Oxford residents are being urged to help stop the spread of coronavirus as the number of cases in the city increases.

Oxfordshire’s Director of Public Health Ansaf Azhar explains: “Local increases are to be expected as we ease out of lockdown, particularly in densely populated urban areas. This is consistent with the picture across other parts of the country, and Oxford is no exception.”

But with more events and gatherings set to take place over the coming weeks, such as Eid celebrations and a range of fairs across Oxfordshire, the Director of Public Health is keen to stress the need for everyone to maintain social distancing and stay alert.

“It is up to each of us to stop the virus spreading – our safety is literally in our own hands. Make sure you wash your hands regularly, avoid busy gatherings, keep your distance and wear a face covering where appropriate. And if you have any coronavirus symptoms, you must self-isolate immediately and call 119 to book a test.

“By taking these simple measures, we can protect ourselves and our communities. But we need to act now to stop the spread.

“We have seen other towns, such as Luton and Northampton, put local control measures in place when faced with a spike in cases, such as limiting the number of people who can meet. We are not yet in this position. But we are monitoring the situation very closely and we will put measures in place if the number of new cases continues to rise.

“We have clear systems in place through our Local Outbreak Plans to manage any local transmission hotspots. However, prevention is by far the best way to manage the situation, and the public have a vital role to play in preventing local outbreaks. My advice is simple – act now to protect yourself, protect your community, and stop the spread.”


Leisure centres prepare to reopen in southern Oxfordshire from this weekend

This weekend is one that many have been waiting for as some of the leisure centres in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse will begin opening.

There will be a gradual, phased opening from this Saturday, which includes changes to opening times. While not all facilities will be available to use from the start, there will be plenty of things for customers in southern Oxfordshire to book on to.

Better, who run the leisure centres on behalf of the councils, have been working hard to implement the guidelines set by the government to open safely from 25 July. Each leisure centre has been independently assessed by Better as they all have different facilities.

Better has outlined the strict guidelines for customers to follow when they access the buildings for their safety and those around them:

  • Customers will need to book a one-hour slot in advance online, on the Better UK smartphone app – this hour will include the time it takes to get in and out
  • Customers should turn up at their allocated time, not early or late and use the provided sanitiser on entry
  • There will be strict one-way systems in place to ensure customers can stay safe and practice social distancing
  • Customers will be required to clean machines, equipment and other areas they come into contact with after use
  • Gym equipment, pool lanes and dance studios will be operating with reduced capacity and allocated spaces
  • Customers must leave by designated route after a maximum one hour. The exit will be in a different location to the entrance to maintain a one-way flow
  • Everyone who attends a swim session to should arrive ‘pool ready’ with their swimming gear on under their clothes and having showered at home

The leisure centres will be assessed regularly by Better, and the councils envisage that more facilities will open as restrictions are relaxed and it becomes safe to do so for customers and staff.

In the first phase of opening the timings and access to facilities varies across the leisure centres in the districts, this table gives an overview of how each centre will operate:

South Oxfordshire

You can find out more about the safety measures and guidelines customers must follow, plus more about the individual leisure centres in the districts via the Better website. Image of Thame Leisure Centre’s new covid-safe layout below.

Working towards a thriving future for South Oxfordshire

Have your say on the six priority themes and illustrative projects in the Corporate Plan 2020 – 2024.  
Councillors have proposed a set of priority themes for the council over the next few years. You will recognise ideas from promises made by Councillors during their campaign for the May 2019 local elections.

The survey is open to all those living and working in South Oxfordshire, as well as council staff and councillors; we recognise that collaboration between all of us will help to build a better plan.

Please tell us if you think any themes or projects are missing or need to be expanded on, and let us know if we are on the right track. We are looking for feedback on the council’s priorities particularly in the context of the challenges ahead for Local Government; for example, we are still working to support our communities through the COVID-19 pandemic and planning for recovery, whilst facing uncertainty about our funding in the future. 

Your feedback will help councillors finalise the Corporate Plan and focus on what they and those living and working in South Oxfordshire believe will make the district a better place for businesses, for families and for future generations.

The survey is open until midnight on Thursday 13 August 2020

We will review the priorities in the plan every year. This will help to ensure they remain up to date and relevant during the period that they cover, balancing this with our budgets and the council’s climate objectives.

Great Milton Parish Council Virtual Meeting: Mon 20 July

All are welcome to attend Great Milton Parish Council’s virtual meeting on Monday 20th July at 7.30pm.  If you wish to participate, you will need to enter the following joining code into your browser and follow any instructions:

Direct link: Meeting ID: 843 3730 7696
Password: 718568

Given reported issues with security on Zoom meetings, please also advise the Chairman that you would like to attend by calling 01844 278068 in advance of the meeting. A link to the agenda appears below:

People urged to wear face coverings and stay alert

Oxfordshire residents are reminded to continue taking steps to keep themselves, and others safe as non-essential shops and services start reopen for the first time since March.

Per government guidance, any resident using public transport, or in an enclosed public space where social distancing isn’t possible, must wear a non-surgical face covering to help reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission.

Face coverings not face masks

A face covering isn’t the same as medical-grade PPE face masks. These will continue to be reserved for those working in a high-risk environment, such as health and social care.

Cloth face coverings may help us all to reduce the risk of spreading the virus if we have it, but no symptoms.

Keep your distance

It’s important to remember however that face coverings do not replace existing social distancing guidance. You should continue to maintain social distancing from those not in your household, and isolate if you, or somebody else you live with, show symptoms.

Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health Ansaf Azhar reiterated the importance of staying alert.

He said: “as we are now into the warm summer months, it’s great that we have been able to ease some aspects of lockdown. However, it’s vital we do not become complacent about the risk, and continue to abide by government guidance if we are to keep infection rates down.”