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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Staying Safe as Restrictions Lift

Friday, 16 July 2021

Monday 19th July will mark the end of most legal coronavirus restrictions in England.



The list of changes is extensive, but the major points include the end of limits on how many people can meet socially, face masks no longer being required by law, and the removal of the 1 metre social distancing rule except for specific cases such as hospitals. Nightclubs will be permitted to reopen and pubs and restaurants will be allowed to move away from table service only. There will also be no limits on attendance at weddings, funerals, concerts, theatres, sporting events, communal worship or care home visits. If you’re travelling abroad, you will no longer have to quarantine for 10 days after returning from a country on the government’s amber list.

Further loosening of measures, including the lifting of most coronavirus restrictions in schools and easing the rules around who has to self-isolate if they come into contact with somebody who tests positive, are also likely to come into effect in the middle of August.

I know that so much has been asked of you over the past eighteen months; to put your regular lives on hold, to stay apart from friends and loved ones, and to be constantly alert as to how your actions might affect the chances of you or those around you being infected. The only consolation I can offer is that these sacrifices have now started to bear fruit.

But, as positive as this occasion is, I must also sound a note of caution. The worst may be over, but the long shadow of the pandemic remains with us still. Infections in Tameside this week increased to 496.3 cases per 100,000 of the population, the highest rate for several months. This has been driven by the recent spread of the Delta variant, which is estimated to be 40-80% more transmissible than the previously dominant strains of the virus. Rates of infection, hospitalisation and, sadly, deaths are expected to rise further as our society and economy begins to reopen. However, the good news is that the link between infection and severe illness or death appears to have been significantly reduced, and the vaccine rollout locally continues to progress well. The most important thing we can do now is continue to apply common sense to minimise risk of infection, including being responsible about socialising and taking precautions such as regular hand washing and wearing masks on public transport and in indoor public spaces even if it is no longer a legal obligation.  

If you have not had your second vaccination yet, I urge you to seek it out as soon as you are permitted to. We are currently supporting a number of pop-up centres and drop-ins where residents can receive their vaccinations without an appointment or ID required, and testing sites are still open so that we stay on top of tracking and tracing new cases in the borough. Information about vaccination sites is available on our website here, and testing facilities can be found here. Please remember as well that even if you’re fully vaccinated it is still possible for you to carry the virus and spread it to other people.

 

A number of changes are also being put in place to public facing council services such as libraries, markets, museums and art galleries to ensure that people can use them as normally and safely as circumstances allow from Monday. The complete list can be found on our website here. We are asking all visitors to protect themselves, our staff and each other by continuing to wash their hands, wear face masks and socially distance where possible in these settings. This will help us significantly in minimising any future disruption and keeping important public services running.

This has been a long and tough journey, and even if the hardest part is over it appears that we still have some way left to travel. But I want to thank you for your commitment so far, and if we continue to take steps to protect ourselves and others, we will soon be in a place where we can finally put this terrible pandemic behind us once and for all.

Posted by: Executive Leader


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