How Calderdale is set to welcome more businesses and people back safely
With highest risk sectors – including hospitality – able to open from May 17, Calderdale Council is ready to welcome visitors to the district while observing safety measures.
Following the confirmation from the Prime Minister that the next stage of the Government’s roadmap out of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown will go ahead as planned from Monday, the council is reviewing the impact on its services.
Leader of Calderdale Council, Coun Tim Swift (Lab, Town), said perhaps the most significant change is the reopening of most indoor venues.
“As part of this step, we’re excited to reopen more of our services and welcome customers back to council facilities, including additional sports options and the reopening of our cultural venues including the Victoria Theatre and Shibden Hall.
“The easing of restrictions will also be very welcome to our tourism industry, which has suffered so much.
“We’re looking forward to visitors returning to Calderdale, but as always, it’s important that this is done safely.
“Whilst we know that people are excited to be able to do more of the things they love, it’s so important that we approach this next stage with caution and keep up the good work to prevent the spread of the virus,” he said.
The council’s Director of Public Health, Deborah Harkins, said moving to the next phase of the Government’s roadmap is a step in the right direction towards a more familiar future, but with care.
“We mustn’t be complacent, and we need to continue to do everything we can to control the virus. We are going to be living with COVID-19 for some time.
“Case rates across the West Yorkshire region are currently higher than other parts of the country, so it’s important to remember to take-up the vaccine when invited and keep doing the three big things – limit mixing with others, wear a face covering and self-isolate when necessary.
“It’s also important to keep using the free rapid testing kits twice a week, but only if you don’t have symptoms.
“If you develop any COVID symptoms it’s vital you take the more reliable PCR test.”
COVID secure guidance remains in place including limits on the numbers of people allowed to meet – up to six people or two households can meet indoors, with groups of up to 30 allowed in outdoor areas.
Outdoor mixing has a lower risk of spreading COVID-19 than indoor mixing, so people are still encouraged to meet outdoors wherever possible from Monday.
Shibden Hall will reopen for visitors from Monday, with pre-booked tickets required and are available at museums.calderdale.gov.uk.
Initial efforts are focused on reopening Shibden safely, but details about further museum reopenings, including Bankfield Museum, will be available soon.
With other council leisure centres already open, North Bridge Leisure Centre, Halifax, will reopen from Monday.
Indoor classes can also resume at all sites, but social distancing means places are limited and must be pre-booked.
Swimming lessons for children will also resume from Monday and the council says all those whose lessons have been affected by the Halifax Pool closure have been contacted and alternative provision arranged.
Coaching courses, badminton and outdoor five-a-side football (for FA registered clubs) can also resume, the council says.
The Victoria Theatre in Halifax will reopen in May with a series of socially distanced events, with one-way systems in place, enhanced cleaning and hand sanitiser stations throughout the venue and staggered arrival times.
Audiences will also be required to wear face coverings and to check-in via the NHS Test and Trace QR code upon entry.
The council’s Customer First service is currently delivering face-to-face support for customers on a limited basis from Halifax Central Library, currently by appointment only, which can be arranged by calling 01422 288001, and the easiest and quickest way to access council services is online.
The limit on the number of people allowed to attend funerals has been removed earlier than planned, although social distancing is still required.
Due to space restrictions in the chapel at Park Wood crematorium, it is still only possible to accommodate 28 people at cremations, but, understanding how important it is for family and friends to be able to grieve together, the council will continue to take advice on when the number can safely be increased.
However, as the risks are lower and there are not the same space restrictions, there will be no limit on the number of mourners at burials in our cemeteries.
The council is also continuing to support businesses as they reopen.