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As temperatures go up, remember to socialise outdoors safely

As we enjoy the easing of lockdown restrictions and better weather, Sefton Council alongside Merseyside Police are reminding residents and visitors to enjoy the outdoors safely this weekend.

Under the latest Covid regulations, people are allowed to eat and drink outdoors while seated, but outdoor gatherings are still limited to six people or two households. The mixing of households indoors is still not permitted. 

Those looking to head to the coast are asked to explore travel options such as walking or cycling to avoid traffic jams and delays. If they do decide to take the car, they are reminded to park safely to respect local residents, pedestrians, cyclists and road users.

Don’t forget the basics – rule of 6, hands, spaces and face

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “Many of our residents might be planning garden gatherings or trips to the coast as the good weather persists, so I would just remind everyone to ensure they take extra precautions and stick to the rule of six or two household limit on meeting outdoors.

“You are less likely to catch Covid in the open air but it’s not impossible and we should try to follow the basics of hands, face and space when meeting with others and not sharing things like picnic or BBQ equipment. Our priority is to ensure the rate of transmission in our communities continues to fall and we can all play our part in that by following the guidance.” 

More Covid-19 safety advice and guidance here: www.sefton.gov.uk/covid-19-in-sefton/covid-19-local-lockdown-restrictions/

Support businesses safely

Sefton Council’s Environmental Health Team has been reminding the Borough’s businesses and their customers to follow the guidelines.

Peter Moore, Sefton Council’s Head of Highways & Public Protection said: “With another busy weekend expected for our popular hospitality sector, we are reminding business owners and managers of their obligation to following Covid-19 regulations. We’re really pleased to see our high streets open once again with the vast majority following the guidance in place to protect us all from the virus. It’s also important to remind customers and visitors to Sefton businesses to be considerate and to follow the requirements that are there to keep both them and the people serving them safe.”

People eating and drinking outside in Southport
People eating and drinking outside in Southport

Among the latest requirements for people visiting bars and restaurants that are open because they have outdoor facilities, is the need for them to be seated while drinking and eating. The volume of any music or TVs should be kept to background levels so people don’t have to raise their voices to chat.

Also, the national regulations now mean everyone visiting a bar or restaurant needs to ‘check in’ by scanning the QR code at the entrance, for Test and Trace purposes. Previously, it was just one person from each group.

Details of how businesses can create a QR code for their premises are at www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster

Help and support for businesses available from Sefton Council’s Environmental Health team who can be contact at ETSContact@sefton.gov.uk or by calling 0345 140 0345.

Also, the Government has produced 14 guides to help businesses keep their employees and customers safe. They cover a wide range of different types of work and workplace, which can be found at http://gov.uk/workingsafely.

Plan ahead when visiting the coast

Mark Shaw, Sefton Council’s Green Sefton Service Manager, said: “We’re working with our partners across our stunning 22-mile coastline to ensure that our beaches don’t get overcrowded and that facilities like toilets, bins and extra car parking are available to ensure we can all enjoy spending time at these locations.

Mark Shaw Green Sefton Service Manager at Ainsdale Beach
Mark Shaw Green Sefton Service Manager at Ainsdale Beach

“Our advice is that people should plan ahead before coming to any of Sefton’s coastal gateways – respect other beach users and follow the guidance of our rangers or other partners keeping you safe.

“If these areas get busy then people might want to consider a trip to a park or other outdoor attraction instead, now that more places are open for us to enjoy spending time with friends and loved ones outdoors.

“And whatever you bring to the coast with you, please take home – leave nothing but your footprints and help us to look after our protected coastal landscape and wildlife.”

Anyone still planning a visit to the Sefton coast should visit www.sefton.gov.uk/beaches to find out about travel options and facilities at its beaches and to read the Visitor Action Plan for 2021.

Police to patrol and reassure across Merseyside

Chief Inspector Peter Clark said: “We expect outdoor areas to be getting busier, especially as the temperature goes up, but would like to ask people to continue respecting the latest Covid guidelines by not gathering in large groups.

“Officers will continue to be out on patrol across Merseyside this weekend to offer guidance to the public and ensure people are adhering to the guidelines both inside and outside.

“While eating and drinking outdoors is a safer way to socialise, it also helps to support local businesses and reduce the risk of parks and outdoor spaces overcrowding. Now there are a wider number of outdoor settings and attractions open, we hope people who are able to will consider enjoying these, taking the pressure off our local beauty spots.

“Police will be working with partners to ensure seating rules are being followed at venues with outdoor seating areas.

“We want everyone to enjoy the latest stage of relaxed guidelines, however I want to reiterate the importance of following the guidance that remains in place to ensure that we can continue with the progress that has already been made.

“Lastly, I’d like to thank the vast majority of residents and businesses for supporting the latest stage of the Covid roadmap and helping Merseyside to move forward safely.”