Portsmouth residents will need to take personal responsibility for the risks of catching and spreading Covid-19 from Monday 19 July, when most legal restrictions on social contact will be removed along with the requirement to wear a face covering. The Leader of Portsmouth City Council urges everyone to continue to respect and care for each other by doing the right thing in all circumstances, saying “we’ve come too far to let our guard down now”.
Portsmouth City Council Leader, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson continues, “I’m sure many residents and businesses will be very pleased Covid-19 rules are being lifted, but the youngest among us still aren’t fully vaccinated. So I urge business leaders to continue following Covid-19 guidance to protect their staff and customers. Our team of covid community engagement officers will continue to offer advice on safety measures businesses like shops, hairdressers, bars and cafes, can take to protect their staff and customers from the spread of coronavirus.
“To help protect the public when using our services, which remain up and running, we’re asking all staff and visitors to council offices, including libraries and community centres, to continue to wear a face covering and keep a social distance. And, as the Government recommends, we will organise a gradual return to the work place for staff who are working from home. Having more people in our buildings immediately would create the potential for infection to spread, which could result in numerous staff needing to self-isolate, leaving us unable to deliver the services our residents rely on.”
From Monday, to help reduce the spread of Covid-19, the guidance advises that wearing a face-covering will reduce the risk of becoming infected where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces. From step four, social distancing will only be required in limited circumstances such as in hospitals and GP surgeries.
All businesses and venues, including nightclubs, will be allowed to open and there will no longer be capacity limits at sporting, entertainment, or business events. Hospitality venues such as pubs, restaurants and bars will no longer be required to provide table service or follow other social distancing rules.
Dominique Le Touze, Consultant in Public Health Portsmouth City Council, comments, “Many people are looking forward to the return of a more ‘normal life’ as most regulations end on Monday. However, Covid-19 is still with us, and cases of infection are rising in Portsmouth. So please do continue to practice caution. There are actions we can all take to limit the spread of infection, such as choosing to wear face coverings in crowded areas, indoor spaces, or when asked to. Washing hands regularly will still be key in reducing the spread of the virus, as will making space between you and other people when out and about.
“It is still the case that the more people we meet, the more opportunities there are for the virus to spread, which is why making sure you get both doses of the vaccine – now eight weeks apart – is crucial. Getting vaccinated will reduce the chance of developing serious illness but we don’t yet fully understand how effective vaccines are at preventing the virus being passed from one person to another. Regular asymptomatic testing, will help reduce the spread of infection by identifying the one in three who become infected but show no symptoms.”
Anyone can get free twice-weekly rapid home test kits for when they are symptom-free to help stop the spread of coronavirus. The more people who get tested regularly, the greater the ability to reduce the spread of infection. Home test kits are free and can be collected from many outlets around Portsmouth.
Anyone aged 18 years and over can get their first dose vaccination, or second dose if it’s been at least eight weeks since the first. Book online, call 119, or attend a walk-in vaccination now available at the following locations with no appointments needed:
- St James’ Hospital, Locksway Road, 8 am-7.30 pm, throughout July
- Goldchem Pharmacy, Albert Road, Southsea, various times, daily until 17 July
- Laly’s Pharmacy, Guildhall Walk, various times, daily until 25 July