The festive countdown has begun and although it's going to be a little different this year, there are some simple steps everyone can take to protect each other and keep coronavirus in check.  

With the introduction of the Government's new Tier 2 - High Alert restrictions yesterday we are all being encouraged to do our Christmas shopping locally this year and avoid travelling to higher Tier 3 shopping centres if at all possible.

The council has announced that retail shops will be able to extend their opening hours Mondays to Saturdays in December and January to help recoup lost income and prevent overcrowding. There are no changes to Sunday opening hours.

This comes on top of the council’s earlier announcement of free parking on all car parks after 3pm running throughout December until Sunday 3 January.

Bewdley Museum’s gift shop has introduced a new call and collect service for shoppers wishing to take advantage of a wide range of unusual gifts from its unique collection but not wanting to visit in person. This will run until Wednesday 23 December.

The majority of Wyre Forest residents will have their bins collected as usual over the festive period. Only residents who have Friday collections will be affected by changes.

Householders whose bin would have been due for collection on Friday 25 December (Christmas Day) are asked to put it out by 6am on Monday 21 December. And for those residents whose black bin would have been due to be emptied on Friday 1 January, this will now be done on Monday 28 December. All other bin collections will take place as usual. 

The Hub will be closed between Christmas and New Year but our advisors will be available by telephone between 10am and 4pm on 29 and 30 December. There will be no planning surgery on 29 December. 

Council Leader Councillor Graham Ballinger said: “Latest figures show that cases of Covid-19 in Wyre Forest are beginning to reduce, however it’s so important that we all continue to be careful in the run up to the festive season, to protect each other and our community and not undo all the progress we’ve made over the last few weeks.

“I would urge people to think very carefully before travelling long distances to do their Christmas shopping, especially if this would involve travelling to areas where the virus is more prevalent.  We have some great retail offerings here in Wyre Forest, and as a council we have tried to support shoppers and traders alike by offering free parking after 3pm and relaxing restrictions on opening hours, in the hope that we can help keep people safe.

“I would urge everyone to continue to do the basics, wash hands, wear face coverings and keep their distance so we can all enjoy a happy, healthy and safe Christmas and New Year.”

Find out changes about all our festive offers and service changes by visiting www.wyreforestdc.gov.uk/festive