The Local Resilience Forum (LRF) is reminding Islanders to continue to follow public health guidance and respect the safety measures in place at pubs, restaurants and hairdressers around the Island.
As the lockdown eases and more businesses are able to reopen their doors, the forum, which brings together councils and emergency services to respond to crises, is asking us to enjoy the summer safely.
Simon Bryant, the council’s director of public health, said:
“We know that people are avidly waiting for Saturday to arrive when many more businesses are due to open up including pubs, restaurants and many leisure facilities.
“Everyone wants to have fun, but by remembering the simple behaviours we all need to do we can all help to protect each other.
“The virus is still with us, we can all do so much to help reduce the risk of outbreaks and the need to return to restrictions none of want to see — and once again potentially distanced from our family, friends and loved ones.
“Let’s also not forget that potentially a significant proportion of people with coronavirus have no symptoms, but can transmit the virus to others — so think, before you mingle.
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“If you don’t do it for yourself, please consider the many thousands of local people across our area who are vulnerable — for them, the virus could still be fatal. Let’s work together to keep the Island safe this summer.”
To enjoy this summer safely:
- Stay 2 metres apart from others. If this isn’t possible, it’s one metre plus which also requires something extra to be in place such as a screen or face-covering;
- Stay at home and get tested if you have symptoms;
- Wear a face covering on public transport or in enclosed spaces; and
- Wash your hands often and as soon as you get home.
Meanwhile, residents and visitors planning on outings to bars and pubs this weekend have been asked to drink sensibly and reassess their plans if, on arrival, social distancing isn’t achievable.
Assistant Chief Constable, Scott Chilton, from Hampshire Constabulary, has said:
“We have been preparing in anticipation for this busier period and we have patrol plans in place this weekend to ensure the easing of restrictions is approached safely.
“Social distancing and good hygiene remains paramount and it’s everyone’s responsibility to follow this guidance.
“In the run-up and over the course of the weekend we, alongside local authorities, will be working closely with the licensing industry to help prevent a second spike of the virus.
“If you are visiting bars and pubs this weekend, please drink sensibly, and pre-plan your travel and how you are going to get home.
“Reassess your plans if you arrive at your location and realise social distancing isn’t achievable. Be aware of how excess drinking and violent behaviour may impact the emergency services and the NHS. Covid-19 still presents a significant and deadly threat to public health.
“Ultimately, we are still all in this together so it’s important that we all continue to limit the spread of the virus, while enjoying the summer.
“Officers continue to work hard to keep us all safe in what remain challenging circumstances so we would ask everyone to work with us and remember that if you need our help we are here for you.”
Isle of Wight Council leader, Dave Stewart, says people across the Island’s hospitality industry have been hard at work putting safety measures in place to allow for their reopening, but customers, diners and drinkers need to do their bit too. He says:
“Residents have risen to the challenges of Covid-19 and we all need to carry on over the coming weeks to ensure we all help to contain the virus.
“We can go out this weekend for a drink or meal but please remember to stay safe and look out for one another.
“This virus has been one of the most destructive public health events in our lifetime and, we must remember, it has not gone away yet.
“That is why you will hear me repeating over and over the importance of staying alert, following the guidance and saving lives. We must all continue with the behaviours of social distancing, washing our hands and wearing face covers when needed.
“These are the key steps to helping to contain the virus and are a small price to pay for saving lives.
“Respect everyone’s safety, protect yourself and others, and enjoy your summer on the Isle of Wight.”