From today (Monday 29 March):
- groups of up to 6 people or 2 households can gather in parks and gardens - though people from different households should continue to practice social distancing at all times
- outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts can reopen, with organised adult and children’s sport including grassroots football able to return
- the ‘stay at home’ order has ended, with the Government instead encouraging people to ‘stay local’ instead
- people should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make, avoiding travel at the busiest times
- people who have been shielding do not need to do so from 1 April onwards
There are no other changes at this stage – for instance, non essential retail and close contact services such as hairdressers remain closed while travel abroad continues to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons. Further changes are expected on 12 April, subject to various tests being met. For full details, please visit GOV.UK and Covid Alert.
John Denley, Wolverhampton's Director of Public Health, said: "The fact that, today, we are able to take another tentative step out of lockdown is thanks to the magnificent work of local people to help drive down the Covid-19 infection rate over the last few months.
"Unfortunately, however, the virus hasn't gone away. Case numbers have started to creep back up in recent days and we should not lose sight of the fact that 168 people in Wolverhampton tested positive for Covid-19 last week. This means that any relaxation of restrictions is a calculated risk, but it is one that we must take if we are going to get back to some sense of normality.
"We've done incredibly well to get this far – our next challenge is to make sure that the changes that have been made today and which are planned in the coming weeks don't cause a spike in infections. That would jeopardise the progress we have made and affect our chances of being able to leave lockdown safely.
"So, let's make this the last lockdown we have. Please play your part by remaining vigilant and continuing to do everything you can to stop the spread of Covid-19; if you go out, practice Hands, Face, Space, and if you are meeting up with anyone who is not in your household please ensure you continue social distance.
“When you are invited to get the Covid-19 vaccine, whether that is your first or second dose, please make sure you get it. Well over 100,000 people in Wolverhampton have now had at least one dose, and the sooner we are all vaccinated, the safer we will be.
“Please also remember to get PCR test if you have symptoms of coronavirus, or a rapid test if you don't. Doing all of this will stop the spread of the virus and help us successfully take this next step out of lockdown."
Latest figures show there were 63.7 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the 7 days to 26 March. That means 168 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that 7 day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be higher.
More information on rapid testing for people without symptoms of Covid-19 is available at Coronavirus Testing.
Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19, including a fever, a new continuous cough or a change to the sense of taste or smell, should immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test – not a rapid test – by visiting GOV.UK or calling 119.