To mark the anniversary of our first lockdown, on Tuesday this week we lit-up the Town Hall, the Pump Rooms and nearby Bandstand. Together at 8pm, we paused and reflected on the local impact of the ongoing Covid pandemic, a year on.
We’ve much to be grateful for; our brave NHS, amazing volunteers and the many remarkable organisations across the district who have worked tirelessly, in often unseen ways, to support our cherished way of life. Our shared hope for a brighter year ahead abounds, despite many feeling exhausted and facing uncertain futures.
In Warwick District, 52.4% of our adult population have now had their first jab, with the weekly tally rising from 58,981 to 65,537 – that’s on average 936 people a day being given real hope for the future. While vaccine supplies will reduce during April, the programme remains on track, so book appointments now if you are eligible, by contacting your GP, through the booking system or calling 119. We’ll be called for our second dose about 11 weeks after the first one, which will be of the same type and given at the same vaccination centre.
The vaccines are certified safe and thoroughly tested, so please don’t be put-off. If you are at all concerned, check out the facts by visiting the Gov.uk website. Everyone will benefit from getting their jab, and information is also being provided in different languages to ensure we can all make an informed decision.
Increased social interaction gives fresh opportunity for covid infection rates to start climbing again. Testing and vaccinating are our way of checking infection levels and keeping hospital admissions down. The unlocking process will undoubtedly see infection levels rise, which is why we must remain vigilant, continue to follow safe covid precautions and get tested if we’re out and about.
Declines in our local infection rates levelled off this week, from 48.7 to 43.1 cases per 100,000 residents. On Monday, we’ll hear more about the next steps we can take on our roadmap out of lockdown, which is being driven by data, not dates. Now would be good time to check out the Government’s guidance.
In anticipation, we’re pleased to hear from our partners at Everyone Active, that our indoor pools and gyms will be ready to reopen safely from 12 April. More details about what’s available can be found on the Everyone Active website.
In further good news, we can confirm that if you’ve missed submitting your National Census return last Sunday, there is still time to contribute to this vital survey. Please don’t delay and go online today, or if you’ve any questions or need help, then connect with our Census Support Centre by calling 01926 422123.
Helpfully too, the Royal Mail are assisting with our plans for safe local Elections by making available the priority post boxes, introduced for the collection and delivery of Covid tests, to also support the collection of our postal votes. Most offer a late last collection, giving us a little more time to post-in our votes.
Good news for many local businesses with 75% of all ARG (Part E) grants now paid, with the balance scheduled to be cleared by 9 April, when we plan to introduce the next grant scheme to assist our local taxis. This week we also secured £1.35m in government funding for a pilot programme to retrofit 50 low EPC-rated Council homes with the latest energy saving technology. Another step towards our carbon neutral goals and welcome lower heating costs for these families, just when household budgets need all the help they can get.
Perry the Bull, the new mascot for next year’s Commonwealth Games visited Victoria Park this week. Perry was warmly welcomed and inspected the recently improved Riverside Walk footpaths, part of a programme of works in preparation for the tens of thousands of visitors expected over the two weeks of competition.
Next week the High Sheriff of Warwickshire, Joe Greenwell, will present Awards to a number of our staff in recognition of the outstanding service that they and their teams have given to Warwick District during the pandemic. We’re incredibly proud not only of what they have done, but the selfless manner in which they have done it. Congratulations!