As England moves to Step 2 of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown on Monday 12 April, there will be a number of changes to Council buildings and services.
All four Halton libraries reopen on Monday with the same safety procedures as were previously in place: Face coverings must be worn (if not exempt); hand sanitising on entry; test and trace / scan QR code; issuing and returning of books; up to one hour per customer on the PCs per day; Choose and Collect service still operating; Home Library Service still operating for those who aren’t able to get to a library. For opening times visit https://library.haltonbc.info/
The wait is over for Halton residents who have been missing a swim and the gym during lockdown, as Halton’s leisure facilities at Kingsway and Brookvale get set to reopen on Monday, April 12.
The reopening is in line with the next step in the Government’s roadmap to lift COVID-19 restrictions. Table tennis, badminton and squash will also be restarting. However, in line with the guidance, these activities can only take place between people from the same household/support bubble. Sports halls are available for qualified instructors, clubs, national governing bodies or charities to hire for under 18 supervised activity or for organised indoor team sports for disabled people.
The safety measures that the centres put in place prior to the national lockdown will still be in place, including one-way systems, clear signage and booking systems to control numbers within each activity area.
Swimming lessons will restart at Kingsway and Brookvale from 19 April. Updates on swimming lessons are available online at https://activehalton.co.uk/
Runcorn Swimming Pool is temporarily closed for essential maintenance and is due to reopen in the near future.
Halton’s Community Centres will be open for pre-booked group activities only, and not to the general public.
Cafes within community centres will be open to the public for takeaway only.
Widnes Market, operated by Halton Borough Council, reopens for business again on Monday April 12 now that retail businesses have been given the green light to trade once again.
All the traders, including hairdressers and personal beauty stalls, have been busy during the lockdown refurbishing stalls, re-stocking and making sure that the reopening experience is safe for everyone.
As part of safe shopping procedures, wearing masks while shopping will still be required, unless you are exempt, and delivery services may continue – but the best experience will be to return and visit the market for yourself!
Infrastructure within the market has also been upgraded, including improvements to the outdoor market canopy which will be a welcome addition to the shoppers. All the staff and traders look forward to the return of regular trading, but most of all, seeing all our customers return to Widnes Market.
Weddings – up to 15 people may now attend a wedding. This figure includes the couple, but excludes the staff required to be present.
Halton Direct Links in Runcorn and Widnes are already open, 9am-1pm Monday-Friday.
Step 2 of the Government roadmap also sees the opening of non-essential retail, personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons, and most outdoor attractions and settings including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas. Self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.
Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors at Step 2 and there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew, although customers must order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’). Wider social contact rules will apply in all these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households.
Then Council is asking everyone in Halton to help keep infection levels down by:
- Continuing to follow the principles of ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’
- Sticking to the rules and following the COVID-secure measures that are in place in shops and other venues
- Getting tested regularly even if you have no symptoms
- Self-isolating and getting a test If you have Covid symptoms
- Getting vaccinated when it’s your turn.