Southend prepares for further easing of lockdown restrictions

Southend Council has welcomed further easing of lockdown measures from May 17 but is urging residents and visitors to Southend to remain cautious.

The government has confirmed step 3 of their roadmap to recovery will commence from Monday as infection rates and hospital admissions continue to decrease in line with scientific modelling.

Step 3 changes mean:

  • Up to 6 people or 2 households will be able to meet indoors and up to 30 people outdoors
  • Pubs, restaurants and cafes are allowed to serve customers indoors
  • Museums, theatres and cinemas can open
  • Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen
  • Adult indoor group exercise classes can restart

With relaxed rules on social distancing, people can choose whether or not to keep a physical distance from family and friends they don’t live with.

Krishna Ramkhelawon, Southend’s Director of Public Health, said: “Further easing of lockdown measures is fantastic news for residents, visitors and our local economy. Please be mindful that close contact continues to carry a risk of catching or spreading COVID-19, and people must consider the risk to themselves and others.

“Some people are more vulnerable to COVID than others. Therefore, continue to exercise caution and where appropriate consider using the hands, face, space, fresh air approach.”

To ensure the borough is ready for the easing of restrictions, the council has been running Operation Heatwave since March. The plan was developed with local stakeholders including traders, Leigh Town Council, Southend BID and Southend Tourism Partnership, and aims to help visitors plan their visit, dispose of litter responsibly, find available parking spaces and stay safe.

Cllr Trevor Harp, Cabinet Member for Health & Adult Social Care, said: “COVID-secure rules will also remain for the workplace and businesses, such as in shops and hospitality.

“The council has engaged with businesses and stakeholders offering advice and considerations about reopening safely and responsibly. Guidance includes how to run a COVID-secure establishment such as risk assessments, use of face coverings, social distancing, one-way systems, number restrictions, use of electronic payment, pre-booking and test and trace information. A dedicated regulatory service email is also in place to provide advice for businesses who may have positive test results in their workforce.”

Rapid COVID-19 self-test kits

The council’s community collect initiative is still running which means rapid COVID-19 self-test kits are being offered to everyone living and working in the borough.

You can collect LFD testing kits from participating pharmacies which can be found on an interactive map at: https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/findatestcenter.htm

LFD testing kits will also be available at the following libraries:

  • Southchurch library
  • The Forum, Southend-on-Sea
  • Westcliff-on-Sea library
  • Kent Elms library
  • Leigh-on-Sea library

Visit www.southend.gov.uk/gettested for more information on local COVID-19 testing.

Step 4 of the government’s roadmap is due to take place no earlier than June 21.

Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]