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Council statement on roadmap out of lockdown

Date published: 2021-02-23 | Category: Covid-19

Council statement on roadmap out of lockdown

Residents in Bath & North East Somerset are being urged to continue to play their part to stop the spread of Covid-19 following the Government’s announcement on its ‘roadmap out of lockdown’.

While national restrictions are planned to slowly lift next month, and schools begin their wider re-opening on March 8, the stay home rule remains in place until March 29.

Councillor Dine Romero, council leader, said: “We will continue to work closely with care homes, schools, businesses and our communities to provide support as the lockdown eases following the Government’s roadmap announcement.

“The roadmap has been set out in stages and the dates beyond March 29 are not set in stone. Its important to remember the dates are “no earlier than, and are conditional on the success of the vaccination programme, infection rates, pressures on the NHS and new variants.

“It is essential we keep going and do not undo our efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19. We still need to keep each other safe, especially the most vulnerable and of course we cannot forget those who have lost family and friends to this terrible disease.”

None of this would be possible without the huge national and local efforts of the NHS and volunteers that has led to the remarkable success of the vaccine roll-out so far.

Thanks to everyone’s collective effort the case rates are falling across Bath & North East Somerset and are currently 50 per 100,000. More than 220,000 people across Bath & North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire have now been vaccinated.

From tomorrow the council will be announcing details of the area’s first rapid Covid-19 test site for asymptomatic key workers. Key workers and people unable to work from home who do not have any coronavirus symptoms will be able to book rapid lateral flow tests to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Approximately one in three people who have coronavirus will experience no symptoms and rapid lateral flow testing is important in reducing the risk that they pose to others.

Councillor Romero said: “There is a sense of relief that there is some light at the end of the tunnel and this is especially vital for everyone’s mental health. While it is absolutely right that the first milestone should be for our children and young people to return to the classroom, questions remain on how testing will be carried out. I am pleased to see that there are plans for easing restrictions on outdoor recreation and for allowing named visitors for care homes.”

The Government has said its priority is to ensure that all children and students return safely to face-to-face education in all schools and colleges from March 8. Childcare and children’s supervised activities can also resume.

People will be allowed to leave home

  • for recreation and exercise outdoors with their household or support bubble, or with one person from outside their household.
  • Care home residents will also be allowed one regular visitor.

From March 29, when most schools start to break up for the Easter holidays, outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either six people (the Rule of 6) or two households will also be allowed.

Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools, will also be allowed to reopen, and people will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.

The ‘stay at home’ rule will end on March 29 but many restrictions will remain. People should continue to work from home where possible and minimise journeys. Travel abroad will remain prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons.

Councillor Romero added: “We know this remains an incredibly difficult for many businesses. We have supported more than 2,000 business which have been forced to close in the third lockdown and have awarded more than £12m in grants and relief. The Government has set out, in Step Two, the reopening of non-essential retail, hairdressers and indoor leisure facilities. It has also set out how hospitality can start to re-open. All of this is very welcome as long as we continue to drive the numbers down and follow guidance on getting tested if we have symptoms, or are asymptomatic key workers, and remember hands face space.”

Further details about the roadmap are available here

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