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Christmas is coming, but we need to take urgent action to stop the spread of Coronavirus

November 22, 2020 8:00 AM

Mayor Dave HodgsonThis week, we switched the Christmas Lights on in Bedford. Sadly this wasn't the event we have become used to over the years with the Coronavirus pandemic preventing a big switch-on.

This Christmas will be very different for any we have ever experienced before, although it is not clear what restrictions the Government will have in place yet.

Mayor Dave Hodgson said "I am determined that we are able to have some joy regardless and along with the Christmas lights, the Council has been looking at alternative plans to celebrate once the current restrictions have been lifted in December. Work is taking place with local shops and businesses to provide a safe celebration of Christmas in Bedford Borough." Plans this year include:

  • A new Christmas trail to find the 12 Christmas characters hidden around the town centre, starting from 3rd December
  • Christmas Light displays across Bedford town centre
  • Festive window displays
  • A traditional decorated Christmas tree
  • A Christmas Card Competition display
  • Made in Bedford Christmas Artisan Market on 13th December
  • A virtual Santa's Grotto

Free parking will be available for two hours every day in Queens Street Car Park. There is also free parking on offer at weekends in the council managed town centre car parks. The Harpur Centre underground car park will also be free after 6pm on shopping nights.

Some businesses in Bedford Town Centre will also be extending their opening hours to help reduce the number of people using shops at the same time. Bedford's BID Love Bedford will be updating their website regularly to highlight business that are open and will be extending their hours. For more information, on businesses currently open and for click & collect and delivery services, visit https://www.lovebedford.co.uk/covid/.

Mayor Dave added "We are now just over halfway through the Government's second Lockdown, and it is too early to see if it has worked. Cases have continued to rise locally since then and the number of people in Bedford Hospital with coronavirus has reached an all-time high - we have now included information about the number of inpatients with Coronavirus in the Bedford and Luton & Dunstable hospital sites to the weekly infographic. We have seen 291 positive Coronavirus cases in the week to 15th November and sadly we have also had 4 deaths in the week to 6th November. Our weekly positive cases is now at 167.9 per 100,000 population. You can see the latest snapshot here."

The Council has been supporting businesses including pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops that have had to close by administering the latest Business Support Grants. We are also encouraging residents to support our local businesses by shopping online with them where they can.

After the current restrictions it is expected that the country will return to the approach of medium, high and very high localised tiers. We need local residents to take urgent action to stop the spread of Coronavirus.

Wherever possible residents are asked to stay home and limit their contact with people, other than those they live with or have formed a support bubble with. By limiting the contact you have with others you limit the opportunity for the virus to spread. If you do have to go out, following the hands, face space advice is key to driving down the virus levels, protecting each other and reducing the threat of further restrictions.