"Lets make sure the hard work doesn't go to waste' Council warns Aylesbury residents to be cautious over Easter Weekend

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The Easter bank holiday weekend is fast approaching and many of us will be looking forward to some time off to relax, enjoy the spring sunshine and perhaps catch up with friends and family.

The weekend of 2 to 5 April is also the first to follow the next stage of the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions in England.

From today, Monday 29 March, up to six people from individual households or two separate households of any number can meet up outdoors, including in private gardens.

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The Council are asking Aylesbury residents to 'express caution' to ensure that Coronavirus cases do not begin to skyrocket locally.

Dr Jane O’Grady, Buckinghamshire’s Director of Public Health expressed a note of caution however, she said: “We are all desperately keen to see our friends and families again and many of us will be hoping for good weather over the long Easter weekend so we can meet up.

"The slight easing of restrictions on who we can meet and where will be welcomed by many but we must remember that there are still strict rules in place and we must follow them.

“The majority of cases at the moment are from the new strains of the virus which are more infectious and thought to be more likely to cause severe illness. We must make sure we continue to follow the rules by not meeting in larger groups. Also if meeting in a private garden and the weather takes a turn for the worse, don’t be tempted to slip indoors, this is not allowed."

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If you are planning to meet with friends or family here are some points to remember:

Hands, Face, Space - Try to keep a 2m distance between different households, don't share items, wash your hands frequently and try to avoid touching your face as much as possible.

You must follow the guidance even if you have been vaccinated. No vaccine is 100% effective and it takes two doses and time to build good immunity.

The NHS vaccination programme continues to make strong progress. Thanks to the thousands of people involved, in under four months the health service in England has given the vital first vaccine dose to more than half of all adults - some 24 million people. It has also opened more than 1,600 vaccination services and visited over 10,000 care homes. If you already have an appointment over the coming weeks, whether for your first or second dose, this remains in place and it's really important that you attend as planned.

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Many vaccine centres across Buckinghamshire are open across the Easter weekend including Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. Find the most up to date information on our website.

As a Christian festival, many people will want to celebrate Easter by attending religious services. Under current restrictions, places of worship are allowed to open for communal services but with restrictions in place. To find out what the guidelines are visit the government website or contact your local place of worship.

One in three people with Covid-19 don't have symptoms. If you are planning to attend an Easter service and want to be fully confident you aren't infectious you can take a rapid test by dropping into one of our sites in Amersham, Aylesbury, Buckingham or High Wycombe. Alternatively you can pick up testing kits to use at home. Opening hours vary over the bank holiday weekend, visit our website for further details.

Dr O’Grady continued: “The time for further relaxation of the restrictions will come and if we all stick to the rules now, this will happen sooner.

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"By bending the rules or choosing to ignore them, we risk increasing the spread of Covid-19 and delaying further lockdown easing which nobody wants to see.

"We’ve done such a good job of reducing case rates across Buckinghamshire in the past few months so thank you to everyone for their efforts.

"However rates are still higher today than they were at the lowest point last year.

"Let’s keep up the good work for just a little while longer and make sure all our hard work is not undone.”