14 May 2021, 11:17
Islanders have done "brilliantly" and put the Isle of Wight "in a good position" to progress through the lockdown 'roadmap' next week.
This is the view of the Island's director of public health who issued the message alongside a plea for people to "work together to continue to keep the Island safe."
From Monday (17 May), indoor hospitality can reopen and indoor entertainment can resume, including cinemas, museums, and children’s play areas.
Up to six people or two households will be able to meet indoors and up to 30 people outdoors.
All remaining outdoor entertainment can reopen and some larger events will be able to take place, including conferences, theatre and concert performances, and sports events.
Simon Bryant, public health director for the Isle of Wight Council, has spoken about the positive way the Island has responded to the loosened measures so far.
With infection rates among the lowest in the country, he said the community had done "brilliantly" and put the Island in "a good position" to move forward into step three of the government's roadmap out of lockdown.
But he said with greater freedoms came a greater need for people to take personal responsibility for their behaviour. If we take this next step recklessly, we risked a resurgence of the virus, he warned.
"As we take this next step together, we all know what we need to do because Islanders have been doing it so brilliantly so far — please keep going!" he said.
"However, while we’re all looking forward to some potential further relaxations of restrictions from Monday, we must remember that COVID-19 is still very much circulating in our community, although at relatively low levels.
"As we begin to mix more, the likelihood of rates increasing rises, so we need to continue to act responsibly and follow the latest guidance to break the chains of transmission and to keep our community safe.
"We can't rely on the vaccine alone. Social distancing is still absolutely vital, inside and out when we’re not with family and friends. Please continue to socially distance (two metres), wear face coverings (unless exempt) in enclosed spaces, wash or sanitise hands regularly and keep areas well ventilated.
"Now more than ever our actions will make a big difference to all of our lives."
John Metcalfe, the council's chief executive, said the relaxation of COVID restrictions gave some hope that the Island's visitor economy could start to get back on its feet.
"Sadly more than 5,000 people are now out of work on the Isle of Wight and the opportunity to reopen the visitor economy can offer a great many of them a way back into employment," he said.
"As a result of our work with local businesses everyone can all have faith in their ability to operate in a COVID-secure way so we can feel confident about visiting them and helping them to get back on their feet.
"The council will continue to support all businesses and communities to operate and live safely in order to prevent further transmissions of the virus."
You can find the most up to date information from the council at: www.keeptheislandsafe.org
Isle of Wight
1. Meeting safely means: