'Keep your distance' - Warning ahead of first weekend out of lockdown

Dominique Murphy-DeNeef.

Gather your six friends for a pint in the spring sunshine from April 12 - Credit: Dominique Murphy-DeNeef.

Enjoy seeing your loved ones, but keep your distance – that is the message from Norfolk’s public health bosses.

It comes ahead of the first weekend since the easing of the government restrictions. 

Diane Steiner, deputy director of Public Health at Norfolk County Council, warned everyone to remain vigilant and not to forget that the virus is still present. 

She said: “I think we’re all glad to have a bit more of an opportunity to see friends and family outdoors, but it is critical that we remember Covid is still very much with us and we still need to be very cautious.  

“The lockdown isn’t being lifted all at once and that’s for a reason, which is to allow more people to get vaccinated and to assess the impact of every step of the roadmap before taking the next step.” 

Although rates in the county have dropped significantly, Ms Steiner said those numbers have now plateaued due to an increase in symptom-free testing and rapid testing being used in schools and workplaces. 

But as people begin mixing once again, she warned about a rise in the rates. 

“With the school holidays and the bank holiday coming up, we need to keep to the restrictions, and that includes maintaining social distancing while we’re meeting up in a group of six or two households.  

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“That even applies to people who have been vaccinated. We still need to be keeping ourselves, our family, and our friends safe. 

“How much cases rise will depend in part how we behave in our day-to-day lives.” 

Over the next few weeks, the main concern will be the number of infections rising quicker than expected. People are being urged to have both doses of their vaccine when offered, and for pubs and businesses to make sure their premises are as Covid-secure as possible. 

Ms Steiner added: “We will continue to monitor and deal with outbreaks as they arise 

“It’s a good time, with the rates lower now, to try and contain the spread of the virus as much as possible. 

“We know moving to that step two will be no earlier than April 12, depending on the government’s review of the data, and in order to help businesses reopen we have produced a new toolkit with guidance and resources, such as posters.” 

- The toolkit can be found here.

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