With the long weekend fast approaching and the weather set fair for much of it, residents are urged to follow the national advice in a collective effort to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The Government restrictions, which have been in place for more than 2 weeks, are very clear. People should only leave their homes for very limited purposes, and when they do, they need to follow social distancing guidelines and stay 2 metres apart from others to prevent the virus from spreading. The only exception to this is if they are members of the same household.
Police have extra powers to enforce these measures. Officers are adopting an approach based on engaging, explaining and encouraging people to comply with the restrictions, using enforcement powers as a last resort.
John Denley, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Director of Public Health, said: "By reducing our day to day contact with other people, we reduce the chance of coronavirus spreading, and that is why we all need to follow the Government's social distancing measures – particularly with the Easter Bank Holiday weekend approaching.
"Preventing the spread of coronavirus is a national effort and one we are all responsible for. For the vast majority of us, social distancing has become the new norm and we are slowly getting used to life with these restrictions in place. We all understand what is at stake if we ignore the rules.
“But for those who still don’t understand the gravity of the situation, let me remind you, that this weekend isn’t your normal Bank Holiday weekend. It is not one for meeting up with friends and family or heading out for a day at the park. It is one where we continue to do our bit to protect the NHS by staying at home and saving lives.
“For now our parks will remain open but this is something that remains under constant review. People are welcome to walk, cycle or run through them but they must not stay or congregate under any circumstances.”
Chief Superintendent Andy Beard from Wolverhampton Police said: “I would like to thank the vast majority of people in Wolverhampton who continue to act responsibly in line with government restrictions. Our officers are patrolling across our city engaging with people, explaining the restrictions and encouraging people to comply, with enforcement being a last resort.
“We have been touched by the acts of kindness and generosity people from Wolverhampton have been displaying towards each other.
“We are working closely with the City of Wolverhampton Council and other partners to ensure everyone continues to play their part in saving lives and protecting the NHS.”
To help people stay at home, Dr Salma Reehana, Wolverhampton GP and Chair of Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group, said that GP Practices will be offering appointments over the phone and will arrange a face to face review if needed and appropriate.
People should only leave the house:
- to shop for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
- for one form of exercise a day, for instance a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household
- for any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- to travel to and from work, but only where work cannot be done from home, or to take children to and from school if parents are classed as 'critical workers'
The Government has ordered non-essential businesses and public spaces to be closed and banned all public gatherings of more than two people, except where they are from the same household or where the gathering is essential for work purposes – but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace. All social events, including weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies, have been stopped. Funerals continue, but can only be attended by immediate family members.
The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at Coronavirus advice and information. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS at Advice for everyone – Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The council’s Stay Safe, Be Kind campaign offers clear and simple advice about how people can help themselves, and how they can support others who may be particularly vulnerable at this time. For more information, please visit Stay Safe, Be Kind.