Sandwell Council reminds everyone living and working in the borough that as lockdown eases, it is vital that they continue to protect themselves and others from Covid-19 by getting vaccinated.
The virus has not gone away and it is still deadly.
Action is being taken to control the spread of the Delta variant first identified in India (B1.617.2), which is beginning to spread in certain areas across the country. While there is no firm evidence yet to show this variant has any greater impact on severity of disease or evades the vaccine, the speed of growth is concerning.
Coronavirus restrictions remain in place across England, including for people who have been vaccinated.
Wash your hands regularly, wear a face covering where you are required to, keep a 2-metre distance wherever possible.
Sandwell’s Director of Public Health, Dr Lisa McNally, said: “For the last 14 months, the people, communities and businesses in Sandwell have done everything they can in assisting us to drive down the rates of Covid-19 infection. And we have seen an amazing reduction of cases in the borough.
“I would ask everyone to maintain this commitment, carry out regular testing using ‘lateral flow’ test kits, observe government guidelines, and protect themselves and their loved ones by getting vaccinated. If you’ve had your first jab, don’t forget to get your second vaccination to ensure maximum protection.
“Those aged 30 or over can now get the Covid-19 vaccine. This also applies to those who will turn 30 before 1 July 2021. You can book appointments at a larger vaccination centre or chemist now. Alternatively, you can book online at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/”
Councillor Rajbir Singh, the Leader of Sandwell Council, said: “It has been a very difficult time for our residents and businesses with the Covid-19 pandemic, and I would like to thank everyone who has played their part, followed the rules and supported each other. It is very important that you get your vaccinations and continue to follow the guidelines to ensure everyone is protected. The vaccine is your best defence against the virus.
“The council will work with Sandwell people, businesses and organisations to recover from the pandemic, attract investment, and create a healthier, cleaner, greener and safer borough.”
If you’re meeting people, do so outdoors in the fresh air whenever possible to reduce the risk of transmission. You can meet indoors in a group of up to 6 people or a group of any size from 2 households – each household can include a support bubble, if eligible. You can meet outside in a group of up to 30 people.
The new guidance on meeting friends and family emphasises personal responsibility: you are encouraged to exercise caution and consider the guidance on risks associated with COVID-19 and the actions you can take to help keep you and your loved ones safe.
Remember that the risks of close contact may be greater for some people than others, and in some settings and circumstances there will be specific guidance that you will need to follow even when you are with friends and family.
You should continue to work from home if you can. When travelling within the UK, you should aim to do so safely and plan your journey in advance.
If you have Covid-19 symptoms, get a test and follow the stay at home guidance.
We encourage people to take a rapid (lateral flow) test twice a week. If you test positive for Covid-19 using a rapid test, self-isolate with your household and take a PCR test within 48 hours to confirm your positive result. Continue to self-isolate until you get the result of the PCR test.
And it’s really important to get your second vaccine jab to give you the maximum protection. The dates for some second doses of the Covid-19 vaccine will move forward to be given eight weeks after the first dose. Your GP and the NHS will be in touch with you to make any changes needed to your appointment. Please wait to be contacted and ensure you get your jab when asked.
Indoor entertainment and attractions such as cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bowling alleys, casinos, amusement arcades, museums and children’s indoor play areas are permitted to open with Covid-secure measures in place.
People can attend indoor and outdoor events, including live performances, sporting events and business events. Attendance at these events is capped according to the type of venue, and you should follow the Covid-secure measures set out by those venues.
Indoor hospitality venues such as restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes can reopen.
Organised indoor sport can take place for all, including gym classes. It must be organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of transmission.
Funeral attendance is no longer limited to 30 people but will be determined by how many people the Covid-secure venue can safely accommodate. Limits at weddings, wakes and other commemorative events have been increased to 30 people. Other significant life events, such as bar/bat mitzvahs and christenings will also be able to take place with 30 people.
The rules for care home residents visiting out and receiving visitors have changed, allowing up to five named visitors – two at any one time – provided visitors test negative for Covid-19.
All higher education students are now able to access in-person teaching.
Support groups and parent and child group gathering limits have been increased to 30 people (not including under-fives).
Remember, if a business is not doing all it can to keep you safe and following Covid-secure measures, don’t go there.
For updates from Sandwell Council about Covid-19, visit https://www.sandwell.gov.uk/localrestrictions