Freedom Day: North Somerset responds to lockdown easing delay

Weston High Street

Businesses can access free social media support to help them boost their presence online. - Credit: Paul Blakemore

Health leaders have welcomed the four-week delay to step four of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown following a spike in Covid-19 cases in North Somerset.  

The latest seven-day figures show rates have more than doubled in the area compared to the previous week. The Delta variant, first discovered in India, is now the most common strain of coronavirus in England, and cases have been increasing in the district with 15 recorded in North Somerset.

North Somerset Council's deputy leader Mike Bell said: “I know some people will be disappointed with another delay to lockdown easing until at least July 19, but it’s the right thing to do. We said the lifting of restrictions needs to be done slow and steady and taking this cautious approach will mean we don’t face harsher restrictions in the future.  

Mike Bell.

Mike Bell. - Credit: Sub

“The key message is that if we want to get through this, we have got to live with some level of living with the virus, and people must continue with regular testing - it's really important - particularly those going into work, meeting with others and at school. Critically, everyone also needs to get vaccinated when asked, including the important second dose.” 

Cllr Bell added that the council knows businesses are struggling, particularly those in hospitality, and said the administration wants to see more support coming from the government.  

Frank Sprackman from The Walnut Tree, in Weston’s Winterstoke Road, said the delay will put pressure on smaller pubs, but stressed people’s safety ‘must come first’. 

Frank Sprackman and assistant manager Tyler Austin.

Frank Sprackman and assistant manager Tyler Austin. - Credit: Frank Sprackman

He said: “When the news was announced on Monday it’s the initial impact of hearing it, it’s sad. I do feel for the smaller pubs and the impact that it may have on them, they may not be able to reopen again. Apart from us looking forward to the lifting table service restrictions, it shouldn’t affect us too much.” 

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Until restrictions ease, hospitality venues can only allow groups of up to six people or two households inside. Live entertainment venues, such as cinemas and theatres, will be at 50 per cent capacity and nightclubs will remain closed. 

A spokesman for the Playhouse, in Weston, said: "The Playhouse remains on track with our plans to continue to offer our local residents and visitors the opportunity to attend the best of live entertainment here at our town's home of live entertainment. 

"Those who have attended our first few performances over the last few weeks have been welcomed into our Covid secure venue with the relevant safeguards in place, and not only have those who have attended noted and adhered to these requirements, they've all had an incredible time once again experiencing what the Playhouse has to offer - we're here, we're open and many people are once again enjoying one of Weston's best loved venues."

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