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Gradual easing of restrictions for locals begins next week

Riverbank House New

Torridge District Council is busily preparing for the next stages in the Governments' pandemic roadmap aimed at easing the Country towards a less restrictive way of life in the coming months. From Monday 29th March people will be able to meet outside in groups of up to six people and up to two households including in private gardens. Legislation by the government also allows the opening of outdoor sports facilities and pools, which means the Skatepark will be welcoming users from that date too with the Bideford Paddling Pool following on in the near future when resurfacing and recommissioning works are completed. Further enhancements to the Skatepark are also planned following member approval to draft and submit planning applications. Meanwhile Council officers will be working with partners to ensure second homeowners and overnight campers or holiday makers don't jump the gun ahead of the 12th of April date when wider travel will be allowed.

While Covid case numbers have dropped to levels allowing the Government to make these changes, Covid is still very active in many communities, with continued sporadic outbreaks and Torridge Councils message is still one of caution. Despite the relaxing of some rules the advice from the NHS is for people to continue to wear face masks where directed and for frequent hand washing and ongoing vigilance whether vaccinated or not.  

Residents are also being encouraged to lead by example ahead of the tourist season and respect the beautiful countryside and parks that surround us here in Devon. As part of the "Clean Devon" campaign people are being reminded to dispose of all litter and waste responsibly in bins provided or take it back home to be dealt with there. The Countryside and wildlife have benefited from the quieter periods during the pandemic and plastic pollution has been well documented in recent TV programmes and campaigns. Much of the work in raising awareness of pollution has originated here in Devon with Westward Ho! becoming the first Town to ban the sale of cheap plastic bodyboards ahead of the summer season. 

Steve Hearse - Chief Executive of Torridge District Council said:

"While locals will welcome the unveiling of some of our facilities our message to would be tourists to the area is to stay local to their own home locations for the time being. While we are in a better place than we were last year our plea is for everyone to continue to act responsibly so we don't jeopardise the summer, which will be so important to our battered tourism sector. Our Holiday destinations, hotels and restaurants and entertainment places are still closed to all but takeaway meals and while they are busy getting ready to welcome everyone back this shouldn't be until after Easter on 12th April. 

Residents can also play a part by remembering that no vaccine can be 100% effective and people should continue to follow the guidelines and stay at home as much as possible and continue to avoid contact when out and about."

The governments roadmap for opening can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021-summary

26 March 2021