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The leader of Southend Council has said the town is open to visitors again and he is keen to encourage more people to make it their destination for a staycation.
Labour council leader Ian Gilbert’s comments show a complete reversal from the ‘don’t visit Southend’ message that the authority had put out during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It comes as the council sets its sights on how the town can recover from the “economic shock” the town has endured since the lockdown was implemented.
He said: “I am happy for people to visit Southend again, but they must respect the measures and guidance that is in place.
“We have seen Southend be voted a top destination for staycations and we always thought that with more people deciding against holidays abroad it might benefit our tourist economy and that certainly seems to be the case.
“We want people coming here for the day, but also coming to stay for a little bit longer.”
Cllr Gilbert admitted he does still have concerns about the virus returning but so far the number of infections in the town remain “relatively low” compared to other parts of the country.
He added: “Our public health team is monitoring all the data that is coming through the testing system and other channels extremely carefully. They check it day by day to spot if there are any signs there may be a further outbreak.
“We also have a frame work for taking action in place for if we were to spot a spike.
“At the moment the number of cases remains very low relative to other parts of the country, we just need vigilance to make sure it stays like that.”