What a welcome lift some spring sunshine has given us all. This next step in the roadmap reintroduces ‘the rule of six’, so we can this bank holiday weekend meet outdoors in groups of up to six people, from no more than two households. Now is a good time to check-out the latest Government guidance to stay safe.
We’re blessed with outstanding public gardens and country parks. These award-winning spaces have provided a welcome lifeline, not just for our daily exercise, but by giving us much-needed respite from screens, home schooling and caring duties. Ready for the holidays, we’re delighted to have been able to safely reopen our outdoor facilities, including tennis courts and skate parks.
In maintaining these cherished areas, there is only so much our Council teams, contractors and community partners can do to collect strewn litter, dirty nappies, piles of coffee cups; to empty bins and clean-up after our BBQ’s and picnics. Ultimately, keeping these shared spaces clean and welcoming for everyone to enjoy, relies on us all to do the right thing.
To help raise awareness of this unexpected consequence of Covid, an epidemic of littering, we’re taking additional steps to reach out and encourage everyone, young and old, to do their part. Working with other local government authorities, the Don't be a Tosser campaign is seeking to promote a more considerate and thoughtful public response to littering, so that together we can all enjoy these beautiful spaces over what we hope will be a brilliant summer ahead.
In the push-back against Covid, the latest stats indicate that in Warwick District, 53.8% of our adult population have now had their first jab, with the tally rising over the last few days from 65,537 to 69,802. Vaccine supplies will reduce this month, so if you’re fifty years or older, please book your appointment now, by contacting your GP, through the booking system or calling 119.
Second doses of the vaccine are not being delayed because of reduced supplies. We can expect to be contacted for our booster jab about 11 weeks after the first one, which will be of the same type and given at the same vaccination centre. The second dose will provide increased immunity to the virus, so it is important that we all take up the invitation, when called. If you’re interested in tracking the roll-out of the vaccination programme in Warwick District, then check-out the up-to-date local statistics on our vaccination rates.
Alongside the vaccination programme, community testing is playing a vital role in protecting us all against the spread of the virus. It is now easier than ever to take regular tests and get the reassurance that we’re not unwittingly infecting others even when we appear to have no Covid symptoms. There are now six sites across the district for community testing, or you can order tests to do at home.
Good news for many local businesses, as we’re preparing to launch the next round of grants to support the safe reopening of the leisure and hospitality sectors, hopefully from 12 April. These latest Restart Grants are one-off payments of between £2,667 to £18,000, depending on the rateable value and type of business. More information about application criteria for each of the strands can be found on our website. Applications can be made online, with assessment beginning next Tuesday, 6 April, to ensure that we get the support out and to where it is needed, just as fast as we can.
Help is also on the way for our taxi drivers and private hire firms, with a new Additional Restrictions Grant scheme being launched. Next Friday 9 April, we’ll be publishing information about the criteria for this grant scheme and how to make an application on our website, here.
This week we were happily surprised by further good news that our Cultural Services team have successfully secured government support through Arts Council England’s Culture Recovery Fund. This grant will enable us to put in place recovery plans for the safe reopening of the Art Gallery and Museum, as well as the Spa Centre. We’re all looking forward to giving everyone a very warm welcome back, with an inspiring and innovative cultural programme that will knock your socks off!