Published: Friday, 10th December 2021

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement that the Government will be implementing Plan B of its Winter Plan from today, Friday 10 December, we are advising residents of changes to our facilities.

On Wednesday evening, the government announced the return of a number of guidelines in response to the risks of the Omicron variant. Plan B involves face coverings in most indoor settings by law unless exempt, office workers working from home if possible and certain venues and events checking the vaccination status, Covid test result, or exemption of visitors aged 18 years and over.

We are committed to keeping services running for residents, however, face coverings in the following council run facilities will be mandatory from today, Friday 10 December:

  • Medway Libraries and Community Hubs
  • Youth centres
  • The Central and Brook Theatres
  • Heritage sites including Rochester Castle, Rochester Cathedral, Eastgate House, Guildhall Museum, Medway Archive Centre, Visitor Information Centre and Rochester Castle Gardens (this includes the Rochester Christmas Market)
  • Medway Register Office
  • Medway Crematorium and Cemeteries
  • Communal areas in Medway Adult Education establishments.

Voters in the Rochester East By-Election next Thursday 16 December will be required to wear face coverings when visiting their polling stations.

Face coverings are optional in outdoor settings, but are recommended, and residents are urged to be respectful of all who chose to wear them. If residents are heading somewhere that may be crowded, enclosed or where there will be people you don’t usually meet, they are reminded to take a symptom-free test 24 hours before arriving and a few days after. This will help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Find out where you can get a symptom-free test.

Keep our loved ones and families safe

Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “We understand that it is disappointing to see the return of certain rules and guidance but in the run up to the Christmas festivities we must do all we can to keep ourselves, our loved ones and our families safe. The council is implementing the new government guidance in our facilities and we urge people using our services to abide by them when visiting.  After last year, I know we are all keen to spend time with family and friends over the festive period, so following the rules is critical to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Protect and support our residents

James Williams, Medway Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “ We are working closely with our health colleagues across Kent and Medway to do all we can to protect and support our local residents, particularly the most vulnerable members of our community. The severity of the new variant is still being investigated, so we must be cautious and follow government guidance. By working from home, wearing face coverings, continuing to test regularly, getting all vaccines including a booster, we will protect our loved ones and prevent the spread of this deadly virus.

“We would remind people that if they develop coronavirus symptoms they must self-isolate and book a test as quickly as possible and if you have been a contact of someone who may have been infected with the Omicron variant, you must self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of your age, vaccination status or any negative test results.”

For the latest government advice, visit the government website and find local updates on our webpage.

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