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Campaigning in the light of the COVID-19 virus

March 13, 2020 3:01 PM
By Cllr Dave McCobb, Deputy Director of Elections, Liberal Democrats

genericA lot of members have asked us for advice about campaigning in the light of the COVID-19 virus. This is our current advice. This may alter if Government and professional guidance changes, at which point we will issue new guidance.

DO - Keep Campaigning

Our current advice is that we should keep campaigning the normal ways that Liberal Democrats campaign, including delivering leaflets and knocking on doors.

DO - Take Sensible Precautions

When campaigning you should take the same sensible precautions that we are all being asked to take in our everyday life:

  • Hygiene - washing our hands more regularly, including before and after canvassing and delivery
  • Social distancing - including not shaking hands, and where appropriate arranging a meeting point for activists that is outside (by a car or local landmark), rather than inside a member's house
  • .Nobody should go out campaigning if they feel unwell or have good reason to self-isolate.
  • Do think about if some activities should be done differently, e.g. clerical events, and that venues used where members and helpers gather have hand-washing facilities

DO - Reassure Activists

Communicate this advice to our activists and to our delivery network volunteers. Reassure them that we are monitoring the situation and we will stop types of campaigning should the guidance say that we should. Tell activists and volunteers that they should not campaign if they feel unwell or have good reason to self-isolate.

DO - Take action as a Councillor

Those of us who are councillors can use the opportunities we have to ensure that our local authorities are taking the correct steps to protect residents. We will be doing this anyway in the many places where we are running the Council.

DO - Take action as a community activist

We are respected community activists and sources of local information. We will have opportunities such as our email lists and social media channels to communicate with local residents. (Given this is a fast-changing situation, it is probably best not to use printed leaflets for this.)

Encourage residents to look after themselves and their families by following the current guidance from Government and the NHS (hygiene and social distancing).
Encourage residents to think about people in our community who might need extra support - check up on vulnerable neighbours: are they OK, do they need anything getting?

What about the local elections?

It is possible that the local, mayoral and police and crime commissioner elections planned for 7th May 2020 will be postponed. We are waiting for further guidance on this.

At the moment, we must assume that they ARE taking place on 7th May 2020, and continue campaigning as we would normally. One precaution you can take is not put the date of the election in early literature (so it could be used at a later date if needed).

If the election is postponed then we will issue new timetables and guidance straight away.