Families encouraged to hold the course over half term

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As parents and carers of children, we all enjoy getting out and about during the school holidays and during these difficult times it is especially true that families will want to entertain and keep children active.

With schools and workplaces being made as Covid-safe as possible, there will be an urge to shake off the sense of being cooped up, but it is vital that we keep up the successful efforts we have all made so far and choose to act in ways over half term that will continue to keep everyone safe and stop the spread.

The number of cases of coronavirus is continuing to rise in England and this is also true in South Gloucestershire. With half term starting, we are asking families to continue to do the right things to protect the whole community and to help and encourage your children to stick with it as well.

The simple fact is that you and your family will almost certainly be more protected from catching Covid-19 when you are at home.

Sara Blackmore, Director of Public Health for South Gloucestershire said: “During the half term break, we want to encourage families to find ways for children to stay at home as much as possible and to make doubly sure that when you do need to go out and about, we all act in ways that will keep us and others safe. For example, trying to avoid busy times in parks, play areas and shops.

“Also, it is absolutely vital that we all remember only to meet in groups of no more than six, keep that two metre distance from anyone who is not in your household and of course, wash your hands regularly and wear a face covering whenever you cannot maintain that safe distance, unless you are exempt.

“Halloween can be great fun, but as with any activity where you increase your contacts with other people, it could also increase your risk of exposure to Covid-19 and the risk to others, so we are advising families not to go trick or treating this year.

“We have produced some great tips on fun Halloween things to do at home instead, particularly for younger children (https://beta.southglos.gov.uk/guidance-for-events-and-celebrating-occasions/), and I’m sure local online groups will be sharing their own ideas that you can use.

“For parents of teenagers, we are asking that you please make sure you know what they are planning to get up to during the week and particularly for Halloween, that they don’t meet up in large groups and they follow the rules of Hands Face Space. It is hard for our young people right now, but their actions are also important to help us stop the spread and keep South Gloucestershire safe.

“We recognise there is a sense of fatigue at the continuing messages about social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands, but we repeat them because they help. They help our efforts to control the virus in South Gloucestershire, but they are also vital to help each individual resident of South Gloucestershire. That’s you, your family, friends, loved ones, neighbours, your children’s schoolmates and your work colleagues.

“Coronavirus spreads through close contact and not everyone who is carrying it and who has the potential to spread it is aware of it or showing symptoms.

“If the Hands Face Space guidance isn’t followed, then when your children go back to school or you go back to the workplace after half term, or the family goes to visit the grandparents, you could be effectively taking everyone you’ve been in contact with on that trip.

“I hope you enjoy time with your family this half term. It is difficult but by doing the right thing now, we can get back to enjoying the things we love again soon.”