THIS week marks the lifting of most legal restrictions on social contact – but Westbury residents and businesses say that they will remain cautious, continuing to use face masks and social distancing.
Nicknamed ‘Freedom Day’, Monday 19th July saw the end of a number of restrictions, including limits on the number of people that can meet; the legal requirement to wear face masks; and the removal of guidance for people to keep at least one-metre apart.
However, the government has advised that everyone remain cautious as restrictions are lifted and follow a number of recommended safety measures, including wearing face masks in crowded and enclosed spaces; meeting outdoors where possible; and limiting the close contact with people outside your household.
Wiltshire Council has also asked people to continue to be cautious and still do what they can to keep each other safe.
And some Westbury residents, businesses and services agree.
Janie Taylor who works in Cards Plus in the High Street said, “I feel that lifting restrictions of face masks is a big mistake. Along with hand sanitising and social distancing, it’s the only other thing that protects us. In the shop we all feel uneasy, we shall all be wearing our face masks still, and social distancing.
“Covid is still out there – I know of three people who have it at the moment, but I have not known any one all the way through the pandemic to have it.
“It’s also hay fever season with people coughing, and sneezing is not a good position to put other people in.”
Local resident, Zara Mead, said, “I shall just carry on as I have done all this pandemic. I’ve worked most the way through and will carry on wearing my mask and visor as I don’t want people sneezing in my face with more and more people already having ditched their masks. I don’t want the disease.”
Rosalynn Smith said, “Wearing face masks in crowded areas is a sensible precaution and the socially responsible thing to do. It should be strongly encouraged, with common sense being key. On an empty train, for example, it’s not necessary, but a crowded one is different.
“I am going to keep mine for when the incinerator comes and also maybe when walking near the main road! I would also wear one on public transport at the moment anyway and anywhere that feels overly busy.”
Simon Hall said, “The majority of transport companies across the country want masks to remain…. If we all get back to pretty much nothing, we’ll be back in lockdown by September.”
There’s also no change for Westbury’s White Horse Medical Centre – restrictions will remain the same as they were before “Freedom Day’, with staff and patients expected to observe social distancing measures, including wearing a face mask and staying at least one-metre apart.
“As we are in a high risk environment, we will be maintaining the control measures we currently have in place,” says the centre. “This will include intercom at the main door, social distancing, face coverings and PPE for healthcare staff
“The new variant is much more transmissible, and we ask all patients to be cautious when attending for a face-to-face appointment, and cancel and seek advice from 119 if in any doubt in regards to possible symptoms. Our intention is to keep both patients and staff safe while we continue to deliver you medical services. Thank you for your cooperation and patience.”