SOLIHULL residents are being urged to follow safety guidelines and not expect business as usual when pubs, restaurants and other venues open on July 4.
Council leader Ian Courts said in response to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s latest lockdown easing measures announced on Tuesday, with public, scientific and medial opinion divided: “So now we know the shape of the next steps in relaxing the lockdown.
“We all welcome these steps forward; the importance of getting things moving again cannot be overstated.
“It is great that we have successfully brought down the virus numbers as a result of lock-down measures; however, our health advisers are clear that a substantial number of people do not have immunity to COVID-19 and who will be at continued risk for a long period of time.
“This is why a measured approach is necessary. (We have seen parts of Germany and Beijing having to re-impose restrictions, as their numbers have risen again).
“To recap: what the Prime Minister has said is that where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, people should keep a distance of “one metre plus”. This means staying at least one metre apart, while observing all the other sensible precautions to reduce the risk of transmission.
“As the Prime Minister acknowledged, we still need to follow the Public Health advice around social distancing, hand washing and wearing face coverings where appropriate. If we fall ill with Covid-19 symptoms, we must get tested and self-isolate.
“From July 4, two households of any size will be able to meet indoors or outdoors as long as they maintain social distancing and it will be possible for people to stay overnight. Something I imagine many families and groups of friends will welcome.
“People from multiple households can also meet in groups of up to six outdoors, although they should not meet up indoors, as there is too much of a risk of spreading infection which could develop into an outbreak.
“These new relaxation rules will allow new sectors of the economy to begin their roads to recovery.
“Restaurants, pubs and cafes in Solihull will also be allowed to reopen, providing they follow the extensive and detailed safety guidelines. All great news.
“However, best expect a completely different set of experiences. There won’t be loud music in venues, as raised voices or shouting can increase aerosol transmission and you may expect to order through apps, as self-service options will be minimised
“Hospitality indoors will be table service only, and contact between you and staff will be limited. You will be asked for contact details when you go to a pub or book a restaurant, as it will be crucial to know who was around should a Covid-19 outbreak occur.
“This will support the work of the NHS Test and Trace team, making it easier to contact anyone affected.
“Those of us with unusually long ‘lockdown’ hair styles will be delighted to see hairdressers reopening. They will have to put in place the necessary precautions to make the salons Covid-19 safe.”