Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher has responded to today’s news (Friday, September 18) that the Government has announced new restrictions for Merseyside, including Sefton, from Tuesday 22 September, in the light of rising numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the City Region.
Cllr Maher said: “I know people will be concerned at this news but with infection rates rising in people of all ages across our communities, it is important that we all make every effort to restrict the spread of the virus and these new measures will support that.
“This means not socialising with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens. It means pubs, bars and restaurants stick to table service only for food and drink and that these establishments, along with cinemas, have to close at 10pm.”
The new restrictions also mean people should only use public transport for essential purposes such as travelling to school or work, and should not attend amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators.
Cllr Maher continued: “As I have said previously, the council is really appreciative of all the efforts and sacrifices made by Sefton’s population and the borough’s business to protect vulnerable people across our communities.
“Now we are relying on our residents and businesses to continue working with us and to follow these new restrictions to prevent tighter measures being re-introduced.
“Since the start of the pandemic, we have been working with our partners to support vulnerable people across the borough and we are reviewing the measures we have in place to support them, including those people who were previously shielding.”
Cllr Maher stressed the need for people to continue with social distancing, follow the guidelines on wearing masks and face coverings and to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly. He also called on Sefton’s businesses to ensure they are protecting their customers and staff by having all the required measures in place, including Test and Trace arrangements at pubs, bars and restaurants, in addition to the newly-announced restrictions.
Earlier this week, Cllr Maher also joined The Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region and the Leaders of four Cheshire Local Authorities in calling on the Government to deploy more Covid-19 testing capacity in the region.
An immediate increase in testing capacity is now urgently needed to protect the most vulnerable members of the community, ensure that our keyworkers can continue to work and avoid further local lockdowns, they said.
Cllr Maher added: “I have written to the Minister in the strongest possible terms to express my disappointment and frustration over the lack of testing in Sefton.
“Testing is vital to helping prevent the spread of coronavirus and we need those people who develop the coronavirus symptoms of a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste, to get a test immediately, for their own safety and the safety of others.
“To make an appointment at their nearest available Test Centre or order a Home Testing Kit, they need to visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119.”
Cllr Maher also said it is vitally important that if any Sefton resident is contacted by the Test and Trace programme they comply with the requests of the contact tracers and stay home if they are asked to do so.