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.
The reopening is the latest step in the government’s roadmap to easing restrictions.
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.
Yay! Our first customers are here! We are back, Margate! pic.twitter.com/TBCeMavIBO
— GB Pizza Co (@gbPizzaCo) April 12, 2021
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.
Restaurants have also geared up to cater for outdoor dining.
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.
Today marks the beginning of our response to the lifting of COVID restrictions across #Thanet. We are out today with #MargateTaskForce @KentSpecials @MTFThanet @ThanetCSP @kentfirerescue @BTPKent @KPTacOps & @ThanetCouncil ensuring everyone has a #SafeSummer pic.twitter.com/HgJG7TE630
— Kent Police Thanet (@kentpolicethan) April 12, 2021
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.
— Pink Spaghetti PA Services Thanet and Canterbury (@PinkSpag_Vikkie) April 12, 2021
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.
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.
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