other events, such as a post-lockdown community picnic in Kingshurst, have gone ahead following last week’s easing of restrictions.
To help organisers plan, the council has issued guidance for groups who are planning activities in the days and weeks ahead.
Advice includes carrying out a Covid risk assessment, providing hand sanitiser at exits and entrances, encouraging rapid turnaround tests for staff and attendees and using social distancing measures at “pinch points”.
Words: David Irwin, Local Democracy Reporter
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