Stay home this Easter weekend to protect the NHS and save lives

“Wiltshire’s beauty spots aren’t going anywhere” is the message coming from the Wiltshire and Swindon Local Resilience Forum (LRF), as people are urged to stay at home and avoid unnecessary travel over the Easter bank holiday weekend.

With sunny weather forecast and people heading into the third weekend of the Government’s restrictions, the advice to the public is clear.

Everyone must do their bit to help protect the NHS and save lives.

Chair of Wiltshire and Swindon LRF Chief Constable Kier Pritchard said the vast majority of people across the county were adhering to the government’s advice, but an extra effort was needed to keep people safe over Easter.

He said: “I know the past few weeks have been incredibly challenging for people, as the financial, economic and social implications of these necessary restrictions hit home.

“But it is important to reiterate how vital it is that we continue to follow the government’s guidelines and stay at home.

“I know that after weeks of social isolation people may start to feel fatigued, and the temptation may be there this weekend to pop out for a picnic, or arrange to meet a friend for a long walk.

“However, the best way that you can support our NHS and help keep both yourself and everyone else safe, is to stay home and avoid all unnecessary travel.”

He added: “I know many people’s normal Easter plans would include getting out into the countryside and visiting some of Wiltshire’s beautiful landmarks and beauty spots.

“But, remember, we will have ample opportunity to do that when all this is over. For now, we need to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

The current government guidance is:

  • Stay local and use open spaces near to your home where possible 
  • Only go outside alone or with members of your own household
  • Keep at least two metres apart from anyone outside your household at all times
  • Take hygiene precautions when you are outside, and wash your hands as soon as you are back indoors.

All the agencies which form part of the LRF have issued advice and encouragement to people on how to stay safe this Easter.

Tracey Cox, Chief Executive, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said:  “I’m fortunate enough that I get to hear first-hand the heart-warming and faith-restoring stories of local health and care staff going above and beyond for their communities.

“It’s this quiet, everyday heroism that moves us all to clap and cheer outside our homes every Thursday evening.

“While our applauding is a grand gesture of public support, we can also, perhaps more importantly, show individual support for our hardworking colleagues by staying at home this Easter weekend and doing our bit to save lives.”

Leader of Wiltshire Council, Councillor Philip Whitehead said: “The great majority of people in Wiltshire have followed the government guidelines to stay at home, and we thank them for that.

“I know Easter is traditionally a time when families and friends get together, but please don’t be tempted to break the government guidance over this holiday period.

 “Our play areas and outdoor gyms are closed until further notice, but open spaces, such as country parks, remain open.

“Please only use these areas once a day for exercise, and only if they’re within walking distance from your house while at the same time ensuring you are at least two metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

“For anyone who is self-isolating and needs support during this time, you can contact Wiltshire Council’s Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub on 0300 003 4576, or look on our website for information on the support available from the council and local volunteer groups.

“Our NHS and key workers are doing an amazing job in the most challenging of circumstances, but we all need to do our bit to collectively beat COVID-19.

“For them and for all of us, please stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”