01 Apr 2021

Rediscover the Island this Easter

Find your own Wight space this Easter.

That's the message from Isle of Wight health chiefs ahead of the Easter weekend with residents urged to enjoy the great outdoors — and hopefully some sunshine — in a sensible and cautious way.

With more than 60 miles of beaches and 520 miles of rights of way, Simon Bryant, the council's director of public health, urged people to avoid the most crowded places and to find their own space to help keep the Island safe.

He said: "The Island is blessed with the most beautiful countryside and miles of wonderful beaches offering plenty of space for residents to get out and about without the need to crowd busy spots.

"I want all of us to make the most of fresh air and exercise. It's important for your mental and physical health that you stay active. Meet other people outdoors by all means, but please keep to the rule of six, or two household, and keep social distancing. Stay local, discover the quiet places, and avoid crowded ones. If it's busy, move on.

"Everyone needs to take personal responsibility to stop the spread of COVID-19. Our actions make a big difference. The good behaviours associated with hands, face, space should continue to be central to all of the plans we make."

While the stay at home rule was lifted on Monday, people are still being asked to minimise travel.

Mr Bryant warned that those who break or bend the 'roadmap' rules risked allowing COVID-19 to creep back into our communities.

This would not only put the lives of our most vulnerable residents at risk, it would also jeopardise our route out of lockdown and back to doing the things we love, he said.

In brief, the recent rule changes are:

• People can meet outside, including in private gardens, either with one other household or as a group of six.

• The ‘stay at home’ rule has been replaced with ‘stay local’ and to keep travel to a minimum.

• Outdoor sports facilities such as golf courses and tennis courts can reopen, and organised outdoor sport can take place.

• Outdoor parent and child groups are allowed with up to 15 parents.

It is important to note that the rules do not allow people to mix indoors, and there should be no long-distance travelling or overnight stays, which includes single households staying in a second home.

People are also being reminded that although the vaccine programme on the Island is on track and working well, having the jab does not give people a green light to ignore the rules.

Maggie Oldham, chief executive of the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, said: "It is wonderful that new guidance allows loved ones to reunite in a safe way, after so many months apart.

"However, we must continue to do all the important steps that are leading us out of lockdown, such as wearing a mask, washing and sanitising our hands frequently and keeping a distance from others when we are out and about.

"Our hospital continues to support the local community and Island visitors, and should you need advice or urgent, non-life threatening support, please call 111 before coming into A&E or our urgent treatment centre. Our 111 team will be able to provide the quickest route for treatment.”

Testing remains vital in ongoing efforts to identify, track down and control any remaining pockets of the virus and prevent it spreading into the wider community.

People can pick up a free home testing kit (rapid lateral flow) from one of the council's sites in Ryde, Sandown, Newport, Yarmouth and Cowes, or from the Newclose County Cricket Ground testing site. Some community testing sites are only open Easter Saturday, 7am until 1 pm — more information can be found at www.keeptheislandsafe.org/communitytesting

These kits are for testing when you do not have COVID-19 symptoms. Twice weekly (rapid lateral flow) testing of people without symptoms is important to help stop the virus from spreading.

People with any symptoms of COVID-19 should immediately self-isolate and book a test at Newclose County Cricket Ground by calling 119 or via the government website.

Newclose is open seven days a week for symptomatic testing (am) and collecting home testing (pm).

For all the most up to date information and advice about coronavirus and all of the support on offer, visit: www.keeptheislandsafe.org


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Rediscover the great outdoors. Picture: Getty Images
Rediscover the great outdoors. Picture: Getty Images
  • The Island boasts more than 60 miles of beaches and 520 miles of rights of way.
  • While the stay at home rule was lifted on Monday, people are still being asked to minimise travel.
Isle of Wight, UK