Residents are being warned that the bank holiday weekend is not a holiday from coronavirus restrictions, after reports of families disregarding closure notices on playgrounds in city parks.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is advising households of the importance of continuing to follow the public health advice after families were reportedly using equipment in closed play areas in Longton Park and Hanley Park in the past two days. Reports have also been received of significant numbers of people visiting Holden Lane Pool and not social distancing.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “Our teams have put in place so many signs and guidance notices informing families that playgrounds are closed in line with health advice, to protect people from the spread of this horrible disease.
“These signs are checked daily in our city’s main parks and then every other day in our smaller parks. We urge families that even if these signs have been torn down, please do not use the equipment. Let me be clear: disregarding the public health advice is putting your own, and other people’s health at risk. Our parks are open to visitors, but we must all stay alert and continue to socially distance.
“Infection rates in the city are now showing a clear downward trend, after a later spike than in other areas of the country. However, the number of confirmed cases in the city is still higher than the England and West Midlands averages. It is vital that we all continue to follow the public health guidelines. The bank holiday weekend is not a holiday from the coronavirus restrictions.”
Staffordshire Police assistant chief constable Simon Tweats said: “We understand why people want to be out and about, especially after an already lengthy lockdown. But Covid-19 has not gone away and we all have a duty to protect ourselves, our families and other members of our community who may be more vulnerable.
“Please stay within household groups and keep two metres away from other groups not from your household. Overall, people have been really good and acted responsibly in public places and it’s important the good work is not undone.”
Residents who are marking the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr this weekend are reminded to do so in line with national public health guidance, and to follow advice from The Muslim Council of Britain on how to stay home and stay safe during the coronavirus restrictions.
The festival marks the end of fasting during the month of Ramadan for Muslims across the world. Residents are advised of the need to stay at home to celebrate with people who live in their own households and to avoid gathering in congregations at the Mosque or any open space.
Meanwhile, council environmental enforcement teams have now issued 84 fixed penalty notices for fly-tipping, since coronavirus restrictions began on 23 March. A total of six fines have been issued today (Friday) for incidents in locations including Oldfield Street, Fenton; Newport Lane, Middleport; Argyle Street, Etruria; and Boughey Road, Shelton. In the last fortnight teams have responded to eight separate incidents in Newport Lane.
Councillor Brown said: “Fly-tipping blights communities and impacts on residents’ quality of life. It is inexcusable and we will take action on the culprits where we have the evidence to do so. We urge anyone who witnesses fly-tipping taking place to report it, via the MyStoke App or via 01782 234234.
“We urge residents to be vigilant if they are asking companies to remove their household waste – please get a receipt and check that the people taking the waste away are registered with the Environment Agency.”
Residents are advised that both household waste and recycling centres in the city will be open on bank holiday Monday. The Hanford tip site is usually closed on a Monday (25 May), but is opening to support residents and meet demand. It will be open 8am-4pm, and the Federation Road, Burslem tip will be open 9am-4pm. Both tips continue to operate with restricted access in the interests of the health and wellbeing of visitors and staff. Visitors are advised that there may continue to be lengthy queues at both sites, to only visit if it is essential, and to allow extra time for their journeys.
For more information and advice on coronavirus (Covid-19) please visit Public Health England:
https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/ and the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated.
For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.