Alton Towers steps in to help in Covid battle

Alton Towers Resort is to test both local people and staff without Covid-19 symptoms, as part of efforts to curb the rise in cases across Staffordshire.

Although the theme park is currently closed due to the lockdown, bosses wanted to play their part in helping keep both employees and its local community safe during the pandemic.

This week staff will be trained to carry out regular rapid Covid tests on colleagues, before holding a community testing session for local residents on Friday.

Philip White, Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills, said: “The tourism sector has been particularly badly hit by this pandemic, so I am delighted that the resort has stepped up to offer testing for both its own staff and people who live in the local villages of Farley, Alton and Oakamoor.

“We know that one in three people who have the virus don’t show any symptoms, so it is important we identify as many people as possible who may unknowingly have the virus as this will help us break the chain of infection.

“That’s why we are asking everyone who still needs to be out and about in the lockdown to book a regular test and we are also calling on big employers to support us and join Alton Towers by taking part in our Covid testing of Staffordshire’s workforce.

Protecting

“Testing more people without symptoms, together with sticking to the rules, is our best chance of protecting lives and helping all employers affected by the pandemic get back to business as swiftly as possible.”

The testing for the local community will take place at the Crooked Spoon Restaurant at the resort on Friday and is available only for people who live in Farley, Alton and Oakamoor.

Places are limited and should be booked in advance at Welcome to the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Community Test Sites Appointment System (zipporah.co.uk). Only access to the testing venue will be available as the resort is closed. People with symptoms or those who have been asked to self-isolate should not attend.

The Merlin-owned resort had reopened with Covid-19 measures, but was forced to close again in December when the Government reintroduced tougher Covid restrictions.

Francis Jackson, Alton Tower’s operations director, said: “Alton Towers is very much part of the community we operate in and we want to do everything we can to help keep our staff and the families in our local community safe.

“Last year wasn’t a year that any of us want to repeat, but with regular testing we hope to move one step closer to reopening our doors and welcoming visitors back in 2021.”

Any large employers who are interested in establishing their own rapid testing programme for their workforce should contact LFTEnquiries@staffordshire.gov.uk for more information

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