‘Pandemic not over’: Council urges residents to stay safe as Covid rules eased

Hackney Council is reminding residents to stay safe as the government eases some Covid-19 restrictions from tomorrow (Thursday 27, January).  

NHS Covid Passes/negative lateral flow test results are no longer compulsory for entry into settings where large crowds gather, such as nightclubs. Workers have been allowed to return to workplaces since 19 January. 

It will also no longer be compulsory to wear face coverings, but the Government and the Council still suggest you continue to wear one in crowded and indoor spaces where you may come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

The Mayor of London is also asking people to continue to wear masks on public transport. 

You should continue to follow safer behaviours to protect yourself and others. This means: 

You can continue to get lateral flow tests free of charge from local pharmacies and Hackney testing centres.

Dr Sandra Husbands, Director of Public Health for Hackney

Although the Government’s rules on mask-wearing have relaxed, I am continuing to advise people to carry on wearing them in public spaces and indoor communal areas, and to continue to keep your distance from others, for your increased safety. 

Vaccines and testing remain our best lines of defence against the virus. The vast majority of people hospitalised now, as a result of Covid-19, are those who are unvaccinated. That is why I urge all residents who have not been vaccinated yet to do so now; or get your booster if you are eligible.

Many people do not show symptoms of Covid-19. So, I’m also continuing to ask everyone to test themselves frequently - at least twice a week and, particularly, before entering a high-risk setting involving people you wouldn’t normally come into contact with, or when visiting a vulnerable person.

Dr Sandra Husbands, Director of Public Health for Hackney
Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville

We welcome this easing of restrictions and a step towards normality. However, we need to remain cautious: the pandemic is still not over and deaths locally continue.

It’s important to remember that while vaccines and boosters offer you significant protection from becoming seriously ill, you can still contract and spread Covid-19. 

That’s why we should observe guidance and advice from our Director of Public Health, and from the Mayor of London on mask-wearing on public transport. 

We also know some people and businesses are keen to continue safe practices, like mask-wearing indoors and social distancing, and we welcome and encourage this too. This helps keep us - and particularly our more vulnerable residents - safe.  

The pandemic continues to affect our communities in many ways; that’s why we have a raft of support available for vulnerable residents and for small businesses who may be struggling at this time.

Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville

If you have tested positive for Covid-19 or live with someone who has tested positive, support is available to help you self-isolate.

This support includes:

  • Care package, delivered to your home (tests, PPE, guidance, cleaning spray and sanitiser)
  • Support calls
  • Emergency food support.

Call our helpline on 020 8356 3111, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday for more information.

Business owners can apply for funding from the Council’s Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) fund, which aims to help small businesses recover from the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Adapt Your Business programme - delivered by the Council in partnership with experienced small business advice provider and investment network Newable - will see micro and small businesses in Hackney applying for grants of up to £25,000 to help them adapt to an ever-changing business environment. 

Also open for applications is the Hackney Central Impact and Ideas Fund, with businesses encouraged to apply for innovative small or large-scale projects, which will enable them to build their economic and environmental resilience, as well as making a positive contribution to the town centre. 

The Council will launch two new grant funds later in January aimed at supporting those businesses most impacted by the rise of the Omicron variant. The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant is a one-off grant for businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors who pay business rates. The £2m Omicron Additional Restrictions Grant will support the business sectors most impacted by the omicron variant. More details will shortly be available here.