End of Covid restrictions must be ‘sensible and cautious’

Families in Northumberland have been urged to remain ‘sensible and cautious’, despite the so-called ‘Freedom Day’ easing of coronavirus restrictions.

Northumberland County Hall at Morpeth.
Northumberland County Hall at Morpeth.

Despite rising Covid cases, most measures previously introduced to try to halt the march of the pandemic have now been scrapped.

While ministers may hope bubbles, social distancing and the rule of six are now a thing of the past, county bosses have urged the public to ensure the sacrifices of the past year have not been in vain.

Glen Sanderson, the leader of Northumberland County Council said: “The past 18 months have been extremely difficult for everyone but there are positive times ahead.

“However, we must all take a sensible and cautious approach to ensure the progress we’ve made is not wasted in the coming weeks and months.

“As a council, we’ll be taking all reasonable steps to reduce risks to keep our residents and staff safe, with regards to opening up our services and our buildings.

“So we’d ask everyone to please keep doing what they’ve been doing for a little longer, be considerate of the concerns of our more vulnerable residents who are perhaps more hesitant about Step 4 and enjoy the lifting of restrictions in a safe way.”

The new guidelines mean that groups of more than six people can now meet indoors and outside, allowing nightclubs to reopen and for limits on guests at weddings and funerals to end.

In Northumberland however, visitors to council buildings will still be asked to:

Wear a face covering when entering and leaving all council buildings and moving around communal areas; Maintain social distancing, where possible; Regularly wash or sanitise their hands.

Liz Morgan the county council’s director of public health, warned the virus is continuing to spread, despite Northumberland having among the highest vaccine take-up rates in the country.

The last week has seen cases rise by 40 per cent, but in some areas the increase has been steeper.

She added: “We’ve had over 2,000 new cases reported in the last seven days, but we know they’re only a proportion of the number of people with infection in the community.

“We still have the 14th highest rates in England, even though we are a county with lots of fresh air and space. The pandemic is still with us, and it is vital we all remain cautious.”

She also issued a warning about the Delta variant of the virus. “It is more transmissible and continues to spread in our communities, largely amongst those who remain unvaccinated. “The more cautious we are and the slower we return to pre-Covid behaviours, the more likely we are to minimise the peak and keep our businesses, services and economy running.“So we all have a part to play in making this work and keeping our communities safe.” Local Democracy Reporting Service