Safely welcoming the further easing of restrictions

Following the confirmation from the Prime Minister that the next stage of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown will go ahead as planned from Monday 17 May, Calderdale Council is reviewing the impact on its services.

The Leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr Tim Swift, said:

“Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown sees further relaxations on restrictions, with perhaps the most significant change being the reopening of most indoor venues.

“As part of this step, we’re excited to reopen more of our services and welcome customers back to Council facilities, including additional sports options and the reopening of our cultural venues including the Victoria Theatre and Shibden Hall.

“The easing of restrictions will also be very welcome to our tourism industry, which has suffered so much. We’re looking forward to visitors returning to Calderdale, but as always, it’s important that this is done safely.

“Whilst we know that people are excited to be able to do more of the things they love, it’s so important that we approach this next stage with caution and keep up the good work to prevent the spread of the virus.”

Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Health, Deborah Harkins, said:

“Moving to the next phase of the Government’s roadmap is a step in the right direction towards a more familiar future, but we mustn’t be complacent, and we need to continue to do everything we can to control the virus. We are going to be living with COVID-19 for some time.

“The case rates across the West Yorkshire region are currently higher than other parts of the country, so it’s important to remember to take-up the vaccine when invited and keep doing the three big things – limit mixing with others, wear a face covering and self-isolate when necessary.

“It’s also important to keep using the free rapid testing kits twice a week, but only if you don’t have symptoms. If you develop any COVID symptoms it’s vital you take the more reliable PCR test. Find out more at link).”

As part of step 3 of the roadmap, most businesses, other than those in the highest risk sectors, can reopen, including indoor hospitality. However, COVID secure guidance will remain in place including limits on the numbers of people allowed to meet.

From Monday 17 May up to six people or two households can meet indoors, with groups of up to 30 allowed in outdoor areas. Outdoor mixing has a lower risk of spreading COVID-19 than indoor mixing, so people are still encouraged to meet outdoors wherever possible.

Additional Council services are also able to reopen from May 17, in line with the national roadmap and COVID-safety guidelines.

Shibden Hall will reopen for visitors from Monday 17 May. Pre-booked tickets are required and are available at Visitors can also still explore Shibden Hall via the interactive Virtual Tour or browse online exhibitions. Initial efforts are focused on reopening Shibden safely, but detail about further museum reopenings, including Bankfield Museum, will be available soon.

In addition to the sports centre sites already open at Brighouse, Sowerby Bridge and Todmorden; North Bridge Leisure Centre will reopen from Monday 17 May. Indoor classes can also resume at all sites, but social distancing means places are limited and must be pre-booked. Please check  for timetables and booking details.

Swimming lessons for children will also resume from Monday 17 May. All those whose lessons have been affected by the Halifax Pool closure have been contacted and alternative provision arranged. Coaching courses, badminton and outdoor five-a-side football (for FA registered clubs) can also resume.

The Victoria Theatre in Halifax will reopen in May with a series of socially distanced events. In addition to socially distanced seating in the auditorium, there will be one-way systems in place, enhanced cleaning and hand sanitiser stations throughout the venue and staggered arrival times.

Audiences will also be required to wear face coverings and to check-in via the NHS Test and Trace QR code upon entry. More information and booking details can be found at link)

To provide further support for residents, the Council’s Customer First service is currently delivering face-to-face support for customers on a limited basis from Halifax Central Library. This is currently by appointment only, which can be arranged by calling 01422 288001. The easiest and quickest way to access Council services is online where customers can receive advice and support via Web Chat if they need it.

As part of the Prime Minister’s announcement, it was also confirmed that the limit on the number of people allowed to attend funerals would be removed earlier than planned, although social distancing is still required. Due to space restrictions in the chapel at Park Wood crematorium, it’s still only possible to accommodate 28 people at cremations, but we understand how important it is for family and friends to be able to grieve together so we will continue to take advice on when we can safely increase this number. However, as the risks are lower and there are not the same space restrictions, there will be no limit on the number of mourners at burials in our cemeteries.

Council meetings will start to be held in person, beginning with Annual Council on Wednesday 19 May, which will be held in Halifax Minster to allow full attendance by all Members and a restricted number of officers, with social distancing in place. Consideration is being given to how future meetings will be held, taking into account national legislation and the further implementation of the Government’s roadmap.

The Council is continuing to support businesses as they reopen. Council teams have worked with local businesses throughout the pandemic, providing a reassuring presence, carrying out regular patrols, visiting premises, giving advice to businesses, engaging with local people, and enforcing rules where necessary.

For all the latest information on COVID-19 in Calderdale, including advice, service updates and details of support, visit For full details of the national restrictions changes from Monday 17 May, visit link)