The chairman of Maldon District Council is reflecting on the recent tough times in his latest column.

Councillor Mark Heard said everyone is 'suffering' at the moment but the council continue to work to support the district.

He said: "I recently hand-delivered a birthday card locally and met a previous neighbour with whom I usually stop and have a chat with and generally pass the time of day.

"I was worried that they may think I was infectious, so I gave him plenty of room and mumbled “Oh just delivering a birthday card” before scurrying out of his way even though I think he wanted to talk further.

"I felt bad afterwards because I could have crossed the road and had a brief but distant conversation with him, but this disease made me think I should keep HIM safe by getting away as soon as possible. I dwelt on this for a few days resolving to explain my actions next time we met.

"We can still be safe and polite but please remember, some people’s apparent brusqueness means they are trying to protect YOU.

"As these tough times continue, we all are suffering difficulties, loneliness, stress and in some cases very personal losses; it has touched all of us … and Maldon District Council staff, members, associated workers and partners are no exception. They are all trying their hardest to support the organisation, even with their own worries and issues.

"We continue to help and support our fantastic medical services to continue with those life-saving vaccine injections and although the operation is primarily NHS, this can sometimes have an impact on our other ‘normal’ council services - but we DO want to support our medical staff and help keep everyone safe.

"So, if something goes wrong or is not what you expected - please spare a thought for the person taking your complaint call because behind the smile and the politeness, there may be a strain or issue that you can’t always see.

"The Directors of the Council and staff really are working flat out to keep businesses supported, ensure compliance with the restrictions, identify new treatment sites and test sites, as well as maintaining the services we all generally take for granted.

"I can see the pressure on the faces of everyone working so hard who appear on our news channels speaking about staff sickness, staff shortages and self-isolations and if you translate that locally, to our community engagement advisors, refuse collectors, and front-line staff who are all working to capacity - and more - it would be appreciated.

"At the time of writing Maldon District is showing almost 1000 people infected in every 100,000 so the best thing you can do to protect yourself and the NHS is to stay indoors – and if you can’t, assume and act as though everyone else you come across HAS the infection and you will stay safe."

Take Care.

Cllr Mark S. Heard

Chairman of Maldon District Council