Message for Hounslow’s Businesses from Kelly O’Neill, Director of Public Health, regarding urgent need for closure of premises

Businesses of Hounslow

You should be aware of the direction given by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday (21 March 2020) that restaurants, cafes, pubs, gyms, leisure centres, nightclubs, theatres, museums and cinemas should now be closed until further notice. This is because of the need for increased social distancing measures to protect the health, wellbeing and lives of our residents as we try to reduce the speed of the spread and impact of coronavirus. This is a national crisis and this closure allows us all to protect ourselves, our families and friends and our customers. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that catching this virus can be fatal, and is particularly dangerous for older people, those with a long-term health condition, and pregnant women.

Whilst many of you have taken notice and been responsible in closing your premises, it is increasingly apparent that the Government’s direction has not been applied across all businesses in the categories listed above, and other businesses are not properly considering the need for social distancing measures. These measures are in place for a reason and the ability for us to socially distance ourselves will have significant impact. However, it needs to happen immediately, as this graphic demonstrates.
As Director of Public Health for the Borough of Hounslow I am responsible for ensuring that the health and wellbeing of our residents is protected and not unnecessarily put at risk by lack of responsible action.

I am writing to ask that you recognise that unless you close as instructed you will be significantly increasing the risk of infection across our community, particularly vulnerable people, pregnant women, older people and those with medical conditions. Those business owners in these categories who continue to open their premises to people are putting lives at risk. If we allow the spread of coronavirus to be rapid the reality is that we overload NHS services and their ability to protect those we care about from this virus, as well as other injuries or conditions. This puts everyone’s risk at life.

Challenging times call for tough words and I make no excuse for the directness of this message. We each have responsibility to act in the best interests of our families and communities and help protect the health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable residents. We should not put them at avoidable risk. 

Yours faithfully
Kelly O’Neill 
Hounslow Chamber of Commerce is the primary support, networking, and representation organisation in west London for SMEs.

We support the interests, the commercial aspirations and the investment for some 18,000 firms - from Chiswick to Feltham, Heathrow to Osterley and Brentford to Bedfont - the Chamber is the voice for all businesses located in the borough.