COVID-19 Important Update to Town and Parish Councils

Important Update

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 25 March 2020



Volunteer Risk Assessment


During this phase of the response to the COVID19 the Borough / District Councils appreciate that formal bodies, volunteers and others will be engaged in activities that have no precedent and / or on an unprecedented scale.  

We are aware that many are concerned about safety, risk and liability.  In this respect, please find attached a generic risk assessment form, with associated assessment matrix, that you can tailor for most scenarios. 

You will appreciate that the Councils cannot accept liability for any activities that ensue following the use of our risk assessment template, but we can advise that in the circumstances a pragmatic and proportional approach is appropriate. 

Given the scale of the activities and the current focus of Council Officers we can’t, unfortunately, offer any further guidance.

Salcombe Harbour - Essential Travel

Salcombe Harbour

Further to our previous email regarding the current operational status of Salcombe Harbour Authority, including the restrictions we all face to maintain health and safety, we would like to clarify what is classified as a necessary journey or essential activity.

In line with Government Instructions, we support the following:

  1. Movements by commercial fishermen, whose actions are essential to maintain the food supply chain.
  2. Movements by those residents in isolated locations, who need to visit the harbour for essential shopping or medical supplies.

We do not believe it is appropriate to use the harbour for exercise or leisure purposes at this time.

There are many forms of exercise that are readily advised by the government that do not require having to go afloat. While we acknowledge that in this weather it may seem very appealing, it is not a necessary or essential action.

By indulging in this behaviour, members of the public also put our currently limited staff at further risk in the event of an emergency or if you require assistance.

We will be placing signage at various access/egress points around the harbour repeating our instruction. Those who do not comply with our instruction will be reported to the relevant authorities. If you believe you have an essential reason to be afloat please drop us an email.

These efforts are being made to maintain everyone’s health and safety. We look forward to getting back up and running to facilitate your enjoyment of the Salcombe-Kingsbridge Estuary when we are advised it is safe to do so. In the meantime, please follow the Government advice - Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.

A Message from Dartmoor NP

Dartmoor National Park

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 23 March 2020, you should not be travelling to Dartmoor National Park.

You should stay at home:

  • Only go outside for food, medical reasons or essential work
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

The Government have clarified that you should not be travelling to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or expecting to camp in the National Park, this is not allowed in vehicles or large tents.

Our car parks, toilets and visitor centres are now closed.

If you travel to visit the National Park you are putting the lives of our communities at risk and additional pressure on our health and other local services.

Government guidance is that you are allowed one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household.  You should do this from your home in the best way you can.

We look forward to welcoming you back when this pandemic is over. Until then we hope you understand our National Parks are living, working landscapes: the home to thousands of people and the factory floor for many farmers.  Please think of them and the pressure you can inadvertently place on local services.

A Message from the RNLI


Following the Government’s instruction as of 23 March for people to stay at home and avoid gathering outdoors, the RNLI has made the decision to immediately pause the roll out of lifeguard patrols onto beaches. This is to ensure lifeguards follow the Government’s instructions to limit contact between people and encourage the public to do the same. Our lifeboat stations remain on service.

Lifeguards work and train in groups, which makes keeping the requirement to remain two metres apart difficult and the nature of their work with the public puts them – and beach visitors – at risk of close contact. Also, their usual activity includes encouraging people to visit patrolled beaches and swim in certain areas – this activity would go against the Government’s clear instruction for people to stay at home, maintain social distancing and not gather in groups.

The roll out of RNLI lifeguards to 47 additional beaches that were due to start patrols this weekend and over the Easter period will be postponed until further notice.

This decision will affect approximately 390 trained lifeguards who were ready to patrol beaches in the next few weeks and we will be working with them to understand what this means for them. We hope that once the current situation changes, and Government guidance allows, we will be able to re-establish the lifeguard service and employ those lifeguards onto the beaches but it is too early to know when that might be.

With the situation changing regularly, we will continue to review the roll out of lifeguard beaches as the season continues with the aim of restoring services when possible. In the meantime, we are working with beach owners to inform the public that lifeguards will not be patrolling and have the following safety advice:

  • Take care if walking near cliffs - know your route and your limitations
  • Check the weather forecast and tide times
  • If going afloat, carry a means for calling for help and always wear a lifejacket
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float
  • In any coastal emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard