Public service leaders urge Bedfordshire residents to keep preventing the spread of coronavirus

  • Public service leaders from across Bedfordshire have urged people to continue playing their part in halting the spread of coronavirus as the county moves into more local restrictions.

From today (Wednesday) Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Luton will move into tier two restrictions, having spent the past month in the national lockdown.

In the last few weeks Bedfordshire has started to see the positive impact of people reducing their contact with others, with the number of new cases each week starting to reduce, although cases still remain very high in Luton

It is also expected to take some time before this impact is felt on reducing hospital admissions and, sadly, deaths.

Coronavirus remains a danger in communities across the county, prompting local leaders to urge Bedfordshire residents not to get complacent and keep up the good work.

Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway said: “If we want to make sure that our families and those closest to us are safe when we have increased freedom at Christmas to mix as up to three households, we’re going to have to take the greatest care as shops, hospitality, gyms and personal grooming businesses open up.

“I have to say that I’ve been really impressed by the way this county has adapted to mask-wearing, social distancing even when outside and showing one another real courtesy when inside in places like supermarkets.

“Let’s keep it up and enjoy the happy and safe Christmas that we - and all our relatives of whatever age - can enjoy. Goodness knows we all deserve a good one after a year like this!" 

Tier two restrictions prevent people from meeting anyone they do not live with or are not in a support bubble with indoors.

The rule of six applies to socialising outdoors, as only six people from different households can meet in outdoor open spaces, including private gardens.

Shops and businesses can open in a Covid secure fashion, while pubs and restaurants can serve alcohol with substantial meals. They must stop taking orders at 10pm and close at 11pm.

People living in tier two areas must continue to follow these rules when they travel to a tier one area and avoid travel and overnight stays in tier three areas unless absolute necessary, such as for work, education or medical treatment.

Police will continue to run patrols to enforce the rules, working alongside local authority colleagues and particularly targeting areas identified as persistently breaching the restrictions.

Bedford Mayor Dave Hodgson said: “Coronavirus is spread through social contact - through us seeing people.

"That is why we are being asked to not mix indoors with other households that are not part of our support bubble, and to meet outdoors in groups of no more than six.

“In the run-up to Christmas, please continue to be cautious and do everything you can to keep slowing the spread of coronavirus.

“By minimising social contact with those outside of your household, by washing your hands regularly, wearing a face covering if you can, and keeping two metres apart from other people you will be helping to keep yourself, your friends and family, and your community safe.”

Cllr Hazel Simmons, Leader of Luton Council, said: “While the lifting of restrictions will be welcome news for many, we must remember that this dreadful disease is still circulating within our communities, making people extremely ill and in some cases tragically taking loved ones away from their families.

“While there are new rules for us all to follow, the power still sits with every single person to make a real difference through their individual actions to stop the spread and keep themselves and other people safe.”

Cllr James Jamieson, Leader of Central Bedfordshire Council, said: ‘I want to thank everyone for sticking to the rules and helping to get the virus back under control.

“Now is not the time to throw caution to the wind and undo this good work. We all need to remain vigilant and keep limiting our contact with others, social distancing, wearing a face covering and washing our hands.

“We all have a part to play in protecting ourselves, our loved ones and our communities.”