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Health blog: What do the new restrictions mean for our borough?

A message from Julie Webster, Wirral’s Director of Public Health

Dear residents,

As I’m sure many of you will know, from this Tuesday (22nd September), further local restrictions are being introduced in Wirral and the rest of Merseyside due to the continued increase in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19.

The key changes enforceable by law are as follows:

  • Residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens;
  • Places that serve food and drink will be restricted to table service only;
  • Late night operating hours will be restricted, with leisure and entertainment venues including restaurants, pubs, and cinemas, required to close between 10pm to 5am.

Some significant pieces of guidance for all of us to follow are: 

  • Only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work;
  • Avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators.

These new measures will be kept under constant review to reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.

What are we doing to protect our vulnerable?

Our health and social care teams, along with our community services, have taken direct and swift action to support our vulnerable.

On 17th September I wrote to our care home managers to tell them to restrict visiting within all care homes to protect vulnerable residents, staff and visitors.

For the time being:

  • Only essential face-to-face visits from professional health and care staff will be allowed, with video call being the preference in many cases.
  • Visits from family and friends are only supported for end of life care - OR if essential to the wellbeing of the resident and cannot be achieved digitally.
  • ALL in-person visits must adhere to social distancing and infection control guidelines at all times.

I also wrote to our residents who were previously shielding to advise them that, while the shielding program is not being stepped back up at this time, they should take extra care when out and about, avoiding crowded areas and taking advantage of the local advice and support available to them. These letters should be arriving on doorsteps from early this week.

What can residents do to help?

I know this is a lot to take in and we have all made many sacrifices this year due to the pandemic. We are close to a local lockdown and I urge you to follow these new measures.

Please, remember the basics:

  • Keep washing your hands.
  • Keep wearing your face coverings both indoors and outdoors as appropriate.
  • Keep your distance from those outside your household group.
  • And remember, if you have symptoms – you and your household and support bubble MUST self-isolate (stay at home) immediately and anyone with symptoms should seek a test at www.wirral.gov.uk/test or by calling 119.

We must all play our part to protect our vulnerable, reduce the spread of COVID-19 and help Keep Wirral Well.

Thank you for reading and please, stay safe.

Julie.