'Don't risk a lockdown': Plea to drinkers ahead of hot weekend
Midlands health bosses have urged people not to "risk a local lockdown" by flocking to pubs in large groups for the expected hot weather this weekend.
With the temperature expected to hit 31C tomorrow in some areas of the Black Country, and then stay warm on Saturday and Sunday, officials are expecting many to flock to their local beer garden or bar to enjoy the sunny spell.
But public health chiefs have urged people to continue to “stay safe” during the pandemic, and warned about the risks of a local lockdown.
They want everyone to stay away from large groups, and also not visit any friends or family unless it’s “essential”.
More Covid-19 coverage:
- Latest number of coronavirus deaths and confirmed cases in your area
- Star Neighbours - how you can give and get help locally
It comes after Sandwell was named an “area of concern” by the Government last week after outbreaks of the virus in Smethwick and West Bromwich.
And more than 1,000 people turned up to a Covid testing centre in the Staffordshire town of Stone after an outbreak was linked to the local Crown & Anchor pub.
Councillor Nicolas Barlow, health boss for Dudley Council, said: “With more people expected to visit pubs this weekend with warm weather predicted, I would urge those who do to follow the guidelines set down by the premises they are in.
"We all need to play our part in preventing a second wave of Covid-19 and the risk of a local lockdown."
Lisa McNally, director of public health for Sandwell Council added: “With the infection rates still high, we would urge people to stay safe this weekend and follow the key advice.
“We would also ask people to avoid large gatherings and making non-essential visits inside other people’s homes. In our parks and open spaces, please keep a safe distance from others and do not congregate in large groups.”
Wolverhampton’s director of Public Health John Denley said: “The increase in cases in Wolverhampton over the last couple of weeks show Covid-19 is still infecting new people.
“That’s why we must take collective responsibility in combatting the virus. If you are going out and about, please take extra care and follow the guidelines.”
Dr Richard Harling, Staffordshire County Council’s director of health and care, said: “As we have seen recently, there are some premises that need to do more to follow national guidance on hygiene, social distancing and gathering the contact details of their customers. This is crucial for us – we need to be able to trace people quickly in the event of an outbreak.
“But we all need to play our part to stop the spread of the virus.”