Lockdown easing again next week

2:46pm - 26 March 2021

Current lockdown rules will change again on Monday (29 March) when six people or two households will be allowed to socialise outdoors.

This easing coincides with warmer spring days ahead, the clocks going forward this weekend to give an extra hour of daylight in the evenings, and the upcoming Easter weekend.

Many people will be looking forward to brighter days and getting back to doing the things they love with friends and family.

However, we must take it slowly, one step at a time. If we rush back, we will be risking more lives. 

Please keep following the government guidelines set out in the road map, resist the urge to skip ahead, and keep being kind to each other.

The changes coming from Monday (29 March) are:

  • people can meet outside, either with one other household or within the ‘rule of six’, including in private gardens
  • the stay at home rule is ending – but please continue to stay local as much as possible. Continue to work from home where possible and avoid travel at the busiest times.
  • outdoor sport facilities are re-opening, including golf courses and tennis and basketball courts, and formally organised outdoor sports can restart
  • Weddings can take place, attended by up to six people.

You may now be looking at places to visit over the Easter bank holiday weekend. However, despite the stay at home order being lifted, the government is still advising people to stay local.

If you do venture out, remember your group should be no more than six people or two households and you should continue to stay at least two metres away from anyone not in your household or support bubble.

Essential shops and hospitality will not be open for Easter so plan ahead and think about what you may need while you’re out.

Make your plans flexible so that if you arrive at your destination and it is very busy, you can continue on to find a quieter spot. Please take your rubbish home with you.

By continuing to follow the health advice – washing your hands, covering your face if you can and making space – we can unlock slowly and safely and look forward to doing more of what we love in the coming months.

It is hoped more restrictions can be lifted on Monday 12 April, so long as targets on coronavirus are being met. These will include:

  • all shops being allowed to open, along with close-contact services such as hairdressers and beauty salons (including in people’s homes)
  • restaurants and pubs allowed to serve food and alcohol to customers sitting outdoors
  • gyms and spas can reopen, and public buildings such as zoos, theme parks, libraries and community centres
  • members of the same household can take a holiday in the UK in self-contained accommodation
  • weddings attended by up to 15 people can take place.

Testing for coronavirus continues

If you show symptoms of coronavirus, no matter how mild, you must book a test, even if you suspect there may be another cause, such as a cold or vaccination side effects.

If you have primary, secondary or college-aged children, or work or volunteer in the community, you’re still encouraged to get tested for coronavirus twice a week.

Rapid testing centres are operating at Hutton Moor leisure centre in Weston-super-Mare, Scotch Horn leisure centre in Nailsea and Somerset Hall in Portishead.

All are open daily from 8.30am-5.30pm, with evening opening until 7.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Book a test online.

Home testing kits are also available for collection from these sites. You can drop in without an appointment at any time when the sites are open to pick up kits.

For families and bubbles which include school or college-aged children, home testing kits are also available for collection from Locking Road car park in Weston-super-Mare and Bristol Airport every day between 1pm and 8pm.

North Somerset Together can also help if  you need to self-isolate, offering information about practical and financial support.

Five steps to a healthy bank holiday

Local GPs are asking people to do a ‘five-step check’ to prepare for the long Easter bank holiday weekend.

Many GP surgeries and pharmacies will be closed or have reduced opening hours so it’s important to know where to get help if you need it.

The five steps are:

1 – pick up prescriptions if you’re due to run out over the bank holiday

2 – check your medicine cabinet is well stocked so you can self-care for any minor illnesses

3 – know which pharmacists are open if you need emergency medication or advice

4 – use 111 first for urgent care

5 – use A&E for life threatening emergencies only.

If you need medical help over the bank holiday weekend and it can’t wait, use the 111 service.

Operators will help you get the right help at the right time in the right location, such as the out-of-hours GP or Minor Injury Unit in Clevedon.

For life-threatening emergencies, call 999 or go straight to A&E.

If you arrive with a non-emergency condition, you are likely to be directed to a more appropriate service.