Blackpool Council leader Lynn Williams stressed that the resort was not subject to any restrictions
Blackpool has been declared a Covid “enhanced response area” to bring it in line with the rest of Lancashire, which was given the status last week.
It means that residents of the resort – like those living in Fylde and Wyre – are being advised to exercise “particular caution” about mixing with people not in their household. Where possible, they are asked to meet people outdoors rather than inside and to “minimise travel” in and out of the wider Lancashire area.
However, despite people being asked to minimise travel, Blackpool Council say that the resort is very much open for business and Covid secure. People do not need to cancel their travel plans, they said.
Testing capacity will also be increased, but the package of measures – which includes support for door-to-door visits to encourage people to take up offers of testing and vaccination – will not see the county get a blanket rollout of the vaccine to all over-18s.
The move comes as the resort’s case rate more than doubled in the space of a week to stand at its highest rate since February 9, reaching 164 per 100,000 people in the seven days to June 9. A total of 229 individual cases were reported over the same period.
The data was published just before the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced a month-long delay to the lifting of the last remaining lockdown restrictions until 19th July.
The decision means that capacity limits will remain in place in hospitality, entertainment and sporting venues – while it will still not be permitted for more than six people or two households to mix indoors.
Case rates also increased in Fylde across the week to June 9 where they went up by two thirds – with 106 confirmed infections – and in Wyre, where they more than doubled, with 91 new infections.
However, all three Fylde coast council areas have far lower infection rates than the current Lancashire average of 236 per 100,000 people. The top six council areas with the highest Covid case rates in the UK are all in Lancashire.
In common with most areas of the county, the highest infection levels in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre are in the 15-19 and 20-24-year-old age ranges.
Blackpool Council’s director of public health Arif Rajpura said he welcomed any support for testing and vaccinations brought by the new enhanced response status conferred in the town.
“As it stands, most of the offers of practical support are already being delivered on the ground as we have a robust and proactive programme of community testing and vaccination in place.
“Infection rates in Blackpool have been consistently below the North West average throughout the pandemic. However, in line with many other areas across England, Blackpool has recently experienced an uptick in cases mainly related to outbreaks in a small number of community settings, particularly amongst our young adults who have not yet had their vaccinations.
“This is to be expected as society opens up, and this is why we all need to continue to follow all the COVID guidelines including hands, face, space and fresh air. The important point is that this is not currently translating into increases in the number of people who are seriously ill or hospitalised.
Meanwhile, Blackpool Council leader Lynn Williams stressed that the resort was not subject to any restrictions that did not apply elsewhere in England.
“Blackpool is open for business and there is no need for people to cancel their travel plans. This is not a travel ban, it is simply about asking people to be vigilant and take extra care in going about their daily lives.
“Our tourism industry is operating to COVID-safe standards, supported by enforcement activity and COVID marshals on the streets. We have mechanisms in place for people to be able to report potential breaches of compliance and we will act on those as appropriate to protect residents and visitors alike.
“To ensure they have a safe and enjoyable experience, people should plan ahead, take a cautious and sensible approach to social contact with others and follow all rules around social distancing and wearing face coverings where required,” Cllr Williams said.