ST HELENS’ director of Public Health has stressed the importance of keeping two metres apart from other people when outdoors and advised wearing a face covering when doing your shopping, as the lockdown restrictions begin to ease.

From this week, groups of up to six people from different households can meet outside, including in private gardens, provided strict social distancing guidelines are followed.

People are still not allowed to go inside other households to visit their friends or family, other than to access the garden or to use the toilet.

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Those who are shielding should continue to do so but can now leave their home. This can be done with members of your own household, or if you live alone, you can spend time outdoors with one person from another household.

If you do go out, you should ensure you maintain two metres apart from other people.

Sue Forster, director of Public Health at St Helens Council, said: “As restrictions on what people can do, especially for some people who were part of the shielding list, have been eased slightly it is understandable that people want to know what they need to do to make sure they keep themselves as safe as possible.

“It is important to remember the guidelines for social distancing of two metres apart from someone not in the same household as you.

“People who are part of the shielding list can now go outside for exercise but are encouraged to only do so with other members of their household or if they live alone with one other person, again following social distancing rules.

“Though they should still avoid visiting shops and continue to get support with food and prescriptions being delivered.”

Figures published by Public Health England continue to indicate a slowdown in infections in St Helens, although local officials remain cautious, particularly with lockdown measures beginning to ease.

As of 9am on Tuesday, 753 people had been confirmed as testing positive for COVID-19 in St Helens since the outbreak began in mid-March, revised down from 754 on Monday. A week earlier, there were 752 cases reported.

Ms Forster said practising good hygiene continues to remain vital in stopping the spread of the virus.

St Helens Star: Sue Forster, director of Public Health at St Helens CouncilSue Forster, director of Public Health at St Helens Council

She advises to wash your hands regularly with soap and hot water for 30 seconds, avoid touching your face and think about using a face covering when going into confined spaces such as using public transport or shopping.

A cloth face covering should cover your mouth and can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head.

You should wash a face covering regularly. It can go in with other laundry, using your normal detergent.

“It is also vital if you have a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or experience a loss or change of taste or smell that you make sure you self-isolate for seven days and your household does too for 14 days,” said Ms Forster.

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“Don’t forget that if you do feel unwell please contact your GP or call NHS 111.

“All these measures will help us to protect ourselves and others from catching and spreading coronavirus.”

For more information on the government guidelines, visit