County council says enjoy Easter holidays safely
With lockdown restrictions eased and the Easter holidays this weekend, Staffordshire residents are being urged to stay safe and respect each other. With people allowed outdoors once more and many public places still closed, country parks, outdoors spaces and beauty spots are expected to be busy over the Bank Holiday weekend. Dr Richard Harling, Staffordshire County Council’s Director of Health and Care, said: “It’s great that people can get outdoors to enjoy the fresh air, but people have worked so hard to get to this point that we must hold on to the gains we have made. We cannot afford to let our guard down the time to relax and stop taking precautions. “The vaccination programme has been a tremendous success, but it will be months before everyone is vaccinated and even longer before the full benefits are known. “That’s why we must continue to stick to the rules, continue to be tested twice a week and get vaccinated when we become eligible. A surge in cases will risk delays on the release of restrictions or even worse a return to full lockdown.” Under the laws amended this week:
people can meet outside, either with one other household or within the ‘rule of six’ – including within private gardens;
the ‘stay at home’ rule is lifted, though people are still encouraged to stay local;
outdoor sport facilities can open and formally organised outdoor sports played;
Weddings can take place, attended by up to six people.
Dr Harling added: “There has been a great deal of hard work and sacrifice in the last 12 months to get to where we are today and it would be terrible to undo all that by becoming careless now. “It’s up to us all to follow the ‘hands, face, space’ guidance and get tested regularly. That is the way to keep the virus under control and give us the best chance of getting our freedoms back.” People visiting country parks, beauty spots and the like* are asked to observe social distancing, park considerately and follow the Countryside Code, including taking home litter. Dead undergrowth is also vulnerable to burning at this time of year and visitors are asked not to light fires and barbecues or throw away matches and cigarettes carelessly. Facilities at Staffordshire’s country parks, such as toilets, will open subject to the availability of cleaners and visitors are advised to check here for the latest information. Visitor centres will remain closed at present. Chief Superintendent Jennie Mattinson, head of neighbourhood and partnerships at Staffordshire Police, said: “We have seen the vast majority of residents across the county stick to the rules and do their bit in reducing the number of Covid-19 cases. By following the national restrictions people are not only keeping themselves safe but protecting the health and well-being of those around them. “It has been a challenging 12 months for everyone and for the first time in a while we can begin looking forward to our sacrifices paying off and normality slowing returning to the county. But it is vital that we don’t put all our efforts at risk. We must continue to adhere to the rules and our officers will be out explaining these and encouraging everyone to play their part by following them, and taking enforcement where necessary. The Government has set out a roadmap and it is so important everyone plays their part by following the rules at each stage. “As the Easter break approaches – and this week has seen an initial easing of restrictions - it is important people don’t disregard the rules that are now in place. We will have patrols in areas we anticipate a higher footfall and officers will be providing suitable advice. While people should quite rightly see this is as the first stage of normality slowly returning and enjoy themselves in a safe way, the rules are still very clear.”