Although not a large county, Dorset is very diverse.

Within it we have three harbours as well as many areas of open water where people sail yachts, dive, fish, swim, use surf boards, paddle boards, kites and kayaks. We have a number of country parks large and small, miles of public footpaths and bridleways.

In late February/early March Dorset County staff were preparing for the new season, preparing not only for our residents but for thousands of visitors. The government announced 'lock down'. No prior knowledge was provided to local government and yet we were expected to have everything in place to manage this overnight. Indeed, often information reached local authorities at the same time as the general public via TV announcements. Although we were aware the PM was planning to ease lock down we had no more idea of what form that would take than the general public again via a public announcement and on a Sunday evening.

Despite that we were expected to be open for business on Monday morning. Without proper safety precautions how could we allow people to swim, children play, boats in the water willy nilly.

Dorset Council staff have gone above and beyond in recent weeks and months and continue to do so. It is their job (and mine as your elected representative) to provide services for and to you, to keep you safe and secure and within the law. Some things take a little while to reopen. We really are doing are best and we are trying to keep you as informed as we can. I hope you will join me in thanking all those people who are working so hard on our behalf.

Cllr Kate Wheller

Dorset Council