Stoke-on-Trent residents are being urged to enjoy the easing of covid restrictions outdoors but to keep following coronavirus safety guidelines this Easter weekend.
Residents are being urged to enjoy the easing of restrictions outdoors but to keep following safety guidelines this Easter weekend.
As lockdown restrictions eased on Monday (29 March), larger groups of up to six people or two households are now allowed to gather in parks and public and private gardens. The government’s ‘stay at home’ order has ended and people are instead encouraged to stay local where possible.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “Over the past few days in Stoke-on-Trent the weather has been fantastic, it has been perfect timing with us all now able to see friends and family outside in limited numbers. The long Easter weekend for many is a time for family and celebrating with loved ones, but we still need to act sensibly, remember hands, face, space. In two weeks’ time many local businesses will be able to open again; breaking rules over the Easter weekend will only put this date in jeopardy.”
Staffordshire Police will be continuing to monitor Covid breaches over the Easter bank holiday. Chief Inspector Mark Barlow, commander of Stoke-on-Trent North Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This week has seen an initial easing of restrictions and represents a tentative step towards normality. But the rules are still clear and it is vital that we all continue to do our bit to reduce the number of Covid-19 cases in the county and make sure that the Government’s roadmap plan stays on track and all of our freedoms can return. While the vast majority of people in the city continue to follow the rules, it is disappointing that a small number ignore them.
“As temperatures are predicted to rise, the nights are lighter and with an Easter break on the horizon we are mindful of a potential rise in crime. As a force we have robust plans in place to handle this anticipated increase. Our officers will be visible for each of the key dates around the roadmap and will be ready to provide advice over just what the rules mean – while also taking enforcement where appropriate.
“We all know how vital it is not to let our guard down and we will continue to work closely with our partners to help normality return to the Potteries and not put the dates of the roadmap at risk.”
Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of adult social care, health integration and wellbeing, said: “We know many residents will be meeting loved ones outside this Easter weekend and over the two-week school break. If you are, please remember to still socially distance from one another and get tested on your way or the day before. As restrictions ease hands, face, space and getting tested are still vitally important, these are now part of our daily lives, we all need to still protect ourselves and those around us.”
Rapid result, lateral flow tests can be booked over Easter at community venues and pharmacies across the city. Tests can be booked at www.stoke.gov.uk/bookacovid19test. Walk-ins are welcome. Many community venues are now offering Community Collect testing arrangements – eligible residents can collect two boxes of seven test kits to complete twice-weekly at home.