Public Health England urges families in the East – stay safe during autumn festivities

As cases continue to rise across most parts of the region, Public Health England (PHE) East is appealing to families to think carefully about how they spend the remainder of their half term break and beyond, especially with all the usual festivities fast approaching including Halloween and Bonfire night.

Dr David Edwards, Consultant in Health Protection at PHE East said: “We know that families like to plan outings, holidays, or fun seasonal activities this time of year like trick or treating, which often means visits from family and friends. However, it’s really important that people do stick to national policy and the local guidelines depending where they are – this may mean not socialising indoors with people outside the household or support bubble, including not visiting relatives or hosting parties with friends and neighbours. We can still have fun but need to be mindful of the restrictions that are in place to help protect us, our loved ones and those around us.”

Families living in Tier 1 Medium Alert Level areas – which is most areas in the East region- must remember:

  • You CANNOT share the same holiday accommodation with friends and family from a Tier 2 or 3 area
  • The Rule of Six applies, meaning you cannot mix with more than six people inside, but you can meet with six people outside at a safe social distance
  • You must continue to follow social distancing rules and wear a face covering where needed
  • If you are travelling anywhere by car, you should avoid doing so with people outside your household or support bubble due to the difficulties of social distancing. Read the advice on ways to travel safely.

Families living in Tier 2 High Alert Level areas such as Essex – can only go on holidays or day trips with people in your household or support bubble and you must not mix with others anywhere indoors.

If you need to use public transport in a high alert level area, you should follow the Safer Travel Guidance online, which includes wearing a face covering unless exempt, keeping your distance, washing or sanitising your hands regularly and avoiding the busiest routes and times.

Dr David Edwards added: “As well as half term, with Halloween, bonfire night and Diwali all approaching, we know many people were hoping to spend time with extended family and friends to celebrate, so many households may have to rearrange or adapt their plans and will feel disappointed. Please check the latest guidance to see what applies in your area and what you need to do to keep families, friends and communities safe.”

No matter where you live, the minimum guidance applies:

  • Wash your hands more than you normally would and thoroughly
  • Wear a face covering indoors where social distancing may be difficult and where you will be with people you do not normally meet
  • Keep a distance of 2 metres where possible
  • If you are asked to self-isolate then do so, do not go out for any reason
  • If you have symptoms get a test
  • Work from home where you can
  • Follow the rule of 6 and all restrictions in your area