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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

Leader's Blog  

Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Moving Forward in the Fight against Covid-19

Friday, 21 May 2021

The beginning of the week saw the latest easing of the coronavirus restrictions across the country. As of Monday, pubs, restaurants and bars and cafes can now serve customers indoors, groups of up to 6 people can meet indoors and as many as 30 can meet outdoors, and travellers will be able to fly internationally as long as they follow the testing and self-isolation guidelines in the new traffic light system.

I am glad to report as well that, thanks to the tireless efforts of our key workers and communities, our local vaccination programme is continuing to make excellent progress. As of 16th May 130,268 Tameside and Glossop residents, or 65.4% of our population, have received their first jab. Every adult over the age of 40 in the borough has been offered a vaccination, and we are continuing to try and persuade those who have not yet chosen to take it up to do so. 35.4% of our residents, or 70,530 in total have also received their second jab, and we are currently focusing on increasing this figure to ensure maximum protection for some of our most vulnerable cohorts.

When put together, the easing of lockdown and the progress made on vaccinations means we can begin to look forward to when this terrible pandemic will be put behind us. However, until that day comes, we must continue to take the appropriate steps to protect ourselves and those around us. While the number of infections in Tameside remains low we’ve seen in the past how easily this can change, and the emergence of new “variants of concern” such as the strain that originated in India means that the situation remains fragile. So please, now more than ever, make sure that you get tested and self-isolate when necessary, continue to wash your hands and wear face masks wherever appropriate, and remember that you can still carry and pass on the virus even if you’ve been vaccinated yourself.  


Here in Tameside, the easing of lockdown restrictions means we can begin to cautiously reopen some of the cultural venues that we have been forced to go without for so long. This includes the Portland Basin Museum in Ashton, which resumed operation on Wednesday. In order to make sure everybody remains safe and prevent overcrowding, visits will be limited to around an hour and must be pre-booked here, and face mask wearing and social distancing must continue to be observed within the building. There is also a one-way system around the exhibits with hand-sanitising stations and extra cleaning measures. The indoor play area will also remain closed for now, however our staff at the museum will be handing out craft bags packed with activities for children to do at home. The Astley Cheetham Art Gallery in Stalybridge and the Market Gallery in Ashton Market Hall have also reopened, giving residents the chance to new exhibitions from a number of exciting local artists.

However, despite the welcome news of these reopenings, there are also some events and buildings in Tameside that will have to remain limited or closed entirely for the time being. Due to the small size of the chapel, the number of mourners allowed at services and ceremonies at Dukinfield Crematorium will remain capped at 20 for the time being, although more people will be allowed at the graveside providing that social distancing is maintained. In addition, while the famous Whit Friday Brass Band Contest has unfortunately been postponed once again, there will be an online event on the 28 May hosted by the reigning champions, Foden’s Band. Over 118 bands from 13 countries are due to take part, and Tameside Council will be doing its bit to keep the tradition alive by offering prizes to the competition’s youth section.

We’ve taken a big step forward this week in our national fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and hopefully it won’t be too long before all restrictions are lifted. But we can all do our part to ensure that happens by protecting ourselves and those around us, and doing everything possible to break the chains of transmission and infection. Let’s make the last big push together.


Posted by: Executive Leader