By Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council
There’s another big milestone ahead this weekend – as many of the bars, restaurants and food outlets in Knowsley re-open for the first time since lockdown.
Across our town centres, our teams have been working hard to ensure that social distancing measures are in place and that business owners have taken all the steps necessary to allow them to welcome customers back safely.
This weekend, our children’s playgrounds will also re-open as well as our green gyms. We very much hope that our libraries will follow soon.
These are all really important steps towards recovery, and will hopefully help us to feel that a precious little slice of normality is back… plus, we’ll soon be able to get a haircut at long last!
As always throughout this pandemic, we’ve got to carefully balance this new “freedom” with our ongoing responsibility to be sensible, stick to guidance, and ensure that each of us personally does all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
It is clear that this is no time to be complacent. As well as looking forward to the further opening up of our town centres, this week we also had new figures through from Public Health England which put us at the top of an unenviable league table. It showed that Knowsley had seen the largest percentage increase in the numbers of people testing positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks.
But before we become too alarmed – that does NOT mean that we have the highest number of cases, or the highest number of deaths.
I also want to be clear that these figures do NOT mean that Knowsley is on the verge of a local lockdown, of the kind seen in Leicester. To put our figures into context, we are currently seeing approximately 20 people in every 100,000 people in Knowsley testing positive for COVID-19. In Leicester, the number was around 140 people per 100,000 – quite significantly higher. I realise that many people will be concerned at the media coverage of those numbers, which is why our Director of Public Health has provided some additional context around those figures which we’ve shared here on Knowsley News.
I want to once again thank everyone who has been doing and is continuing to do the right thing. We all want the recovery to continue, we so much want to see our town centres thriving again, and we all want our options in terms of leisure, holidays and socialising to be restored. But, for us to enjoy all those things, we also have to play our part.
So – if you are heading out this weekend to visit your local pub or restaurant, or to get that long overdue haircut – please ensure that you do so safely, and in a way which respects others. As long as each and every one of us does this, we can hope to enjoy our town centres far more in future.