The next stage of England’s easing from coronavirus restrictions will begin on Monday (17 May), in accordance with the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
This means that from Monday:
* Indoor hospitality can reopen
* Indoor entertainment can resume, including in cinemas, museums, and children’s play areas
* Up to six people or two households will be able to meet indoors, and up to 30 people outdoors
* All remaining outdoor entertainment can reopen, such as outdoor cinemas and performances
* Some larger events will be able to take place, including conferences, theatre and concert performances, and sports events. (Restrictions on the number of attendees will remain as set out in the government’s roadmap)
* People can make informed, personal decisions on close contact, such as hugging, with their friends and family. It’s important to remember that close contact continues to carry a risk of catching or spreading Covid-19, and people must consider the risk to themselves and to others.
Covid-secure rules remain for the workplace and businesses, such as in shops and hospitality. We’ve got lots of information here on working safely while coronavirus is still around.
And a big well done, Sandwell! We want to thank businesses in our borough for their ongoing support in preventing the spread of Covid-19.
Council chiefs say the vast majority of businesses which reopened from 12 April – as well as those that remained open for essential items earlier in the year – have followed government rules and made sure the necessary safety measures are in place for staff and shoppers alike.
Deputy Council Leader Councillor Maria Crompton said: “We know it’s been a very difficult time for businesses – and we really want to thank all those businesses and their staff who have been following the rules and doing everything they can to keep people safe.
“Our environmental protection team, along with the police, have been visiting businesses across the borough to check compliance and offer advice and guidance.
“They’ve made more than 170 visits since 12 April alone, and environmental health and trading standards officers have carried out around twenty follow-up visits where concerns have been identified.
“Overall compliance has been very good and the majority of businesses welcome the additional support and guidance. We want to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who’s played their part as well as to our staff and the police for the work they have done.
“With a further easing of restrictions due next week, we would urge everyone to keep following the rules for everyone’s safety and to know the council and police will still be visiting premises and taking action on any reports of non-compliance.
“The last thing we need is another spike in infections. We’ve come so far and infection rates have fallen dramatically, but there is still a killer virus out there.”
Reporting your concerns
If a shop or business isn’t taking steps to keep you safe (for example if there’s poor social distancing, if they’re not encouraging the use of face coverings, or if a pub or restaurant isn’t taking contact details), then the message is simple: don’t go there.
Email PHCovid19_Enquiries@sandwell.gov.uk if you have a concern about a business in Sandwell.
Small businesses with ten or fewer staff can collect rapid test kits from West Bromwich Town Hall. Regular testing is the best way to keep yourself, your staff and all your loved ones safe. Just turn up at the town hall and collect your tests between 1pm and 5pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
People are also reminded of the importance of getting a Covid-19 PCR test and self-isolating, together with their household, if they develop Covid-19 symptoms.
Visit www.sandwell.gov.uk/testsandwell for more information on testing.
Becoming a Sandwell Vaccination Leader
Business leaders can play an important role in improving the health of their staff and, by extension, the whole community.
Sandwell Public Health is offering local business owners and managers the opportunity to attend a free two-hour training programme and become a Sandwell Vaccination Leader.
If you’re interested in doing the training, sign up for one of two new online dates –
Wednesday 26 May, 1pm – 3pm
Wednesday 2 June, 1pm – 3pm
– by emailing PHCovid19Community@sandwell.gov.uk stating:
* Your name
* Your organisation
* Why you want to be a Covid-19 Sandwell Vaccination Leader
* Which session you would like to book onto.
Thank you for your ongoing work in helping to keep Covid-19 rates down in Sandwell!
> Go to our coronavirus resources for Sandwell businesses.