With lockdown 2.0 now over and many businesses reopening it seems it is all systems go for Christmas. But with a recent rise in positive cases of Covid-19 and Rother and Hastings going into Tier 3, Darrell Gale, Director of Public Health for East Sussex has some messages he wants to share so we all stay as safe as possible on the run up to Christmas.

A message from Darrell Gale, Director of Public Health for East Sussex.

Putting East Sussex in the ‘high risk’ tier for coronavirus reflects the uncomfortable truth that despite having one of the lowest infection rates in the country for some time rates have risen rapidly in East Sussex over recent weeks.  

“If we each follow the rules set out for high risk areas, we can start to turn things around.

“On top of this, we all have choices to make. Reflect on who you really need to see, especially over Christmas. What can wait until the risk of the virus has reduced further.

In particular, I’d urge everyone to avoid crowds, especially in shops and marketplaces.  If you really need to go Christmas shopping, why not try to do it at less busy times? Reduce your travel and social contact as much as possible, the fewer people you see the less likely the spread. And if you must meet others, meet outside if you can.

Stay safe on the run up to Christmas

  • Know the rules. From 2nd December East Sussex is in Tier 2. This poster sets out everything you can and can’t do under Tier 2 restrictions. We must all play out part if we want to move out of the high-risk category. From Saturday 19th December Hastings and Rother will be under Tier 3 restrictions.
  • Be responsible. Avoid busy places if you can and remember, under tier 2 restrictions you can’t go shopping, or meet up in a restaurant, with people outside of your household support bubble. Some shops are opening later than usual so instead of Midnight Mass why not try TK Maxx (we don’t actually know that TK Maxx are open at midnight, and other stores are available, you’ll need to check opening times for your local stores but you get the idea!)
  • Consider your Christmas bubble carefully. The rules relax from 23-27 December allowing up to three households to mix indoors. It must be the same three households and no household can be in more than one bubble. The virus spreads more easily indoors. Read our article on how to mix households safely at Christmas and keep the risk as low as possible.
  • Hands. Face. Space. Washing your hands, covering your face and making space remains one of the best ways to help control infection rates. Read our article, Face coverings: The basics for everything you need to know about when you need to wear one, who needs to wear one and who doesn’t.
  • Self-isolate and book a test if you develop symptoms. Tests are readily available across the county and you can have your results in around 48 hours. Our article Is it just a cold? might help if you’re unsure about your symptoms. Want to know more about the testing process? Watch this video. 
  • Visit your GP if you need to and keep to routine health appointments. Health services are open as normal and you should still see your doctor if you feel unwell or if you think something isn’t right. Read our article on where to get medical help during Covid-19.

A final word from Darrell

“It will be many months before vaccinations can alter the overall path of the virus. But we can do that immediately by thinking about the rules we must follow and the effect of the actions each of us take. I’d love to see East Sussex moved out of the high-risk category, and I’m sure you would too.

“So let’s do something about it together.”

Look out for others

This year has been difficult for so many reasons. If you’re able to, check in on friends, relatives and neighbours. Think of those who are more likely to be socially isolated and keep in touch by making a call, sending an email or writing a letter. Read our article on fighting loneliness.