Council prepares for Step 2 of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown
In-line with government guidance, teams across Swindon Borough Council are preparing for the next stage of the roadmap out of lockdown.
Published: Friday, 9th April 2021
From Monday (12 April), the further lifting of lockdown restrictions will take place, after confirmation on Monday, 5 April, that Step 2 of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown would proceed as planned.
As part of Step 2, changes from Monday will include the reopening of non-essential retail, personal care premises, such as hairdressers and beauty salons, as well as public buildings such as libraries and community centres. Hospitality venues, including pubs, can also open in outdoor settings for up to six people, or two different households.
The Council is working closely with local businesses to ensure they understand and comply with the guidance around reopening safely.
In preparation for these changes in the town centre, the Council has added extra signage to promote social distancing and tape has been made available via inSwindon ambassadors to refresh previous queue distance markings. Public toilets will be open 10am-4pm and attended by staff with an enhanced cleaning regime to ensure social distancing and cleanliness.
Additional ambassadors from InSwindon BID will also be out and about to remind people to maintain social distancing, and to give out hand sanitiser and face masks. The ambassadors will also have a gazebo in the Town Centre next week to provide support to local businesses.
Anita Bellinger, inSwindon BID Manager, said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome back those businesses that have had their restrictions lifted. Our team can’t wait to help Swindon Town Centre re-awaken and enjoy a safe and truly vibrant summer. We are incredibly fortunate to have an amazing community, and everyone is pulling together to #SupportLocal.”
Justin Britchford, Chair of Swindon’s Pubwatch, said: “We're delighted that hospitality can start to emerge from restrictions next week as planned on Monday 12 April. Venues across the town have been planning for this day for months now. We wish them luck and hope the public support these businesses.”
The Council’s five core libraries will also continue a phased reopening next week. The library shop will also resume its Shop, Select and Collect service and COVID-19 measures will be in place to ensure the safety of staff and customers. Residents can find out more information on the Council’s website: https://www.swindon.gov.uk/info/20026/libraries/1132/covid-19_-_reopening_our_libraries
Caution is still advised and residents must remember that many restrictions, including those around social contact remain in place. Outdoor gatherings must still be limited to six people or two households, and residents must not socialise indoors with anyone outside of their household or bubble.
Steve Maddern, Swindon Borough Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “While we are all looking forward to easing restrictions, we must remember what we have learnt over the past year. We hope that our residents will enjoy being able to socialise more and use our local economy but in a safe and sensible way to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.
“Council teams and partners have been working extremely closely together to ensure these next steps are taken carefully and with full caution. The priority has been, and still is, to ensure the safety of the staff working in these services and the residents that use them.”
Symptom-free testing is now available for all residents. The Government advises that the public should continue to make use of symptom-free testing even if they have had the COVID-19 vaccination. For more information, to find your nearest collection point or to order your home testing kit, go to https://www.nhs.uk/get-tested.
If residents are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, they should self-isolate immediately and book a free NHS PCR test online or by calling 119.
Further information about the support and guidance being offered by the Council during the pandemic can be found at: www.swindon.gov.uk/coronavirus.