Help Sandwell stay safe this Bank Holiday
Published 29th April 2021
Enjoy the Bank Holiday – but keep following the latest government rules to help avoid a big spike in Covid-19 infections is the advice in Sandwell this weekend.
More people meeting up in parks, pubs and shopping areas could risk spreading the virus if they don’t stick to the rules, so the message is to take care wherever you are – whether it’s in a private garden or a public park.
Sandwell Council officers will be working alongside West Midlands Police to carry out patrols at Sandwell Valley and other parks and green spaces over the Bank Holiday weekend.
During the pandemic, parks and green spaces have been an increasingly popular destination for people to visit, but meeting in large groups at Sandwell Valley Country Park, other parks and open spaces across the borough's six towns could still lead to people infecting friends and neighbours.
That’s why visitors to Sandwell's parks and open spaces are urged to observe social distancing guidelines to protect themselves and others and help save lives.
Current government rules are:
- You can meet outdoors either in a group of six people (from any number of households) or in a group of any size from up to two households (each household can include existing support bubbles, if eligible).
- You can take part in formally organised outdoor sports with any number of people, and indoor leisure and sports facilities can open for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble.
- All childcare and supervised activities are allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children. Parent and child groups can take place indoors (as well as outdoors) for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number).
People who aren't following government rules could face police fines - from a fixed penalty notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.
People are also reminded that they face £100 fines from the council if they are caught littering or not cleaning up after their dogs.
So if you plan to visit Sandwell’s parks this Bank Holiday – or at any other time - make sure you use a bin for your litter or take it home. If you brought it with you, you can take it home again - and you may able to recycle some items in your blue-lid recycling bin.
Dr Lisa McNally, Sandwell's director of public health, said: “We know people will want to meet up and enjoy some fresh air and exercise. But this killer virus has not gone away. The more everyone relaxes, the more likely it is that the virus will spread.
“So please avoid large gatherings, even outside, and let's keep everyone safe. Even if you have had the vaccine, it doesn't mean you can't catch and pass on Covid-19. Please keep following the rules and staying safe."
Chief Superintendent Ian Green, from Sandwell Police, said: "We understand the desire for people to visit outdoor areas especially when the weather is nice. But the Covid legislation is very clear, and I appeal to people to limit their gatherings to the prescribed number and to avoid crowded areas.
"Where groups gather in higher numbers than permitted, officers will actively engage with them and where appropriate will take enforcement action."