Flying Off The Shelves

Pictures of supermarket shelves in Brentwood emptied of toilet paper, pasta, tinned goods and hand sanitiser have been sent to me this week by constituents who are rightly baffled how the Government’s message of “wash your hands” has been interpreted by some as “stockpile now”.

The Prime Minister has made it clear there is no need for people to stockpile food and household goods and that the vast majority of us should continue to go about our daily business as usual. The Government will be supporting businesses and current advice suggests if you need to self isolate you should ask friends or neighbours to bring food to your house or shop online. 

As always, if you have elderly family, friends or neighbours, do what you can to check on them to make sure they have all they need. 

The key advice remains to wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds (two verses of Happy Birthday, Baby Shark or God Save The Queen should offer plenty of options) and to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if your hands are not clean. The latest NHS advice is available here: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

The effects of concerns about coronavirus have been blamed for the collapse of Flybe last week too. Flybe has been an important part of many people’s lives for many years, allowing families to travel more easily to visit far-flung friends and relatives across the UK. Flights from Southend were easily accessible for those of us living in this area, so I can appreciate concerns about the impact on connectivity for leisure and business passengers travelling from here.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are encouraging airlines to offer reduced rescue fares and the Secretary of State has written to rail and coach operators to ask them to assist Flybe passengers getting to their destination. Their full advice to passengers affected is here: https://www.caa.co.uk/News/Advice-to-UK-consumers-following-Flybe-entering-administration/        

As ever, let me know if there’s anything I can do to help on these - or any other issues.