Bolton residents have been encouraged to keep themselves and others safe as we enter Step 4 of the government’s COVID-19 roadmap.
Earlier this week, the prime minister confirmed that all legal restrictions will end on Monday, July 19th but stressed the public must “proceed with caution”.
It means that individuals, organisations and businesses will make their own decisions about COVID precautions.
Cases in Bolton remain high and everyone is urged to do their part to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
Gradual and cautious
While COVID-19 restrictions will no longer be legally enforced from Monday, the government has called for a gradual and cautions reopening.
The government has ended the instruction to work from home but has recommended a “gradual return to work over the summer”.
As before, anyone with COVID-19 symptoms must self-isolate immediately and book a test through the national portal.
Regular home testing with free lateral flow device (LFD) tests can identify people who are infectious but not showing symptoms, and everyone is encouraged to take two LFD tests a week.
Tack and trace systems will remain in place, alongside the use of the NHS COVID app and anyone who is a close contact of someone testing positive should also self-isolate.
Only after August 16, people who are fully vaccinated or are under 18, will no longer need to self-isolate because of being in contact with someone who has tested positive. Although they will be encouraged to take a PCR test to confirm their status.
Everyone aged 18 years and above is urged to get two doses of the vaccine as soon as possible.
Bolton Council’s Director of Public Health, Dr Helen Lowey, said:
“Everyone in Bolton has worked so hard over the past 18 months, and more recently over the past few weeks to bring COVID-19 under control, but we need to be mindful that our rates are still high and we should keep up that good work to get our rates down.
“The best way to do that is to keep following public health precautions such as wearing face coverings, washing hands, social distancing, keeping rooms well ventilated and meeting outdoors.
“It remains essential that everyone keeps taking regular tests at home and protects others by self-isolating if they test positive.
“The vaccine remains our best defence against COVID-19 and everyone should get both doses as soon as they are eligible.”
Make an informed decision
Events, hospitality, and other businesses will be allowed to operate fully from Monday, including nightclubs - with capacity caps lifted, and an end to the “table service only” rule.
But owners and customers are encouraged to make informed decisions about how to manage the risk to themselves and to others.
Face coverings are recommended in crowded and enclosed spaces along with other precautions such as social distancing, protective screens, hand sanitiser and the continued use of the track and trace app.
Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Environmental Regulatory Services, Hilary Fairclough, said:
“This has been an extremely challenging time for local businesses, particularly those in the hospitality sector.
“From Monday, as they begin to operate more freely, we will continue to support businesses in keeping themselves, their staff and their customers safe.
“Cafes, restaurants pubs and shops will make their own judgements on COVID safety measures and we urge everyone to respect those decisions.
“There will be many young people, many of them working in hospitality, who haven’t yet been fully vaccinated so it is important they are protected.”