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Coronavirus live updates, March 23 2020: Rees urges Bristolians to stay at home

By bristol247, Monday Mar 23, 2020

The start of a new week sees most children beginning to be home-schooled amid increasing calls for a UK-wide lockdown.

Scroll down for our latest live updates:


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That’s the end of our live blog for today. See you tomorrow morning.

Here is a summary of today’s developments:

  • All parks and parks facilities across Bristol are now closed.
  • NHS staff can now use Trenchard Street car park for free.
  • A one-way system for pedestrians is now operating on the Clifton Suspension Bridge’s footways.
  • British travellers have been urged to return home immediately.
  • Prime minister Boris Johnson is set to address the nation at 8.30pm.

All of Bristol’s parks have now closed – photo: Bristol City Council

The city council needs help to find 450 beds for homeless people and those who are rough sleeping. If you can help, please email

Parks across Bristol are now closed.

Engine Shed head, Marty Reid, writes in a blog that “now is the time to test genuine collaboration”.

He said: “Engine Shed is an institution which revolves around ‘creative collisions’ of people working together, in our Members’ Lounge or at the tea point in the SETsquared offices, so it wasn’t an easy day for the team.

“It was also daunting to realise that, more broadly, we need to completely rethink how we engage as a business ecosystem to maintain the great network of support that we’ve built together (Bristol has more meetups per head than any other major UK city, with many of them spanning multiple sectors).

“It’s going to require a change in culture, a willingness to do things differently, to make mistakes along the way, and cash is going to be tight…but those conditions will be familiar to all the amazing startups and community organisations that have made the ecosystem strong in the first place.

“We speak a lot about how it is genuine collaboration that drives our region and now is the time to really test and express that. If you’ve found a great avenue of support or new way of working, please pro-actively reach out and share the experience.”

North Bristol Foodbank urgently needs more items as demand is increasingly rapidly. For more information, visit

Swimming in the docks by the Cascade Steps isn’t quite the social distancing measures the government had in mind.

While the Clifton Suspension Bridge remains open, there is now a one-way system operating on the footways so that pedestrians can maintain the recommended distance of two metres from each other.

“We ask that runners do not overtake others on the bridge for the health and wellbeing of all of our users,” said a statement.

“Finally, we request that the bridge is used primarily as a commuter route rather than a destination during this period. Please stay local, and come to enjoy the views once we have fully reopened.”

This Google map shows Bristol independent businesses who are delivering food and drink.

Otomi could be your answer if you are looking for gluten-free products:

“The best place on earth is your own house.”

Even with live music cancelled, Bristol’s most famous gig-goer is still getting his fix thanks to live-streaming.

Trenchard Street car park has been made free to NHS staff. Many residents in Cotham and Redland are also donating their visitors permits to NHS workers at the BRI and St Michael’s Hospital.

Adult colouring inspiration from Bristol artist Rich T:

Looking for some creative learning resources for your children? Head to the SS Great Britain website:

Bristol filmmaker Ciara Hillyer has made a new video in the hope that people realise the severity of the coronavirus pandemic:

A fundraising page has been set up to raise money for Above & Beyond, supporting Bristol’s city centre hospitals, and Southmead Hospital Charity. Donate here.

“They are best placed to safely and appropriately distribute treats, gifts and well being centred packages to all the amazing NHS workers who are seeing us through this really tough time.,” said Anna Rath.

“We want to TOTALLY LOVE BOMB them so they can’t help but feel the weight of our love and gratitude.”

A Facebook Q&A this evening will share information on how people can volunteer in Bristol.

How are you going to remain active while staying at home? One Bristol fitness instructor recommends taking regular dance breaks.

Bristol Port continues to handle millions of tonnes of cargo critical to how the UK functions; everything from maintaining the food supply chain through handling animal feed for almost all livestock in southern England, to the containers that bring in thousands of different commodities, to the wood pulp that makes millions of toilet rolls.

Costa has now closed all its stores across the UK.

You should only send your child to school today if you have to, “because your work is critical to our COVID-19 response,” says health secretary, Gavin Williamson. “If you are able to keep your child at home, you should.”

Government guidelines remains to limit social contact for everybody leaving home, with Bristol mayor Marvin Rees urging those in the city to follow this advice.

In the latest news:

  • As of Saturday, 20 people in Bristol have been reported to have coronavirus.
  • Pubs, clubs, gyms, cinemas and theatres should now have all closed, and restaurants and cafes should only be providing takeaway or delivery.
  • At 6.30pm on Monday, a Q&A session about how to volunteer during the pandemic will take place on the Bristol City Council Facebook page.

Main photo by Martin Booth

Read more: Marvin Rees: ‘Stay home and save lives’

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