EASTER WEEKEND: Follow the rules 'or risk increasing the spread of Covid-19 and delaying lockdown easing'
We're all desperate to see friends and family, but don’t be tempted to slip indoors if the weather takes a turn for the worse, warns Buckinghamshire's Public Health Director
The Easter bank holiday weekend is fast approaching and many of us will be looking forward to some time off to relax, hopefully enjoy a little spring sunshine and perhaps catch up with friends and family, now that the lockdown is finally easing.
The long weekend of April 2 to 5 is the first to follow the next stage of the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions in England. As of Monday, March 29, up to six people from individual households, or two separate households of any number, can meet up outdoors, including in private gardens.
But Buckinghamshire's Director of Public Health has sounded a note of caution, urging people to stick to the rules or risk increasing the spread of Covid-19 and delaying further lockdown easing.
Dr Jane O’Grady said: “We are all desperately keen to see our friends and families again and many of us will be hoping for good weather over the long Easter weekend so we can meet up. The slight easing of restrictions on who we can meet and where will be welcomed by many but we must remember that there are still strict rules in place and we must follow them.
“The majority of cases at the moment are from the new strains of the virus which are more infectious and thought to be more likely to cause severe illness. We must make sure we continue to follow the rules by not meeting in larger groups.
"Also, if meeting in a private garden and the weather takes a turn for the worse, don’t be tempted to slip indoors, this is not allowed."
Anyone planning to meet with friends or family is advised to keep a 2m distance between different households, don't share items, wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face as much as possible.
Everyone is required to follow the guidance even if they have been vaccinated, as no vaccine is 100 per cent effective and it takes two doses and time to build good immunity.
As a Christian festival, many people will want to celebrate Easter by attending religious services. Under current restrictions, places of worship are allowed to open for communal services but with restrictions in place.
One in three people with Covid-19 don't have symptoms. Anyone planning to attend an Easter service who wants to be fully confident they aren't infectious can take a rapid test at Buckingham Library, or pick up testing kits to use at home. Opening hours vary over the bank holiday weekend.
Dr O’Grady added: “The time for further relaxation of the restrictions will come and if we all stick to the rules now, this will happen sooner.
"By bending the rules or choosing to ignore them, we risk increasing the spread of Covid-19 and delaying further lockdown easing, which nobody wants to see.
"We’ve done such a good job of reducing case rates across Buckinghamshire in the past few months so thank you to everyone for their efforts.
"However, rates are still higher today than they were at the lowest point last year.
"Let’s keep up the good work for just a little while longer and make sure all our hard work is not undone.”