Clear message to stay home and save lives this Easter

Health, council and police bosses are sending a clear message to Walsall residents ahead of the Easter bank holiday weekend – stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

With the long weekend fast approaching, and the weather expected to continue to improve, residents are urged to follow the national advice in a collective effort to protect the NHS and save lives.

The government restrictions, which have been in place for more than two weeks are very clear. People should only leave their homes for limited purposes, including one form of exercise a day, to fetch basic necessities infrequently, for medical needs and to go to work but only where it is not possible to work from home.

When people are away from their home they need to follow social distancing guidelines and stay two metres apart from others. No more than two people should gather in public, unless they are members of the same household.

Police have extra powers to enforce these measures. Officers are adopting an approach based on engaging, explaining and encouraging people to comply with the restrictions, using enforcement powers as a last resort.

Councillor Mike Bird, Leader of Walsall Council said, “Preventing the spread of coronavirus is a national effort and one we are all responsible for. For the vast majority of us the government guidelines have become the new norm and we are slowly getting used to life with these restrictions in place. We all understand what is at stake if we ignore the rules.

“But for those who still don’t understand the gravity of the situation, let me remind you, that this weekend isn’t your normal Bank Holiday weekend. It is not one for meeting up with friends and family or heading out for a day at the park. It is one where we continue to do our bit to protect the NHS by staying at home and saving lives.

“For now our parks and open spaces will remain open and people are welcome to walk, cycle or run through them but they must not stay or congregate under any circumstances. This is something that is constantly under review and I will not hesitate to close parks if people are unable to follow these very simple rules.”

Dr Anand Rischie, Local GP and Chair of NHS Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group said, “GP practices across Walsall will be offering appointments as usual on both Good Friday and Easter Monday if you or your family are unwell. In support of this, local pharmacies will also be open for patients too.

“GP Practice staff across Walsall are doing all they can to support their patients, whilst our local hospital supports those most in need. As the long Easter weekend approaches, it is vitally important that everyone continues to follow Government measures in order to protect the NHS and to save lives.”

Chief Superintendent Andy Parsons from Walsall Police, said: “I would like to thank the vast majority of people in Walsall who continue to act responsibly in line with government restrictions. Our officers are patrolling across our borough engaging with people, explaining the restrictions and encouraging people to comply, with enforcement being a last resort.

“We have been touched by the acts of kindness and generosity people from Walsall have been displaying towards each other.

“We are working closely with Walsall Council and other partners to ensure everyone continues to play their part in saving lives and protecting the NHS.”

As a reminder, people should only leave the house:

  • To shop for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  • For one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.
  • For any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • To travel to and from work, but only where work cannot be done from home.

When leaving the house, people should ensure they are two metres apart from anyone, other than members of your own household.

Government guidance on Coronavirus is available at gov.uk/coronavirus. Advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus can be found at nhs.uk/coronavirus.

There is also a wealth of local advice at https://go.walsall.gov.uk/covid-19_information and accessible advice and information at https://go.walsall.gov.uk/covid-19_information/covid-19_-_translatedcovid-19_guidance_and_accessible_formats.