Businesses are at the heart of a new council campaign to encourage residents in Tameside to stick to the coronavirus rules, with the borough's Covid infection rate still high.
The campaign called 'Do the Right Thing' features owners and staff from local pubs, restaurants and hair and beauty salons – all venues people are looking forward to visiting when the easing of restrictions allows.
They are urging people to stick to Covid rules so they can safely reopen their businesses and serve the local community soon.
In line with the government roadmap, major parts of the economy will be permitted to reopen on 12 April - including non-essential retail, hairdressers, beauty salons and personal care services. Hospitality venues would also reopen but for outdoor service only and with no mixing of households indoors.
According to the latest Public Health England data, Tameside has an infection rate of 118.3 per 100,000 people for the seven-day period ending on 19 March. It's the highest in Greater Manchester and more than twice the England average - which is 55.3.
Council chiefs still harbour concerns that Tameside could potentially be left behind with local restrictions if rates increase again and people don't follow the rules - with more national restrictions set to be relaxed next week.
They are urging residents to continue following the regulations - by not mixing households, washing their hands regularly, wear face coverings where required and maintain social distancing.
People are also being reminded to get tested if they have symptoms of Covid-19 - or if they don't have symptoms but are a frontline worker/can't work from home, or if they are in a household or social bubble with a child attending school of member of teaching staff.
Tameside Council Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington said: “There are certain aspects of life that we are all looking forward to when the easing of restrictions allows, and for many people this may be going for a pint in their local pub, getting their hair cut or eating out in a restaurant. But this can only happen if we can keep our infection rates down and we need the whole community to work with us in sticking to the rules to achieve this.
“A big thank you to local businesses for teaming up with us to appeal to the community to do the right thing so that our favourite venues can reopen and serve us again soon. Working with our community has always been a key feature of our covid response and is great to have local businesses on board in highlighting safety messages.
“Thank you to everyone for your continued support in abiding by the rules, if we all keep up our commitment to protecting ourselves and each other then we will hopefully be able to move onto living more of the lives we love very soon.”
Bil Alam, of Candolim restaurant in Stalybridge, who features in the campaign, said: “I am pleased to work with Tameside Council on this important issue and support them with the community compliance campaign. Hopefully our community will respect the rules placed on us by the government and won’t forget them once businesses start to reopen again. It’s not just people’s livelihoods at stake, it’s people’s lives which is the most important reason people still need to comply to the rules.”