People in Northamptonshire are being urged to 'proceed with caution' and 'not be complacent' as the country takes the next step out of lockdown tomorrow (Monday, April 12).
Non-essential shops, gyms and outdoor hospitality will re-open, wakes and wedding receptions will be allowed and the number of visitors to care homes will increase from one to two.
Residents should continue to get tested and get vaccinated when the call comes to ensure the county progresses through the remaining two steps in the government’s ‘roadmap'.
Everyone in Northamptonshire, and across England, has been able to access free, regular, rapid coronavirus testing from Friday.
The lateral flow tests, which gives a result in 30 minutes, will be available at test centres, workplaces and schools or for delivery or collection to be used at home.
North and West Northamptonshire councils joint director of public health Lucy Wightman said: “The prime minister has asked the country to ‘proceed with caution’ and ‘not be complacent’ with good reason.
"It’s good news that we will be taking step two on Monday, but we know for certain that the easing of restrictions means that coronavirus cases will inevitably rise.
"However, we all know by now that there are ways to ensure the Covid-19 cases do not get out of control again.
"We need to follow the mantra ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ as we go about our daily lives and get our first or second dose of the vaccination when called, get tested regularly and isolate immediately with a positive result."
Residents are also being reminded that if they have had the vaccine or a negative lateral flow test, they must still continue to follow all guidance.
The county’s community-based testing sites are at Lodge Park Sports Centre and Hazelwood Neighbourhood Centre in Corby, Danes Camp Leisure Centre in Northampton, Brackley and Daventry leisure centres and Redwell Leisure Centre in Wellingborough.
The University of Northampton site is now restricted to students and university staff.
If you are not showing symptoms but must work with others, get the rapid test to find out if you are infectious and isolate if positive
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, a high temperaturecontinuous cough or loss of or change in sense of smell or taste, get tested as soon as possible to find out if you are positive.
You should also immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test on the Test and Trace app, at nhs.uk/coronavirus, or by calling 119.
If you have either type of COVID-19 test and it is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 days – with your household also isolating for 10 days from when the positive person’s symptoms started, or test result was positive if they have no symptoms.
Ms Wightman said: "We recognise that isolation puts pressure on people who do not receive statutory sick pay, and it does make compliance a concern.
"So the two unitary authorities, North and West Northamptonshire councils, are working to maximise the use of the funding available to support businesses and individuals during this difficult time.
"Remember: a negative test is not a free pass to ignore the guidance.
“As many more Covid-compliant doors will open on Monday, and Northamptonshire will join the nation in tentatively taking the next step on the roadmap, we must continue to all pull together so we can keep making progress and enjoy this summer - and many more to come."