On behalf of Bristol’s Local Engagement Board, city leaders have come together to share a message of caution as the city remains in Step 3 of the government’s COVID-19 roadmap.
Amid rising infection rates and an increased presence of the Delta variant (the variant first identified in India) across the country, the government has announced a four week delay to the further easing of national restrictions.
On Monday 17 May, it was announced that the country was moving into Step 3 of the roadmap. This guidance will now remain in place until the next review, scheduled for Monday 19 July.
Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees said: “I know this will be disappointing news for many of you after such a challenging past eighteen months.
“I’m particularly conscious of the ongoing effect of current restrictions on our night-time and hospitality industries, and echo the concerns expressed by the Night Time Industries Association about the impact on the sector. Many of our venues have spent the last two months rebuilding from the ground up to prepare for reopening, and many people will feel anxious as a result of this postponement, including the approximately 32,000 people in jobs related to night-time cultural and leisure activities in Bristol. I want to reassure you that we continue to push calls for ongoing support for individuals and businesses while public health restrictions remain in place.
“However, the final step of the government’s roadmap is being delayed for a reason. Our infection rate in Bristol is rising sharply, as in other areas of the country. We have not met the four scientific tests to allow us to safely ease restrictions further.
“Please be vigilant, to help us bring down infection rates and protect Bristol, so that restrictions can be eased in July. Do come forward for your vaccination if you are eligible, make full use of Bristol’s testing programmes and remember: Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air.”
Director for Communities and Public Health for Bristol, Christina Gray said: “It is concerning to see rates across Bristol and the rest of the UK are rising. Bristol’s rate of infection is now 73 cases per 100,000 population, meanwhile the England rate stands at 67 new cases per 100,000 population.
“The rise in Bristol is being driven, in most part, by the effects of opening up and the presence of the Delta variant (B.1617, first identified in India). I know many of you were hoping for better news this week, but now is the time to get back to basics. This postponement gives us a bigger window to vaccinate more of the eligible population. Two vaccination doses, alongside COVID secure behaviours, is the best form of protection against severe illness.
“The vaccination programme is progressing quickly, but we still have a long way to go. If you were originally offered a vaccination and declined, but would now like to take up the offer, please visit the NHS website to find the best way to book in.
“We all have a responsibility to be vigilant so we can bring rates of infection down, protect our communities and get back to the things we love. This means regular rapid testing; getting your vaccine when you’re called up; isolating if you have symptoms and doing the most you can to protect Bristol.”
For further advice and guidance on COVID-19, visit the local authority website.
To view Bristol’s bi-weekly statistics and Director for Public Health narrative, visit the local authority website.
Support is on offer through the We Are Bristol helpline for anyone who needs emergency assistance getting food, medicines or guidance about financial support to self-isolate. Call 0800 694 0184 for free if you need help.
Bristol will remain in Step 3, but there have been some changes. From Monday 21 June:
- The number of people who can attend a wedding or civil partnership ceremony, a wedding reception or civil partnership celebration, commemorative event following a funeral such as a wake, stone setting or ash scattering, will be determined by how many people a venue can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place
- A series of pilot events will take place to gather more evidence on reopening events safely. Attendees will need to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test
- All care home residents will be able to nominate an essential care giver, who will be able to visit the care home resident even if they are isolating
- Out-of-school settings can organise domestic residential visits for children in consistent groups of up to 30 children. This replaces the current limit of 6 people or 2 households
All other Step 3 guidance remains in place:
- People can meet with up to 30 people outdoors
- People can meet indoors as a group of six or as two households
- You should exercise caution and consider the risks of close contact when meeting with family and friends
- Continue to work from home if you can
- A traffic light system is being implemented for international travel, and you must follow the rules when returning to England depending on whether you return from a red, amber or green list country
- All holiday accommodation will be open (including hotels and B&Bs). This can be used by groups of up to six or two households
- When travelling within the UK, you should aim to do so safely and plan your journey in advance
- Indoor entertainment and attractions such as cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bowling alleys, casinos, amusement arcades, museums and children’s indoor play areas can open with COVID-secure measures in place
- Indoor and outdoor events, including live performances, sporting events and business events can begin again. Attendance at these events will be capped according to venue type, and attendees should follow the COVID-secure measures set out by those venues
- Indoor hospitality venues such as restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes can reopen
- Organised indoor sport will be able to take place for all (this includes gym classes)
- All higher education students can return to in-person teaching