Residents in County Durham are being reminded about the importance of staying at home during the coronavirus outbreak.
With the Easter bank holiday fast approaching, Durham County Council is asking residents to continue to stay at home and only leave the house for essential reasons outlined by the government in order to save lives.
These essential reasons are shopping for basic necessities, which should be done as infrequently as possible, one form of exercise per day, any medical need, or to travel for work purposes but only when this cannot be done from home.
Staying at home as much as possible, especially during the Easter break, is vital to stopping further spread of coronavirus and protecting members of the community who are at risk. Those who do not show any symptoms can still carry and spread the virus to others.
However, staying at home does not mean the holiday break cannot be enjoyed. The council is offering a number of activities and services to keep families entertained together during the stay at home period, including a wide range of online education and leisure activities for children.
The council is also encouraging residents to take care of their mental health during the stay at home period. On its website, the council has prepared a dedicated page of advice and features five top tips for mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.
This includes limiting news reading and seeking information from reputable sources, keeping in touch with friends, family and colleagues, ensuring to eat and exercise well, maintaining a healthy work from home routine, and focusing on what you can control.
A full list of fun resources, activities, as well as information and advice on staying at home, can be found online at www.durham.gov.uk/stayhomesavelives
Popular attractions, such as Bowes Museum, Raby Castle and museums under The Auckland Project, are offering a ‘museums at home’ experience.
At-home visitors can explore collections online, listen to oral histories, bake with traditional Easter recipes, as well access a number of resources for families including craft packs and learning materials.
Meanwhile, Durham Cathedral is offering virtual services which are being live streamed daily for morning and evening prayer. The cathedral is providing links to Church of England worship and prayer, as well as downloadable activity resources for children.
While the stay at home period is a good opportunity for residents to have a clear-out, or to do some DIY or gardening, the council is also reminding residents that all Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) are closed under government guidance.
To keep streets clean and safe during this time, and to assist bin crews who are working to prioritise and maintain general waste, the council is asking residents to consider postponing home projects.
Where this is not reasonable, residents are being asked to store unwanted items indoors, or consider home composting garden waste, until HWRCs can be reopened and waste can be disposed of appropriately.
There will be no change to bin collections over Easter or during the Bank Holiday and residents are reminded to put their bin out as normal. Bins should be placed at the kerbside by 7am on their usual collection day. To find out your collection day, enter your postcode at My Durham at www.durham.gov.uk
Cllr Lucy Hovvels MBE, Cabinet member for adult and health services, said: “Now more than ever, particularly when people may wish to spend the Easter break outdoors, it is vital that every resident keeps following government guidelines and stays at home to stop the spread of the virus and save lives.
“Even with the temptation of nice weather, it is important that we all continue to play a part in helping to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and protect those in our community who are vulnerable and at risk.
“There are still plenty of exciting things to do to keep yourself and your family entertained while staying at home during the Easter period, and we are working hard to ensure services are maintained and our residents are supported.”