SUNDERLAND’S Director of Public Health is urging people to carry on sticking to the rules when lockdown restrictions begin to ease from next week.
In her weekly video to residents, Gerry Taylor, Director of Public Health and Integrated Commissioning at Sunderland City Council, acknowledged the challenges over the last year, the loss of loved ones and the heart-breaking sacrifices many have had to make, and she thanked the people of Sunderland for everything they have done.
Gerry said: “It’s hard to believe that this week marks one year since the first national lockdown in England.
“Back then, working from home, home-schooling, Zoom, furlough, hands-space-face weren’t concepts many of us were familiar with. Now we hear these words and phrases every day and they form the backdrop to many of our lives.
“I’d like to acknowledge what a challenging year it’s been for all of us and thank you for all that you’ve done to help slow the spread of Covid. Many of us have been affected by this deadly virus, lost loved ones, or made heart-breaking sacrifices.
“It has wrought havoc on our mental and physical health but through it all, we have stood together and done all we could to slow the spread of the virus and protect the people of Sunderland.
“I want to say thank you for all you have done.”
On Monday 29 March, the UK reaches the next milestone in the government’s roadmap for easing restrictions. From this date, outdoor sports facilities will open again and people can take part informally in organised sport outside. Up to six people or two households will also be able to gather outdoors, including in private gardens.
The ‘stay at home’ rule also ends on 29 March but many restrictions will remain in place. And from 1 April those who are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable will no longer be advised to shield but should still take extra precautions.
While welcoming this, Gerry said it was also essential that people don’t lose sight of the sacrifices over the last year.
She said: “While it will be lovely to see each other again in slightly larger groups outside, please don’t be tempted to pop inside for a quick cuppa or to use the bathroom.
“The virus can spread much more easily indoors and as one in three of us don’t know we’re carrying the virus, you could be risking infecting your friends and family. If you are getting together, plan in advance and be prepared.
“I’d urge everyone to continue to work from home if you can and minimise the number of journeys you make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes.
“Until the full vaccination programme takes effect, breaking the chain of transmission between the virus and people is our best means of reducing it’s spread.
“It’s really important that as the restrictions lift, we stick to the roadmap, especially around household mixing.
“This is particularly important because over the last week we have seen Covid cases in Sunderland fluctuate up and down.
“We’re not out of the woods yet so please continue to follow the guidance and let’s move forwards together cautiously to get closer to the future we all want.”
Gerry’s video is available to view here: https://youtu.be/LNf-o_QfjRw