THE ‘ROADMAP’ out of lockdown has been welcomed by the leader of Stratford District Council.
Coun Tony Jefferson says the area has been harder hit than most and hopes government’s plan will mean tourists can return to the area.
But he is urging residents not to be complacent.
He told the Observer: “We are pleased government has signposted a preliminary path back to normality and that our businesses now have some indication on when they might be able to reopen – although we recognise this is very much a first stage in what could be quite lengthy transition.
“Stratford district has been particularly affected by the pandemic compared to other regions, so we know how important it is to get this recovery right – which means reopening gradually rather than quickly and risking further lockdowns.
“If all goes well, we hope to see tourists return to our district once again to enjoy all it as to offer and help the economy recover. Before that happens, we would implore everyone to continue to follow the rules and to encourage people to support Stratford district businesses as much as possible by purchasing from them online.”
The ‘roadmap’ will see children go back to school on March 8 and people allowed to meet one person in an outdoor space.
From March 29 outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be permitted, and outdoor sports will return.
And on April 12 non-essential shops, gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools will reopen. Self-catering holiday accommodation will also reopen and 30 people will be permitted at funerals with 15 able to attend weddings.
Pubs and restaurants will also be allowed to serve food and drink to people in groups of six outside.
On May 17 most social contact rules will be lifted, as well as limited mixing indoors.
And from June 21, all legal limits on social contact will be lifted.
Coun Jefferson’s words were echoed by Warwickshire County Council leader Izzi Seccombe, who also expressed her optimism towards the four-step plan to ease lockdown in England, while reminding residents to continue playing their part to control the virus.
She said testing was essential in lowering infection rates because around one in three people did not display symptoms when they catch coronavirus.
Coun Seccombe said: “It remains essential that our residents continue to do the right thing for Warwickshire and follow the rules so that we can continue to drive down the rates of infection and hospital admissions.
“There is still a way to go, as we move towards a more normal way of life, and covid-19 testing and support for the nationwide vaccination programme remain essential in reducing the transmission of the virus in our communities.”
Community testing is available at The Other Place on Southern Lane and results take around an hour.
Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk for more information.