COUNTY care home chiefs have welcomed the Government’s road map out of the Coronavirus restrictions which could see city residents welcome a visitor from March 8.
Alongside the opening of schools, care home residents could finally see a friendly family face, ending a sustained period of isolation for the county’s elderly population.
The development was revealed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday as part of a four-step process which could see the country emerge from nearly all of the coronavirus restrictions by June 21.
Coun Adrian Hardman, cabinet member for Adult Social Care, said: “The announcement about one regular visitor being allowed in care homes from March 8 is very much welcomed.
“Of course there will be safety measures in place at each care home including visitors wearing PPE at all times but this is the first step in allowing more visiting in care homes which will make such a difference to residents and their families.”
The next significant date in diary for step one is March 29, when outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be permitted.
Assuming Covid-19 hospital admissions remain low – a key part in every step of the unlocking the country – non-essential shops including hairdressers and nail salons will reopen as early as April 12.
Self-catering holiday accommodation and campsites will reopen, 30 people will be permitted at funerals and 15 will be able to attend weddings.
Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools will also be able to open from April 12, along with outdoor hospitality such as zoos and theme parks.
Pubs and restaurants will also be allowed to serve food and drink to people in groups of six outside.
On May 17, most social contact rules will be lifted, as well as limited mixing indoors.
Sharon Smith, Chief Executive of Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The road map to recovery should give businesses hope that this latest lockdown will indeed be the last that they will face.
“With many businesses having to wait until April, or even longer in some cases before they can re-open, support and a longer-term plan is vital.
“An extension to the business rates relief, possible extension of the furlough scheme and the VAT cut for hospitality businesses all should be areas of key consideration,” she added.