Bedfordshire’s emergency services issue stark warning ahead of lockdown easing

Police on the beat

Bedfordshire NHS, Police and Local Authorities have issued a stark warning to people ahead of lockdown restrictions being eased this weekend.

While pubs and restaurants will open for the first time since March, they are reminding  people that coronavirus is still in our community and infection rates remain high.

Read: Customer safety “top priority” as Bedford pubs reopen tomorrow

“The virus hasn’t gone away and we must all stay vigilant to slow the spread and lower the infection rate,” said Dr Nicola Smith, Clinical Chair for NHS BLMK Clinical Commissioning Groups.

Despite national lockdown easing, if people are visiting pubs, restaurants and other businesses, that are being asked to:

  • Stay two metres away from others
  • Wear a face covering if travelling on public transport
  • Wash your hands regularly with warm soapy water or use hand sanitiser

“Please remember that anyone can spread coronavirus and anyone can get it,” added Dr Smith.

“Even if you aren’t presenting symptoms, you can still be carrying the virus. We all have a role to play in protecting ourselves, loved ones, family and friends.”

Alongside the NHS, partners from across the area are working hard to make sure Bedfordians stay safe and well this weekend.

Bedfordshire Police Deputy Chief Constable Trevor Rodenhurst added: “We will be resuming our usual patrols for weekend social hotspots across the county, including areas where we see typically high footfall and lots of licensed venues.

“We have worked closely with our partners in health, local authorities and the venues themselves, represented by our Pub Watch liaison group, to prepare to safely facilitate this return.

Bedfordshire Police maintain that their role in the latest government guidance is to help explain and encourage the advice around social distancing, hygiene and safety.

This will be alongside their usual role of protecting the public from any wider criminal behaviour.

Bedford’s Mayor, Dave Hodgson, joined all other local authority leaders in Bedford in supporting the reminder.

“While this is a significant moment in our fight against this deadly disease, and is welcome news for the many businesses who have suffered extreme hardship over the last three months, we urge everyone to remain extremely vigilant,” he said.

“Any further lockdowns would be even more catastrophic for businesses so if you do plan to go out, please do so in small groups, keep a two-metre distance at all times and regularly wash your hands.”

Symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • A new continuous cough
  • High temperature
  • Loss or change in taste or smell

If you develop these, use the NHS 111 coronavirus online service and book a test immediately. If you test positive, you and your household must self-isolate for 14 days.

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