Thanet people take advantage of eased covid restrictions on a sunny (but chilly) day

Enjoying a pint with outdoor pub service Photo Jamie Horton

Thanet people have been welcoming back businesses as they reopen for trade.

Enjoying the sunshine, albeit chilly, people embraced the chance for an outdoor pint, something to eat and a bit of shopping.

Mannings fish bar Photo John Horton

The reopening is the latest step in the government’s roadmap to easing restrictions.

Photo Raushan Ara

From today many businesses have been able to reopen – with the rules on social contact applying. Indoor settings must only be visited alone or with household groups, with outdoor settings limited to either six people or two households.

  • This includes non-essential retail opening; personal care premises such as hairdressers, beauty and nail salons; and indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and spas (but not including saunas and steam rooms, which are due to open at Step 3).
  • Overnight stays away from home in England are permitted and self-contained accommodation can also reopen, though must only be used by members of the same household or support bubble.
  • Public buildings such as libraries and community centres reopening.
  • The majority of outdoor settings and attractions can also reopen, including outdoor hospitality, zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas and drive-in performances events.
  • Hospitality venues are able to open for outdoor service, with no requirement for a substantial meal to be served alongside alcohol, and no curfew. The requirement to eat and drink while seated will remain.
  • Parent and child groups of up to 15 people (not counting children aged under five years old) can restart indoors.
  • Care home residents in England are no able to receive two visitors indoors as Covid restrictions continue to be cautiously eased.


Across the isle today people have been taking advantage of the restriction easing with scenes ranging from large queues at Westwood Cross to family and friends enjoying a drink in the sunshine across the three towns.

At Barnacles Photo John Horton

Restaurants have also geared up to cater for outdoor dining.

Photo Jamie Horton

Kent Police officers were also out in the towns, including some -joined by council, safety partnership and fire service staff- manning a ‘Safe Summer’ information stall near Droit House.


In Thanet the positive covid test rate per 100,000 people stands at 22.5 as of April 6, with no new cases recorded yesterday.

Photo Raushan Ara


The vaccination drive across Kent and Medway continues with over 1 million jabs given up to 4 April. More than 889,000 of those are first doses.  The number of people receiving the added protection from a second dose is also climbing significantly.

At Barnacles Photo John Horton

Kent and Medway latest data shows more than 87% of the top nine priority groups have been vaccinated with at least one dose. All nine priority groups have now reached 80% or over.

Cohorts 1-4 (over 70 years, health and care staff, care home residents): 92%

Cohort 5 (65-69 years): 90%

Cohort 6 (clinically vulnerable aged 16-64): 81%

Cohort 7 (60-64 years): 86%

Cohort 8 (55-59 years): 84%

Cohort 9 (50-54 years): 80%

Some 350 employees at Thanet Earth have been vaccinated at a one-day pop-up clinic organised by Margate & Mocketts Wood and CARE Primary Care Networks (PCNs).

Thanet Earth is the UK’s largest single producer of speciality tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers at a 95 hectare site near Birchington. Many of the workers are from Eastern Europe and struggle to access healthcare services due to the language barrier or simply not understanding how the system works.

Dr Muhammad Sohail, who organised the clinic, said: “A lot of the employees at Thanet Earth either don’t have a GP, or they rarely contact their surgery. By visiting them in their workplace, we managed to protect a huge number of eligible people who otherwise wouldn’t have got the vaccine. It was wonderful to see them relax once they saw how quickly and simply we could vaccinate people – there were a lot of happy faces at the end of the day.”

Eastern European communities are amongst the groups with lower uptake of the vaccine and Kent and Medway NHS vaccine equalities group is looking at what more can be done to promote the jab and increase uptake.

Initial supplies of the now approved Moderna vaccine are being rolled out to parts of the UK this month although there is no set date for supplies in Kent and Medway.

Photo Raushan Ara

The next step of easing covid restrictions is due to take place from May 17 and will mean restrictions on meeting outdoors lifted with up to 30 people allowed to gather, as well as:

Visits to friends and families indoors allowed with the rule of six or two households

Reopening of indoor pubs, restaurants, play areas, cinemas, theatres, hotels, B&Bs and sport stadiums. Rule of six will apply for seating in pubs/restaurants etc.

Indoor performance and sport venues with capacity to 1,000 or half full. Outdoor venues capacity 4,000 or half full – whichever is lowest.

Review of international travel restrictions


  1. Let just hope that everyone keeps to the guidelines, we don’t want to be back in any more lockdowns.

      • Well if it comes too another lockdown it will be the stupid idiots fault ,serve them right, may we should have 6 months next time, maybe also the landlords of these establishments should show a little more responsibility,instead of trying to get back all the money they have lost out on.after all nobody asked for all this to happen but most of us are doing our best to get things back to not.

    • unlikely, did you see all the halfwits all over the country lining up hours ahead of Primark opening, on top of each other, just to get a top or pair of sweatpants yesterday?

  2. Was really good to see shops & businesses open and the queues at the barbers. Even the new barbers in what was the sunrise fish&chip restaurant, was doing a buzzing trade.

    Shoppers seemed to be on a mission but look happy, even before pub’s opened !

  3. I think it’s great how they ignored people waiting patiently on the vaccine waiting list for their turn and went to Thanet Earth to give vaccines out to a load of workers who aren’t in priority lists who can’t be bothered to register at a GP surgery. I’m delighted for them.

    • I was thinking the same why did planet earth workers get prioritised ?

      What about the supermarket workers, our ordinary shop workers, bus drivers who have been mixing and working among the public. Lots of people have been working throughout this pandemic like food bank volunteers. Yet some workers in a factory get a jab

      Something is wrong here that thanet earth workers who could be in work bubbles with no contact with the general public get prioritised.

      • Likely because the overwhelming majority of Thanet Earth workers are non-British & so more at risk due to their housing arrangements & the lottery of life. From a late 2018 report-Only 8% of the employees at Thanet are British. The others are mainly Eastern European, with Romanian and Latvian recent having overtaken Polish as the largest groups. Workers from Bulgaria tend to be lower skilled with less language fluency, and can prove more challenging to integrate.Many have settled in the region due to cheap housing, but some also come on an annual basis (70% return from previous years). The number of people returning has fallen recently, as the economies of their home countries have improved.

    • Can you point to one single person who has been denied a vaccination because the people at Thanet Earth were given one?

      Do remember, we’re not safe until we’re all vaccinated.

      • Well my lad has worked all the time through the pandemic in a shop. Dealing with the public he hasnt been offered a jab.

        Perhaps he needs to work at thanet earth in a safe non contact with the public to be prioritised ;(

        As have lots of his mates.

      • Anyone under 50 (now under 45 when they reopen vaccination centres in Kent) who aren’t in a priority group ? That’s probably enough to evidence the point I was making.

      • That is something of a false belief system-Chile has been the fourth biggest vaccinator in the world & despite this as soon as restrictions were eased has now entered into another wave. It is a tool, but not a magic wand-many people who get it will develop no or limited immunity, there are of course multiple strains around & entering due to air travel etc that vaccines may not be as effective against as the original strain.

        • I think it is completely crazy that every day, tens of thousands of people fly into the UK. Some are obliged to quarantine in the government quarantine hotels. Many are not.
          If this situation isn’t tightened up, then despite the fantastic efforts of the NHS vaccination programme, new, more deadly variants will be brought in to the UK, and we’ll be back to square 1.
          People in our communities should be vaccinated according to the risk they face, rather than their nationality.

          • You are quite right, there should be a blanket ban on per coming from abroad until the situation is well under control.

        • The reality is that Chile backed the wrong horse with their choice of vaccine. It simply isn’t as effective as preventing infection.

          Israel have opened everything back up and haven’t had a new spike. They just used a better vaccine.

  4. All 350 were eligible, are all people who grow food all eligible ?
    Or all their workforce over 50 years old ?
    Or all their workforce in a high risk group , but that group would have been shielding.

    • Unfortunately its more a case of an group of people who represent a risk of a covid hotspot if one was to become infected and given the “issues” cited it could be an outbreak which would be hard to contain. Perhaps there should be legislation making employers responsible for ensuring there migrant workers are registered with gp’s/ nhs and for provision of language courses etc.
      When Thanet Earth was first proposed it was lauded as the perfect potential employer for many of thanets unskilled unemployed and would provide a stepping stone back to employment and training for hunfreds of thanets workless families. Rather exposes the truth about the workshy that the vast majority of the workforce are migrants. As such arguably adding to the areas problems rather than solving some of the existing ones.

      • In reality the indigenous population are not as willing to go & line up for hours on end on a daily basis only to be sent home as not required, nor are they as willing to sacrifice their health/life with shoddy health & safety practices as people from countries which don’t have very good laws in place are, nor are they willing to work in poor conditions for minimum or in the case of many companies(not Thanet Earth who pay a living wage)under minimum(illegal)wage.

        You will of course recall that most picking jobs until recent decades used to be given to Brits, until the bosses worked out they could pay overseas workers a lot less & cut corners on health & safety. Same thing with our textiles industry-until the greedy bosses/companies worked out they could ship production overseas using sweat shops in the third world, trample over human rights-but ultimately save a truckload of money paying dirt poor adults & kids pennies for pulling 16 hour shifts in condemned buildings.

        The amount of unemployed British people who were happy to work for the Kent Potato Company for many years until it was folded by its new owners & work transferred elsewhere in 2015 proves there is no shortage of Brits willing to work poorly paid food picking/preparation jobs & that is just a lazy Sun/Daily Mail level of headline rather than being a reality, the reality is the companies choose to hire from overseas due to overall cost.

        As for the other part I couldn’t agree more-the lethal Covid outbreak at Bakkavor Tilmanstone Salad factory in Kent was a wake-up call for people working in crowded conditions, especially those from overseas-many of whom were/are related & often living in overcrowded homes.

        • You have evidence that the working conditions at Thanet Earth are illegal and health and safety lacking? So long as the minimum wage is paid i really can’t see why the local unemployed are able to so readily evade work. Its low skilled. Does little to dispell the lazy brit label.

  5. Some years ago the BBC did a programme where they took about 20 JSA claimants, and lined them up with a variety of jobs.
    One was picking asparagus. Of the 6 Brits taken on, two didn’t show at all, and the other 4 went sick after one day on the job.
    Another job was a packing line on a farm, loading measured quantities of spuds into packaging. The production line had to be slowed down, because the new recruits couldn’t keep up. They all gave up after a day or so.

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