Cheshire East Council leaders are asking residents to do the right thing and keep Covid safe with the threat of the new Omicron variant of concern.
Mask wearing in all shops and supermarkets is a requirement from 4.00am today (Tuesday 30 November) and these restrictions will initially remain in place for three weeks.
Councillor Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council said: “We have a duty to keep our residents safe, to prevent transmission and work with health partners to save lives.
“Although only a small number of positive cases of Omicron have so far been reported, we are taking the threat of this new variant very seriously.
“With Christmas little more than three weeks away, I am asking all of our residents to do the right thing and to please follow the latest Covid safety guidance.
“Please remember the basics of ‘Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air’ – wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, wear a face covering in crowded indoor spaces and maintain social distancing. The spread of coughs, colds, flu, Covid-19 and winter vomiting are all restricted by these simple measures.
“Wearing a mask in supermarkets and on public transport is now compulsory and a legal requirement. Wearing a face covering in high risk crowded or indoor places, is not a big sacrifice to make and if we all follow the guidance, we will break the train of transmission and slow the spread of this new variant.”
Deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, Councillor Craig Browne, said: “What we are seeing and hearing about this new variant is extremely worrying.
“I would like to thank our residents who have been doing a great job in getting out to their local high streets and supporting our local economy, especially in the run-up to the all-important festive trading period.
“It’s in our hands to look after each other by continuing to stay safe and that means wearing a face covering every time you enter a shop or travel on a bus or train.”
Dr Matt Tyrer, director of public health at Cheshire East Council, said: “Getting vaccinated is the very best thing any of us can do to protect ourselves against Covid-19 and to boost our own natural defences against this new variant.
“Early indications suggest this variant may be more transmissible than the Delta variant and if for whatever reason you have not had your first, second or booster jab yet, then please get yourself booked in without delay.
“It’s also critical that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms, however slight, self-isolates and gets a PCR test immediately.”
Other measures being brought in include:
- In England, pupils in Year 7 and above are being “strongly advised” to wear face coverings in communal areas. The guidance also applies to staff and visitors at all schools and childcare settings
- All contacts of suspected Omicron cases will be required to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of a person’s vaccination status and will be contacted by NHS Test & Trace
- From 4.00am on Tuesday, anyone entering the UK will require a PCR test within 48 hours of arrival and will need to self-isolate until they receive a negative result.
- Booster jabs will be offered to everyone aged 18 and above and the gap between second doses and the booster is reducing from six to three months
- People with immunocompromised conditions will be offered a fourth jab
- Children aged 12 to 15 will be invited to get a second dose.
To book a confirmatory PCR test visit: www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test and select ‘My local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms’ or call 119.
All residents in the borough are still being asked to take no-symptoms Covid-19 tests, called Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) regularly and twice a week if possible.
For full information on where to get tested or pick up home testing kits visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/covid-testing
Cheshire East Council has a range of materials for businesses including a free Covid-19 toolkit along with a ‘Wear your mask’ poster retailers can print off and use online.