"We’re starting to feel our spirits lift slowly": Health chief cautiously optimistic as lockdown eases

Sheffield’s Director of Public Health is cautiously optimistic ahead of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown moving onto a further stage on Monday 12 April.

Friday, 9th April 2021, 6:13 pm

Greg Fell, Director of Public Health for Sheffield said: “Many of us will be feeling relieved that on Monday we can start to do even more. All shops will be allowed to open and those who need it will be able to get that long awaited haircut.

"Whilst it’s great that the lockdown is easing, we want it to be the last one, so I’m still emphasising the importance of hands, face, space and letting fresh air in when we are indoors –we must continue to be cautious and not stop doing the right things too soon.

“We are putting huge efforts into making sure that any public buildings that re-open are Covid secure, we’re working with our schools to make sure they have the right measures in place to keep our children safe, as many of us as possible are working from home and we’re doing very well in managing positive cases to reduce the spread of the virus with our track and trace work.

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Director of Public Health Greg Fell in Peace Gardens during lockdown.
Director of Public Health Greg Fell in Peace Gardens during lockdown.

"We continue to offer care and support to those who need help to self-isolate to help reduce the spread of the virus.

“Remember, if you or your child has symptoms, get a test and self-isolate until you get your result – this all helps towards stopping the spread.

“Vaccinations across the city are happening at pace, this is fantastic and we need to keep it up! If you’re offered a vaccine, take up the offer to protect yourself and those around you. Covid doesn’t just affect the elderly, there are many younger adults who have been and continue to be affected.

“It’s important to end on a positive note – we’re moving in the right direction, we’re starting to feel our spirits lift slowly and that’s because we’re following the guidelines. If we keep it up, it will only get better!”

Monday will see the opening of non-essential retail, personal care premises such as hairdressers, beauty and nail salons and public buildings, including libraries and community centres. Sheffield libraries will open for ‘People’s Network’ pre-booked computer use only.

Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will also reopen (except for saunas and steam rooms) for use only by people on their own or with their household. Saunas and steam rooms will remain closed though until the next stage of the roadmap.

Most outdoor attractions and settings will re-open including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas. Self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.

Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors and there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew, although customers must order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’). Wider social contact rules will apply in all these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households.

People should continue to work from home where they can, and minimise domestic travel where they can.

While funerals can continue with up to 30 mourners, the number of people able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15.

Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons. Holidays abroad will not be allowed, given it will remain important to manage the risk of imported variants and protect the vaccination programme. The government has launched a new taskforce to review global travel which will report on 12 April.

Children will be able to attend any indoor children's activity and care home visitors will increase to two per resident.