Caroline Kerr, who was recently appointed head of Kingston Council, made a statement to residents about the importance of social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak.
The Liberal Democrat councillor opened her message on a positive note – a nod to the “heartening” ‘Clap for Our Carers’ event which took place across the borough.
Cllr Kerr emphasised the unity that was shown by residents on that night, but also went on to highlight concerns in Kingston regarding keeping away from others in public places.
Following Liz Green’s resignation last week after two years in charge, Kerr took up her position at a critical point in limiting the spread of the virus.
Kerr said that Sally Benatar, leader of the South West Command Unit in the Metropolitan Police, told her she was “concerned about people not keeping that two-metre distance when they are out exercising”.
If you’re out exercising this weekend please, please, please, keep your distance. Spoke to police borough commander, @MPSSallyBenatar and she agrees on absolute need for compliance on 2m distance rule. Just doing that saves lives. #SocialDistancing #StayAtHomeAndStaySafe
— Caroline Kerr (@CllrCarolineK) March 28, 2020
The Canbury councillor also mentioned the stretch of the towpath along the river from Surbiton to Kingston as a popular spot for locals at the moment.
However, it was pointed out on Twitter that Kerr mistakenly referred to the area as “Queen’s Parade” instead of “Queen’s Promenade”.
LibDem @CanburyLiberal rains on new Council Leader's "Parade". The criticism follows her referring to "Queen's Promenade" as "Queens Parade" in a video posted by Kingston Council yesterday on social media. https://t.co/O0StqkZ1Nw
— Surbiton Today (@SurbitonToday) March 28, 2020
“If you go out to exercise and you find that there are a lot of other people there, please could you do another route, and perhaps try to come back on other at a less popular time,” said Cllr Kerr.
“It’s a small thing but we do have to keep that two-metre distance.
“It’s probably the best thing that we can all do to ease the pressure on our NHS colleagues,” she said.
Following government advice about only going out when necessary, Kingston Council announced that all playgrounds and outdoor gyms are now closed.
The council has also begun to distribute emergency Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which will reach “over 100 vulnerable residents, staff and community organisations in the borough.”