Covid-19 in Wakefield: Lockdown updates as latest relaxation of rules confirmed

The Government has announced its latest relaxation of lockdown rules – easing limits on seeing friends and family wherever possible.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 11:32 am

From Monday, six people or two households can meet inoors, overnight stays are allowed and hospitality such as restaurants, pubs, hotels, hostels and B&Bs will reopen.

To summarise, from Monday (17 May):

Six people or two households can mix indoors.

The Government has announced its latest relaxation of lockdown rules – easing limits on seeing friends and family wherever possible.

30 people can mix outdoors.

Overnight stays allowed with people not in your household or bubble.

People can choose whether to maintain social distancing with close family and friends.

Indoor hospitality such as restaurants, pubs, hotels, hostels and B&Bs will reopen.

Indoor entertainment such as museums, cinemas and theatres will reopen.

Indoor adult group sports and exercise classes can take place.

Some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues will be allowed with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number), and in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number).

In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).

Up to 30 people can attend weddings, receptions and wakes as long as the venue can comply with social distancing. This limit also applies to other types of significant life events, including bar mitzvahs and christenings. Blanket attendance limits for funerals will be removed as long as the venue can comply with social distancing.

Holidays abroad to green list countries are allowed.

Whilst it is the individual’s choice on whether to maintain social distancing with close family and friends, the council is urging caution about the risks that come with close personal contact such as hugging, as this remains a direct way of transmitting the disease.

The Wakefield district’s rates remain higher than other areas of the country and the council ask residents to take steps to keep themselves and their loved ones safe and remember that some people remain more vulnerable than others. People are reminded to continue to make space for other people to maintain social distancing if they want to.

Wider social distancing rules will remain in place in adult social care, medical settings, retail, hospitality and business settings.

The changes mean that businesses in all but the highest risk sectors can reopen with COVID-19 secure guidance in place. Indoor hospitality can reopen without the requirement to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks – although customers need to order, eat and drink whilst seated.

Other indoor locations opening include entertainment venues such as cinemas and children’s play areas; the rest of the accommodation sector including hotels, hostels and B&Bs and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes.

Some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is lower), and in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is lower) are also allowed. In the largest outdoor seated venues – where crowds can be spread out – up to 10,000 people or a quarter-full can attend, whichever is the lower.

Cllr Denise Jeffrey, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “There is no doubt that this latest relaxation of lockdown rules will come as a great relief to residents and businesses across our district who have experienced some extremely challenging times. I would like to thank everyone for their patience and hard work.

“Infection rates have decreased slightly this week, but Wakefield still has the sixth highest case rate in the country. I would like to remind everyone to keep going and not become complacent. If we each play our part by following the regulations we will continue to see our rates decrease.”

Despite the changes to the Government’s lockdown rules, the advice to avoid catching or spreading COVID-19 remains unchanged:

Maintain regular handwashing HANDS

Wear a face covering, if you can, in any enclosed public space FACE

Maintain social distancing, wherever possible SPACE

Minimise the number of people you’re in close contact with and for how long

Isolate immediately and get tested if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 - a high temperature, a new continuous cough or loss of taste or smell ISOLATE & GET TESTED

Take the vaccine when offered it

Meet people outside where possible

Further to the announcement, Wakefield Council can confirm that the following services will reopen:

Museums:

Wakefield Museum, Castleford Museum and the exhibition space at Pontefract Castle will reopen on 17 May.

Pontefract Museum will reopen on 24 May.

Wakefield Council libraries reopened on 12 April

Children’s activities will restart in libraries, contact your local library for details

All Council-run indoor group fitness sessions will restart.

All Aspire facilities are now open to members and non-members can book in advance (pay and play) for gym and swim sessions

To comply with current social distancing rules, 16 mourners can attend Wakefield Crematorium and 14 can attend Pontefract Crematorium.

Additional mourners can stand outside the crematorium with services being relayed through outside speakers. Social distancing should be maintained.

There will be no restrictions to the number of mourners attending a burial in a council cemetery as long as current social distancing rules are followed.

This relaxation only applies to funerals, and not to related events such as the scattering of ashes where a 30 attendee limit remains in place.

The Government is currently reviewing and updating the advice on social distancing and any further updates will be given if required.