Patients and visitors to GP practices across Suffolk and north east Essex are being reminded they must continue to wear face coverings and observe social distancing rules from 19 July when lockdown rules ease.
Health and care leaders say while restrictions are being eased in some public places, strict infection control measures need to be followed in healthcare settings. This will reduce the risk of vulnerable people from becoming infected and help prevent Covid outbreaks that could result in the temporary closure of a surgery.
In addition to wearing a face covering, patients and visitors must practice social distancing and are being urged to wash their hands regularly.
They have also explained that they will still need to restrict access to patients and visitors and to limit the number of people accompanying people to appointments.
Anyone who refuses to wear a face covering and is not medically exempt will be refused entry to the GP practice.
Maggie Pacini, Consultant in Public Health at Essex County Council, said: “We ask for everyone’s support in keeping people safe. Although legal restrictions on social contact will be removed, people should remain cautious and continue to take sensible steps to protect themselves and those around them.
“If you are asked to continue wearing a face covering when you attend your GP surgery, please remember that this will benefit other patients and also vulnerable people who need to attend in-person. We have a duty to protect each other so that we can live safely with the virus and Keep Covid in Check.”
Stuart Keeble, Director of Public Health at Suffolk County Council, said: “Covid-19 is still at a higher rate within our local communities than we would like. Until infection rates come down, every visitor increases the risk of infection either coming into a healthcare setting or going out with a visitor.
“If you or your loved one had a compromised immune system or were recovering after a serious operation, you would want our clinical colleagues to do everything they could to keep them safe. Please keep helping us so that we can help you and your loved ones.”