Stoke-on-Trent City Council is reminding residents of the lockdown rules following increased complaints about non-essential shopping across the city.
Under the government restrictions, you may leave your home to shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person.
Increased complaints over the Christmas period and this week, as the whole of England entered a national lockdown, have revolved around residents not wearing face coverings when in shops, social distancing in supermarkets and businesses open when they shouldn't be.
City council covid stewards have now been deployed to busier retail parks and supermarkets to advise residents on safety precautions they should be taking and monitor compliance.
Public protection teams continue to be out in force across the city following up complaints from residents. The teams are supporting businesses, working with them so that they understand the rapidly changing restrictions and the requirements they must follow.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “We urge people to follow the restrictions and continue to protect themselves and others. Whilst we all need to go shopping for essential items, please be sensible. If you are concerned that somewhere is crowded and others in a store you are in are not maintaining a two-metre distance or wearing face coverings, don’t go there. Remember the rule Hands, Face, Space.
“As always, some of the best information we receive is directly from the public. We’d urge people to work with us closely to report issues; your reports make a real difference to helping us tackle the virus in the city. Report issues to us by emailing email@example.com or calling 01782 234234.
The reminder comes as coronavirus cases in the city are continuing to rise rapidly. Latest figures from Stoke-on-Trent City Council show the city has a seven-day rate of 395.1 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people from 28 December to 3 January, a 61.8 per cent increase in cases on the previous week. Early information suggests the rate will reach 440 in the coming days. Although cases are widespread, Hanley, Tunstall, Trent Vale and Longton wards are the areas with the highest rates.
Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of adult social care, health integration and wellbeing, said: “The rise in infection rates across the city is quite alarming. I cannot stress how critical it is that we all do the right thing in following the restrictions, protect the NHS and protect ourselves and our loved ones. All areas of frontline NHS services remain under significant pressure, we cannot afford for our rate to continue to rise as rapidly as it is doing currently, we need to protect our local hospital.
“We now know that roughly one in three people have the virus without symptoms so could be spreading the disease without knowing it. Not showing one of the three main symptoms is simply no longer an excuse for not getting a test; we all know how easy it is to catch the virus. You can book a community test if you don’t have one of the three main symptoms of coronavirus; the process is quick and easy and plenty of tests are available. It's particularly important for you to get tested regularly if you're caring for another person or you are part of a support bubble, or have to go out to work, to help keep your family, friends and colleagues safe. I would urge everyone that is in a role where they have to go out to work to get tested at least once a week to keep yourself, your colleagues and your loved ones safe.”
Residents can book a COVID-19 test at www.stoke.gov.uk/bookacovid19test. If you cannot attend the test appointment for any reason please cancel via the details at the bottom of the conformation email.
For the latest information on council services and support during the coronavirus, and frequently asked questions, please visit www.stoke.gov.uk/coronavirus. For latest health advice on the coronavirus, please visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus, and for further information on the virus visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
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. If residents have symptoms, please get tested. All residents must continue to follow the guidance of wash hands, cover face and make space.
For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.