Residents are being urged to be extra vigilant and not bring COVID-19 home as they return to local shops, pubs and restaurants this Christmas.
London now has the highest COVID-19 infection rate in England, according to the weekly surveillance survey by Public Health England. This follows a slight drop in case rates in the past two weeks as a result of our collective sacrifices under the month-long national restrictions.
The next few weeks is critical, with many shoppers, diners and retail and hospitality workers having high intensity of interactions in the traditionally busy period of Christmas shopping and festivities.
Supporting our local high streets is a welcomed and major boost for struggling shops, pubs and restaurants, which all had to pause trading for most of the year. At the same time, we must do this safely and not drop our guard in order to protect lives and jobs.
COVID-19 is still a very real threat with rising infection rates and there is no guarantee that the government’s review of tiers on 16 December will not move London into more severe Tier 3 restrictions to protect residents from the virus. UPDATE: From 16 December, the whole of London moved into Tier 3 and pubs and restaurants were forced to close, except those offering takeaways or click and collect services.
With such a difficult year for businesses, we should do everything we can to support them in an extra safe way by following public health guidance to avoid a surge of cases in London ahead of the festive period and save local jobs and businesses.
How to shop and dine safely
- Travel and shop at the quietest time possible. Check tfl.gov.uk/quiet-times for latest info
- Plan ahead to reduce the time you need to spend in each shop
- Don’t get caught out – remember your hand sanitiser and face covering
- Wear your face covering at all times on public transport, in shops, shopping centres and public spaces – including outdoors when it’s busy
- Touch only what you need to. The virus can spread on surfaces and through the air
- Avoid crowds. Try to shop at quieter times and be ready to change your plans if you arrive somewhere and it’s very busy
- Keep a safe distance from others. Follow any floor markings, one-way systems and other signs to help you do this
- Follow the safety advice given to you in shops and respect the staff who might need to give you instructions. Wait your turn if you are asked to queue for entry and remember things might take longer than usual
- Use contactless payment if available
- Wipe down any baskets before and after use
- Minimise contact with anyone you don’t live with. London is in Tier 2 which means you cannot socialise indoors with others who are not in your household or support bubble, and this includes in shops, pubs and restaurants
- If you have any COVID symptoms stay at home and book a test on nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119
- If you visit a pub, restaurant or café whilst you are out shopping, remember that alcohol can only be consumed with a substantial meal, face coverings must be worn inside except when seated at a table to eat or drink – UPDATE: From 16 December, the whole of London moved into Tier 3 and pubs and restaurants were forced to close, except those offering takeaways or click and collect services.
Remember ‘Hands. Face. Space’
- Hands – wash your hands regularly with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser when you’re out
- Face – wear a face covering in indoor public spaces, unless exempt. When wearing a face covering, it should cover your nose and mouth
- Space – stay 2 metres apart from people you don’t live with
Is a business safe?
Ealing Council has been working closely with businesses to advise them on COVID-19 regulations and the extra sector-specific steps they need to take to become Covid-secure, ensuring their staff and customers are safe. To help you recognise the signs that businesses should be safe, the council’s regulatory services team has put together a list of 10 signs that you should look out for. Read more
Got symptoms? Get tested now.
If you develop symptoms – a new, continuous cough; high temperature; loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – you must self-isolate and book a test online on nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.