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Statement from Bristol COVID-19 Local Engagement Board, Health Protection Advisory Committee, Health and Wellbeing Board and One City Partners

Statement from Bristol COVID-19 Local Engagement Board, Health Protection Advisory Committee, Health and Wellbeing Board and One City Partners

In this joint statement, signatories are standing together to give thanks to the city and to look forward to the future with courage and hope.

27 January 2022

Bristol is an incredible city. We have, over the last 24 months, managed to keep ourselves together, kept talking, been kind to one another, and have found new ways of working to get through the phenomenal challenges that COVID-19 has thrown our way.

As the government moves the country to ‘Plan A’, many legally mandated restrictions are being lifted, and our first lines of defence (like vaccination) become even more vital. Infection rates in Bristol remain extremely high, after only just beginning to drop from the highest peak we’ve seen throughout the last 24 months.

In the very darkest of times, our communities have shone a light throughout the city, rallying together and showing incredible resilience to keep on going. In education we’ve seen tremendous adaptability from our children and young people, and the teachers and school staff who have shown leadership and ingenuity.

Our nighttime economy has had huge success in preventing outbreaks in the sector and keeping their doors safely open, by using voluntary COVID-19 measures. Businesses have adapted again and again. Families and individuals have made enormous sacrifices and shown great courage. Our local NHS and care staff have continued to look after the most vulnerable.

One of the most incredible displays of commitment across the city and the wider region has been the roll-out of the vaccination programme.

We have seen people from all walks of life, age groups and socio-economic backgrounds turn up in their hundreds and thousands to protect themselves and protect the people around them.

Volunteers and professionals from all walks of life have stepped forward to give up their time to support our NHS at vaccination centres. Champions have emerged from community groups, some offering their expertise and others a listening ear, to answer questions, offer guidance and advice to people who need that little bit of extra time to make their decision.

To date, 80 per cent of people over the age of 16 in Bristol have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination, and the roll-out of the booster programme has been an incredible success, with 57 per cent of eligible residents having had theirs already.

We acknowledge that this pandemic is not yet over; we are likely to see further spikes and waves of infection in the coming year and we need to learn what it means to live with this virus. There are a number of important things we can all do to take care of ourselves, our neighbours, employees and loved ones which will help keep Bristol open and to help us get back to the things we love.

Vaccination is one of our strongest lines of defence against COVID-19 and it is safe and effective. It helps to protect you from serious illness caused by the virus and helps to limit the chances of you passing on the virus to other people. It is never too late to get your jab, whether it’s a first, second, third or booster. Those not vaccinated will be at greater risk as other measures are stepped down.

Taking regular lateral flow (rapid) tests helps to identify people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 but may still be infectious. We encourage the use of lateral flow tests before mixing with others, particularly before visiting vulnerable people or going to crowded places.

Alongside vaccination and regular testing, there are simple steps we can all take in our lives to put us in a stronger position to fight off infections like COVID-19, and help us to build back greener, fairer and healthier. Walking or cycling to work, prioritising our mental and emotional wellbeing and making healthy choices when it comes to our eating and drinking habits are just some of the ways we can help ourselves on the road to recovery.

Together as One City, we strongly recommend that people continue following simple, precautionary behaviours that help to save lives:

  • understand how the virus spreads – through droplets in the air and through contact with shared surfaces – and live our lives in a way that helps to minimise the risk of transmission
  • if you have symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate at home and book a PCR test
  • if you test positive for COVID-19, self-isolate immediately
  • if you are unwell, reduce the spread of infection by recovering at home
  • wear a face covering, unless exempt – in crowded areas like supermarkets and in shops, on public transport and indoor settings
  • respect one another’s space – mild illness for you could be very serious for someone else, so please think of others when you’re out and about
  • meet outdoors where you are able, or if you’re meeting indoors, make sure to open a window or door to help with ventilation 
  • help our nighttime economy and hospitality venues by providing proof of your vaccination or testing status if you are asked to
  • find ways to spend time with others safely, particularly those who are vulnerable 

Let’s be Bristol at our best. Kind, understanding and going the extra mile for one another; not because we have to, but because we care.

#WeAreBristol

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