As we move towards a significant step in the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, it’s important for everyone in Stockport to stay safe, says Stockport’s Director of Public Health Jennifer Connolly.
From Monday, non-essential shops and close contact services like hairdressers can open, and hospitality venues will be able to serve food and drink outside. Gyms across Stockport will also be able to open, and libraries across the borough will return for book browsing, computer and printing services.
However, while Jennifer Connolly praised local businesses for the efforts they had made to ensure they could reopen safely, she also sought to remind everyone of the ongoing need for good hygiene, social distancing and use of face coverings to keep the virus at bay in Stockport. In her full statement, she said:
Monday is a welcome landmark for all of us who have made sacrifices over the past year, and a significant step towards normality again. However, while we might be looking forward to catching up with family and friends, it’s vital that we all continue to adhere to government measures in order to break the transmission of coronavirus. This will allow us to continue to progress along the roadmap out of lockdown.
Our local venues have worked hard to prepare for your return and will have enhanced safety measures in place for your visit: please do your bit and make sure you stick to the rules to keep all staff and visitors safe. Face coverings continue to be mandatory indoors, and please respect social distancing guidelines, keeping 2 metres away from others at all times. If you are meeting friends or family, please stick to the rule of six or two households guidance and avoid mixing with other groups when you are at a venue.
Business owners are advised to implement extra cleaning regimes, ensure that venues are well-ventilated by opening doors and windows, and implement one-way or outside queuing systems to help play their part in minimising the spread of Covid-19.
Rates are continuing to fall in Stockport, with rates currently at *45 per 100,000, or around 19 new cases each day. This is slightly below the average for Greater Manchester. The latest published data can be found here. We need to continue to act responsibly and follow the latest advice to keep our community safe as more mixing is allowed.
The vaccination programme continues to progress at pace, with 58.7% of the adult population in Stockport having now received their first dose. 13.6% of the adult population have received both doses of the vaccine. If you are over 50, an eligible frontline health and social care worker, clinically vulnerable or a primary carer for someone at high risk from coronavirus, you should have been called to receive the vaccine by now. Please call your GP to arrange an appointment, or call 119 or book online here.
The announcement this week about the slight changes on advice around the AstraZeneca vaccine should give us confidence in the systems that exist to detect and understand these very, very rare risks. Please remember that more than 20million doses of the vaccine have been given in the UK and, so far, there are fewer adverse events to this than aspirin or a number of other common medications. The risk of blood clots in people infected with Covid occur far more frequently. If you’d like to know more, the link to the full MHRA and JCVI statements are available here.
The most important thing to remember as restrictions ease on Monday is that you must self-isolate if you receive a positive test or have symptoms of coronavirus. While it might be tempting to stick to plans after so long isolated, you need to stay at home if you have a persistent cough, a high temperature or loss of smell or taste. Book your Covid-19 test if you have symptoms by calling 119 or online here.
Community testing will now be available to you even if you do not have symptoms. Lateral flow testing kits give rapid results and are now available for all adults without symptoms of coronavirus. You can take the test at a testing site, or collection one to be taken at home. Find out where your local collection point is here.
Please note that if you have any of the symptoms of coronavirus: a new, continuous cough; a high temperature or loss of taste and smell, you still need to get a PCR test and self-isolate until you get the result. You can book this test here.
If told to self-isolate through the NHS Covid 19 app you must follow the instruction. We know this can be hard on one’s mental health and wellbeing and it’s difficult not to feel anxious or despondent, so please remember that if you’re finding things difficult right now, we have lots of offers of help and support, so please do reach out. We’ve listed them all here. For further information on how you might look after yourself, please visit our Health and Wellbeing pages or Healthy Stockport.
If you need support, the council’s Coronavirus helpline can be accessed on 0161 217 6046 from Monday – Thursday from 9.00am – 5pm and Friday from 9.00am – 4:30pm. If you’re deaf or have difficulty hearing, you can use our textphone on 07860 022 876. You can also find out more by visiting our helpline page.
*This is the latest figure for Stockport validated on 9.4.21.