Council Calls on Residents and Businesses to Follow New Covid Laws
|Published: 11th September 2020 18:13|
Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council and member for Little Neston, is calling on all residents to help protect our whole community by following the Government's new COVID legislation.
The appeal comes as neighbouring Wirral has been added to the Government's 'watchlist' of areas where the number of people testing positive for the virus are rising.
Neston is currently showing a negligible number of cases, but numbers in Wirral are rising. Follow the map here.
From Monday, it is against the law to meet socially in groups of more than six people in any setting, indoors or out. This ruling replaces the existing ban on gatherings of more than 30 and the current guidance on allowing two households to meet indoors.
- A single household or support bubble larger than six
- Places of education and workplaces
- COVID secure weddings, wedding receptions and funerals, up to a limit of 30 people
- Organised sport and exercise.
Businesses and public settings where people meet socially including hospitality and leisure venues will be legally required from Monday to record contact details of customers, visitors and staff. The details must be stored for 21 days and shared with the Test and Trace Service, if requested.
Venues could be fined if they fail to ensure their premises remain COVID-secure, such as failing to collect contact information or taking bookings for groups of more than six.
Cllr Gittins said: "The Government has introduced these new laws from Monday which are aimed at stopping the spread of the virus. The case numbers for our borough have more than doubled in a week and we are calling on everyone to continue to play their part and follow these new guidelines.
"It is important that everyone remembers this weekend and in the foreseeable future to continue to be COVID conscious, keep two metres apart, wear face coverings, wash hands and get tested if you have COVID symptoms.
"We would also like to appeal to those who may wish to make the most of the relaxed restrictions this weekend before the ruling comes in on Monday to be extra COVID conscious, the virus is present in our community and, according to our data, spreading."
Wirral on watchlist
Meanwhile, Merseyside, which includes Neston's neighbouring borough of Wirral, has been added to the government's Covid-19 watchlist, signifying that the rise in the numbers of people infected in the region needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
The government has advised that Merseyside is now an ‘area of concern', which means that local authorities will be required to work with partners - supported by regional Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace teams - to take additional actions to manage outbreaks and reduce community spread of the virus.
The actions recommended for an area of concern included additional targeted testing at high-risk areas or groups, enhanced communications around the importance of social distancing, hand hygiene and other preventative measures, as well as more detailed epidemiological work to understand where clusters of the virus are occurring so that appropriate action can be taken.
It is does not at this stage signify any additional local restrictions, but it does place areas on alert that without significant and immediate efforts to bring down the rate of infection, a localised ‘lockdown' could be required.
The above map shows cases according to data available to 6 September - Neston showing a negligible case count compared to other Wirral towns. However, with Neston being closer to these towns than those in Cheshire West, it is not yet known how a localised lockdown in Wirral might impact on the town.
Following schools reopening, the testing of international travellers and increases in the testing of people without symptoms, a huge rise in people seeking a test for coronavirus nationwide this week has put a strain on the laboratories which process tests.
This has resulted in booking restrictions being placed on some of the testing sites, while laboratories struggle to meet such high demand. Residents are being urged to only get a COVID-19 test if they have virus symptoms of a high fever, continuous cough or loss of taste or smell.
Director of Public Health for Cheshire West Ian Ashworth said: "It is essential for people to get a test if they have symptoms or have been asked to do so by Test and Trace or healthcare professionals. Testing people with symptoms will help us stop the spread of the virus.
"The increase in people using testing sites in the last few weeks has, however, meant that laboratories need even greater capacity to cope with the demand and process people's results.
"Many of the people now seeking tests do not have symptoms of Covid-19 and it is those people we are asking to wait a little longer while the capacity in laboratories is developed nationally."
Key workers, frontline health and care staff and those in an outbreak area, will continue to be tested whether they have symptoms or not. If there are outbreaks, booking restrictions will not be placed on mobile testing units to enable local management of a situation. GP surgeries do not offer COVID testing.
If you have symptoms and have been tested, play your part to protect your community by self-isolating for 10 days or 14 days if alerted to do so by a contact tracer.