In some respects Hastings town centre is beginning to feel like it’s getting back to normal but this week people have been warned against complacency and are being encouraged to continue to take precautions and help avoid a second wave of Covid-19.
East Sussex Public Health experts are urging people not to become complacent and put themselves at risk of contracting and spreading the virus, and to take immediate action if they become unwell.
Darrell Gale, Director of Public Health at East Sussex County Council, said: “Rates of infections have been dropping to levels that have enabled the Government to lift some of the restrictions put in place at the beginning of the pandemic, but the virus has not disappeared.
“It’s now more important than ever for people to stay alert, wash their hands regularly and stay two metres apart wherever possible. We all need to continue to do everything we can to prevent another spike in cases and protect those more vulnerable to the virus.
“It is vital that anyone with any symptoms of Covid-19, no matter how mild, should immediately self-isolate and request a test. These are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.”
Mr Gale said: “Understandably, after months of restrictions, people want to get out and enjoy themselves but they mustn’t let their guard drop particularly if temperatures soar again.”
For information on how to stay safe, what to do if you suspect you have Covid-19, and to order a test visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
For tips about coping in hot weather visit https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/heatwave-how-to-cope-in-hot-weather/
The latest easing of restrictions came into effect on Saturday and as well as hairdressers being able to open, Hastings and St Leonards’ vital tourism and hospitality sector was also able to start opening up after an almost four month shutdown. Pubs, cafes and restaurants were able to serve customers inside, accommodation providers and campsites were able to welcome guests and some of the town’s tourist attractions reopened.
Councillor Colin Fitzgerald, deputy leader and lead councillor for tourism at Hastings Borough Council (HBC) said: “Saturday was a big day for the town’s visitor economy, which supports over 6,000 jobs normally and generates around £360m annually.
“Among the attractions to reopen was our own West Hill Lift, now 129 years old. It had been closed since July 2019 because it needed work on its main drive wheel. This was carried out over the winter and the wheel was returned in time for Easter, but then Covid-19 struck and we weren’t able to reopen it then.
“But it opened on Saturday, and it was great to see it being used again.
“Not everything is open yet and it is only right that we are cautious. The attractions that were open have reported that business was steady, rather than really busy, which I think is good. It most definitely isn’t business as usual, and we’re asking visitors to respect, protect, and enjoy. Respect our local communities, any specific guidelines we and our partners have put in place; protect yourself and others, by taking sensible precautions; and enjoy your visit by going off the beaten track, if everyone heads to the same hotspot it is impossible to stay socially distanced.”