Most COVID-19 restrictions such as face masks will no longer be mandatory from July 19 but health experts in Liverpool are asking people to remain cautious amid a rise in infections. Tony McDonough reports
Health experts in Liverpool are asking people in the city to continue to face coverings in crowded indoor venues after July 19.
From that date many of the remaining restrictions imposed during the last lockdown will no longer be mandatory. However, the Liverpool Health Protection Board remains concerned about rising cases and a lower vaccine uptake in the city.
The relaxation of the rules will mean bars can dispense with table service and allow people to be served at the bar. And customers in bars, restaurants, shops and other indoor venues will no longer have to wear face coverings when they leave their table.
In new advice issued to both Liverpool residents, and visitors to the city, the board says:
- Continue wearing face coverings in crowded indoor areas where social distancing cannot be followed, such as shops, supermarkets and on public transport, as well as health and social care settings, such as hospitals, care homes and GP surgeries, in religious settings.
- Keep getting tested – Everyone should undertake twice weekly rapid symptom free testing using lateral flow tests (LFT). If people experience generally associated symptoms such as a headache, a stuffed or runny nose, tiredness or weakness, aches and pains, sore throat or diarrhoea, they should take an LFT and follow up with a PCR test if the LFT test is positive.
- If people have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 such as a high temperature, a new continuous cough or loss or change to their sense of smell or taste they must stay at home and book a PCR test. Around one in three people with COVID-19 don’t have symptoms but can still infect others – so getting tested regularly will help slow the spread.
- Get fully vaccinated – it’s shown to be safe and effective against the virus, including new variants and is the best way to keep yourself from getting seriously ill. It also reduces your risk of passing the virus on to someone else.
It added: “The board recommends that all workplaces should ensure COVID safe measures are in place, including the provision of hand washing facilities and proper ventilation with external fresh air.
“It also endorses the maintaining of existing COVID-control measures in high risk settings, such as care homes to protect vulnerable people, including the use of face coverings, which will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, with guidance updated as required.”
The Liverpool Health Protection Board is a multi-agency forum, set up to respond to the challenges of the pandemic. It meets weekly to review data on testing, outbreaks, hospital admissions from COVID-19, vaccination uptake and makes recommendations on policy and planning.