With Covid-19 infection rates continuing to rise across Bath, local residents, businesses and visitors are being urged to remain cautious following the lifting of restrictions.
From today, Monday 19th July, the majority of legal restrictions to control Covid-19 have been lifted at step 4 and new government guidance has been introduced.
Councillor Kevin Guy, leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “Just because the restrictions are being lifted doesn’t mean Covid has gone away.
“Case numbers are rising, frontline NHS and social care health staff are still under considerable pressure, as are businesses and organisations. So, we need to be cautious, look after each other and continue to minimise the risk of catching and spreading Covid.
“We’re also asking people to be respectful to our staff who are working to keep us all safe and we won’t tolerate abusive behaviour towards them.
“The good news is that we know the vaccine reduces the risk of getting very ill and we are urging people to get their first and second jabs and to follow the new guidance.”
The new guidance says you will not need to stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with and there will be no limits on the number of people you can meet.
The requirement to wear face coverings in law have also been lifted. However, the government has said it expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport.
People are being advised to minimise risk at a time of high prevalence, to limit the close contact with those you do not usually live with and increase close contact gradually.
This includes minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts.
Becky Reynolds, B&NES director of Public Health, said: “While it is understandable that many people are looking forward to Monday with anticipation, opening is not without some risk and many in our communities remain vulnerable.
“We can all help reduce risks by getting double jabbed and getting tested if we have symptoms and self-isolating if the test is positive.
“We can also continue to clean our hands regularly, wear a face covering in crowded areas and have good ventilation in buildings – better still meet outdoors where possible.
“All this helps each of us reduce the risk to ourselves and others.”
From today, people entering B&NES Council buildings including the Guildhall and local libraries will be expected to wear a face covering unless exempt.
While social distancing will no longer be a legal requirement, people are being encouraged to respect personal space.
The Roman Baths, Fashion Museum and Victoria Art Gallery will be maintaining reduced capacity, booking tickets in advance, and asking visitors and staff to keep social distancing and wear a facemask unless exempt while in the indoor sections of the museums.
The majority of measures that were introduced to help with social distancing on narrow pavements and busy streets will start to be removed in line with government guidance.
Roads will be returned to as they were before, and any parking spaces that were temporarily removed will be restored.
Temporary access restrictions in the city centre will however remain in place “for the time being”.
Roads affected include Cheap Street, Westgate Street, Saw Close, Upper Borough Walls, York Street, Milsom Street and Kingsmead Square.
A number of temporary disabled bays have been provided in nearby roads, which can be seen here.