Groups of up to 6 people will be able to meet outside from next week – as long as people from different households continue to strictly observe the existing social distancing measures and remain 2 metres apart.
People will be able to meet in public open spaces, such as parks and, for the first time, in gardens and other private outdoor spaces.
The changes were announced by the Government last night and will mean that larger groups of friends or relatives will be able to meet in person for the first time in over two months.
John Denley, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Director of Public Health, said: "The gradual relaxation of the lockdown will be hugely welcomed by many and it's clearly very good news that residents will now be able to meet up, outside, with small groups of friends and wider family members from Monday.
"It’s really important to stress, however, that social distancing measures remain in place and it is essential we all continue to follow these if we are to contain the spread of coronavirus.
"People from different households need to keep at least 2 metres apart, and these meetings should only happen in public open spaces such as parks, or in private gardens – not indoors.
“We should also avoid seeing people from too many households in a short period of time, so that we can avoid the risk of quick transmission to lots of different families and continue to control the virus.
“The virus can be spread on surfaces, so when meeting with people from other households please avoid passing or touching shared items without careful handwashing and cleaning.”
He added: “While there is now permission to see others, this change in guidance must be followed with caution. Limiting the number of people that we see, even at a safe distance, remains the most powerful way to prevent the spread of the virus. We must all continue to stay alert and stay at home as much as we can.”
People still need to:
- stay at home as much as possible
- work from home if you can
- limit contact with other people
- keep your distance if you go out (two metres apart where possible)
- wash your hands regularly
- do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms
Separate guidance remains in place for those considered extremely vulnerable, or who are shielding. People should continue to follow the advice they have previously received from medical professionals.
From this week, anyone in Wolverhampton who tests positive for Covid-19 will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about people they have recently been in contact with.
These interactions could include household members or other people they have been in direct contact with, or anyone they have been within 2 metres with for more than 15 minutes.
People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has had a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, in order to stop unwittingly spreading the virus.
If those in isolation develop symptoms they should book a test at NHS or by calling 119. If they test positive, they must continue to stay at home for seven days or until their symptoms have passed. If they test negative, they must continue and complete the 14 day isolation period.
Members of their household will not have to stay at home unless the person identified develops symptoms, at which point they must also self-isolate for 14 days to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.
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.
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.