People across Bedfordshire are being urged not to become complacent and continue to play their part in ensuring cases of COVID continue to fall.
On Monday (29 March 2021), the ‘stay at home’ rule ended and up to six people and two households can now meet outside, including in private gardens.
This rule change means that families and friends can get together outside in time for the long Easter weekend.
However, people are asked to minimise the number of journeys they make where possible and avoid travelling at the busiest times and routes.
Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools, are also allowed to re-open, and people will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.
Bedfordshire Police Chief Superintendent John Murphy said:
“Over the past 12 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be a huge challenge for all of us. It has affected us all individually and sadly so many people have lost their lives to this virus.
“A year on and after what has felt like a very long winter, we are still living with certain restrictions, but cases are continuing to drop across the county and a large amount of our residents have received their first dose of the vaccine.
“We are now able to see friends and family in groups of six outside in time for the Easter weekend, which I know people will be very excited about after being apart for so long.
“However now is not a time to be complacent – although restrictions are being eased over the coming weeks, it will take some time to return to life before the pandemic.
“We know the vast majority of our residents are playing their part and sticking to the rules and would urge people to continue to remember hands, face, space and help us continue to keep Bedfordshire safe.”
In a joint statement, Vicky Head, director of public health for Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire, and Sally Cartwright, deputy director of public health for Luton, said:
“We wish you all a safe and enjoyable Easter bank holiday weekend, and remind people to please act responsibly.
“It is safer to meet in the fresh air and two households or up to six people can now legally meet outdoors, in private gardens or public open spaces. Remember to keep social distancing between different households, and wash/sanitise your hands regularly to protect yourselves and your communities. Let’s take this next step safely.”
Dr Sarah Whiteman, clinical chair of Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“Across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes we are making great strides with the roll out of the vaccination programme, to date over 361,000 people in the eligible groups have received their first vaccine.
“Whilst increasing numbers of our residents have been vaccinated it is vital to remember that individual immunity builds over time and is increased by the second vaccination.
“As restrictions start to lift it is important that even those who have received a vaccine continue to follow all of the guidance including social distancing, wearing face coverings and hand washing.”
Find out more about the current regulations and the government’s roadmap out of lockdown at gov.uk/coronavirus.