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Health update: Be Patient, Be Kind, Be Safe

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

Dear residents,

On Monday 12 April we see the reopening of non-essential retail, outdoor hospitality, attractions, indoor leisure facilities and more across England as we reach step 2 of the Government’s Roadmap.

This stage of the journey signals a stark change to the ‘stay at home’ rules introduced at the beginning of the year and, for many, will be a welcome relief.

From this point, it’s fair to say that many will be returning to pubs and restaurants with outdoor spaces, to outdoor attractions as the weather picks back up and to shops that can now reopen their doors - I myself have already booked my hair appointment!

As businesses reopen, there are things we need to keep in mind to support our high streets to operate safely and to help keep them open.

Here are a few practical things to think about as we venture out again:

  • Firstly, we must carry on using the NHS Track and Trace app when entering a shop or venue. This time around, all members of a group will need to ‘check-in’ rather than a lead member, with those without smart phones required to leave their details manually. If you’ve deleted it, you can save yourself some time by re-downloading it now.
  • Next, we will see the return of the ‘rule of 6’ in cafes, bars and other businesses – this time with the caveat that two households can also meet, even if the group size is larger than six.
  • And, when visiting a food/drink venue, guests will be required to wear face coverings, to distance from those they do not live with (even if you’re visiting as one group) and table service will be in effect – but there is no longer a requirement to order food with an alcoholic drink.

These are just some of the changes we’ll all be getting used to in the next few weeks and likely for some time to come. A summary of the further steps in the roadmap can be accessed here.

My message to Wirral residents is this: While many of us are keen to get ‘back to normal’, the rules around social distancing, face coverings and hand hygiene will help us to do that, swiftly and safely.

If we move too quickly, mix with too many people and spread the virus rapidly at this stage, we could find ourselves veering off the Roadmap, and facing measures that keep us apart once more.

I am encouraging our communities to walk before we run, and:

  • Be patient - Shops and hospitality are doing all they can to be COVID-19 secure, please do your bit and be patient with staff who are getting used to new ways of working.
  • Be kind - Not everybody will be ready to move out of restrictions at the same pace.
  • Be safe - Let’s keep washing our hands, covering our faces and keeping our distance from those outside our household/support bubble to stop the spread of the virus.

Let’s take this next step, safely.

Thanks for reading,