Staffordshire residents are being urged to work together to continue to stop the spread of covid-19, after the county moved to the Very High Alert tier today.
This means, despite falling Covid rates and the end of lockdown, the county faces the toughest restrictions and many pubs, restaurants and cafes will remain largely closed.
Alan White, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said everyone now must stick to the rules so restrictions can be lifted as quickly as possible.
Alan said: “As a county council, we are doing everything in our powers to continue to bring the number of cases down and protect lives and livelihoods.
“Our goal is to persuade the Government to ease restrictions and move us down from Very High Alert as quickly as possible, so people can get back more of the freedoms they once enjoyed.
“The best way to do this, is for everyone to stick to the rules and get tested if they have symptoms or are asked to do so.”
Secretary of State Matt Hancock announced last week that both Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent would be one of three West Midlands Sub Regions to be moved to Very High Alert from today.
The county council and the city council have pledged to work together and with the Government to get the best financial deal for affected businesses while in the Very High Alert tier and also secure greater support for the roll out of rapid testing.
The Very High Alert Level from today means:
- No mixing anywhere indoors with other households, unless part of your support bubble
- Up to six people can meet in outdoor public places, but not in private gardens
- Hospitality, such as pubs and restaurants to stay shut, apart for takeaways and drive-through services
- Gyms and non-essential shops to reopen
- Work from home if you can, avoid non-essential travel and no overnight stays outside the area
- Wedding receptions banned
Full details can be found at www.gov.uk
Staffordshire is also one of 66 local authorities to take part in the roll out of rapid testing for people without symptoms – with up to 10 per cent of the population eventually set to be tested every week.
Dr Richard Harling, Director of Health and Care, said: “Identifying more people who have the virus, so they can self-isolate, will help us reduce the spread of infection.
“So, if you have symptoms or are asked to get tested because you live in a Covid hotspot where cases are increasing, then it is important that you do so.
“We also all need to remember the basics of: Washing our hands regularly, wearing a face covering and keeping our distance. All are simple steps, which together can make all the difference.”