As part of ‘Step one’ of the roadmap, from Monday 29 March, the ‘stay at home’ rule will come to an end, with outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households being allowed. This will include gatherings in private gardens. Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis or basketball courts will reopen and organised adult and children's sport, such as grassroots football, will also return.
Cllr Ron Woodley, cabinet member for transport, inward and capital investment, said: “Since the seafront car parks were closed at the start of the year, we have seen less out of town visitors and positive cases of Covid-19 have continued to fall in recent weeks. Following the Government’s roadmap announcement, we are pleased that there is now a positive plan to get the economy going once again and allow friends and families to start meeting again, and that we can now begin planning for what we hope will be a fantastic summer season for the town.
“Our seafront car parks will remain closed for the time being, but plans are being put into place to reopen them, along with the seafront parking bays, from 29 March, which is when the ‘stay at home’ rule comes to an end. Above all we must still obey the government rules and protect ourselves from the virus. The ability to avoid extended restrictions is in our own hands.
“Therefore, it is important to note that many restrictions will still remain in place from 29 March, and the Government has said that people should continue to work from home where they can, minimise the number of journeys they make where possible and still stay local.”
Cllr Ian Gilbert, leader of the council, said: “As was made clear in the announcement, much is dependent on keeping the data on track, which means we all still need to continue playing our part and staying home and staying local until 29 March. The Government have also provided suggested dates for steps 2 to 4 which give us hope, but we cannot let our guard slip until we reach these targets and must all act sensibly and cautiously.
“As we have throughout, we will continuously review the data both locally and nationally to ensure that locally we can continue to protect NHS and health workers.”
Further announcements related to the roadmap out of lockdown and council services and facilities will be made in due course.