An incredible response from Bristol people to the coronavirus crisis

April 02 2020
An incredible response from Bristol people to the coronavirus crisis

Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy writes for the Voice

I KNOW that it's been an incredibly unsettling few weeks for everyone in Bristol, as we face unprecedented changes in our daily lives to try and stop the spread of coronavirus. Of course, it's also had an effect on business at Westminster. Just before the pandemic hit, I’d led two debates in Westminster Hall – one on animal sentience and one on the caging of farm animals – as well as moving several important amendments to the Environment Bill.

Now of course, coronavirus has (understandably!) changed everything, with Parliamentary Business focussed on new measures to tackle the virus. Even in these challenging times, it's so important that we in Opposition continue to scrutinise the Government. Although my office is closed in line with Government guidelines, my team can still be contacted on or by phoning 0117 939 9901.

Even in the face of such drastic changes to our daily lives, it's been incredibly heartening to see the response of people in Bristol. We’ve seen organisations in the city come together to help tackle this crisis. Voscur are coordinating volunteers across Bristol. Quartet Community Foundation Quartet have set up the Coronavirus 2020 Response Fund to support the West of England’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Feeding Bristol are working on getting food out to those who need it. If you'd like to safely join people helping out across the city, you can go to the Can Do Bristol website to register.

I know from the many messages I’ve received that lots of you are understandably concerned about the financial implications of the virus. Bristol Council have some compiled useful links to the various Government announcements around financial support: you can find the page here.

Finally, I wanted to say something about the rules in place which tell us to stay inside other than for shopping for essentials, one form of exercise daily, medical or care providing needs or essential work travel. You can find the full guidance on social distancing here.

I appreciate that it's incredibly frustrating and difficult to be unable to see friends and family or go out in the normal way. But the announcement by the Prime Minister could not have been clearer. Minimising contact in this way is one of the strongest weapons in our armoury for tackling the virus. Some people will not be able to stay indoors – and essential workers like our brilliant NHS staff are doing an amazing job trying to keep us all safe. But if you do have a choice, by choosing to respect the rules, you are also choosing to save lives.