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Health update: Meeting up safely

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

Dear residents,

I wanted to write to you this week specifically about changes to the Government’s guidance on social distancing. Under Step 3 rules, which came in on 17 May, if you are meeting friends and family, you can make a personal choice on whether to keep your distance from them, but you should still be cautious.

Whether you’re meeting up in your garden, a friend’s house or at a restaurant’s indoor or outdoor seating area, there are simple steps you can take to reduce the chance of getting or spreading Coronavirus.

These six every day changes can help keep you and your family or friends safe and they include:

  • Meet outside – you’re less likely to spread the virus to another person in fresh air.

  • If you do meet inside, open windows and doors - the more fresh air that is brought inside, the quicker any virus particles will be removed from the room.

  • Play your part and get vaccinated – and encourage your loved ones to as well. The vaccination lowers the chance of catching COVID-19 and passing it on, and of getting seriously ill.

  • Keep your groups small – While 30 people can meet up outdoors, remember: the more people you see, the more likely you are to pick up the virus. Of course we’re all looking forward to catching up with those we’ve not seen in a while, but minimising how many people you’re in close contact with, and for how long can greatly help to reduce your own risk.

  • Get tested - twice a week, even if you don’t have symptoms. You can order free home tests for you and your loved ones that give results in 30 minutes.

  • Wash your hands and wear your face coverings - and clean surfaces regularly to remove virus particles.

And remember: some people are more vulnerable than others to being seriously ill from COVID-19. Your risk level will be different to some of your friends or family, and others may wish to take things slow as we progress along the roadmap.

So, I would advise making space for other people to keep their distance if they want to. Please be advised that in some settings, such as education, health or care, there will be specific guidance that you will need to follow even when you are with friends and family. In shops and hospitality, you should also continue to follow the guidance for each venue.

We’ve all been through a lot in the last year or more and it’s ok to feel nervous about this next step. It’s important to say that meeting up safely is possible – and hopefully some of the tips I’ve mentioned above will help you to do that (if and when the weather improves that is!)

For more information you can read the Government’s guidance on meeting friends and family, safely.

Thanks very much for reading and please remember: Be Patient, Be Kind, Be Safe.

Julie.