Government restrictions imposed in St Helens Borough mean that the annual Spark in the Park fireworks display will not be going ahead this year, as the council sets out ways in which residents celebrating Bonfire Night and Halloween can do so safely at home.
With Halloween approaching participation in ‘Trick or Treating’ is being discouraged this year to prevent further spread of Covid-19.
Under new Government restrictions, organising a large-scale visitor attraction like Spark in the Park and encouraging such unnecessary social mixing would not be possible.
The threat of Covid-19 is still present and rising across the region leading to the Government placing St Helens Borough and the Liverpool City Region on the ‘very high’ (Tier 3) alert level from Wednesday 14 October.
Hospital admission rates are increasing with Whiston Hospital seeing its number of positive Covid-19 cases doubling over the last week. The hospital now plans to open a fourth Covid-19 ward to cope with the increase in admissions.
Parents are advised that the traditional Trick or Treating carries an increased risk of infection by its nature, with significant and unnecessary social mixing between many different households.
Residents may wish to arrange their own fireworks at home but are reminded that fireworks can be extremely dangerous. If you must have fireworks, you are urged to use them safely, with respect and consideration towards neighbours, and without breaking current coronavirus lockdown measures. For firework safety guidance visit www.merseyfire.gov.uk/safety-advice/community-safety/firework-and-sparkler-safety.
Currently, it is against the law to meet with members of other households outside of your support or childcare bubble in a home or private garden, as well as restaurants, cafes and all other indoor spaces.
For the latest information on the current restrictions visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/coronavirus.
In place of the traditional activities, St Helens Borough Council has created an online #AwesomeAutumn hub, with a host of activities, safety tips, family crafts and recipes. You can also take part in two live quiz events on Halloween (31st October) and Bonfire Night (5th November) starting at 6pm.
Families can also download and print a series of colouring sheets, which can keep younger children entertained in the spirit of Halloween along with their favourite spooky film.
Visit the hub at www.sthelens.gov.uk/awesomeautumn.
The announcement comes as this year’s Operation Good Guy launches, an annual campaign in which local agencies including the council, Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and social landlords work together to combat anti-social behaviour and nuisance fires and keep St Helens Borough safe and clean during the Halloween and bonfire period.
Councillor Anthony Burns, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure, Libraries and Heritage, said: “As residents of the borough with families of our own we know how difficult it will be without the usual events this year, but we must all continue to play our part now or risk further lives and further restrictions.
“Residents will be aware of the regional rise in cases of this deadly virus and the new Tier 3 restrictions imposed on us by Government. It is important that we take every necessary action to protect our communities.
“In addition to the current restrictions, please continue to wash your hands, wear a face covering if you can and maintain social distance from others.”
Councillor Jeanie Bell, Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, said: “While we run our Good Guy campaign every year, this season presents unique community safety challenges in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
“So we are calling on residents to be #AutumnAllies, and support the efforts of local organisations in keeping St Helens Borough safe and clean – particularly so that the emergency services are free to deal with other emergencies, including those brought about by the pandemic.
“This means not only preventing behaviours which increase the risk of injuries – such as fireworks misuse, nuisance fires being lit, anti-social behaviour and illegal firework sales, but also discouraging behaviours which increase the risk of coronavirus transmission – such as trick or treating, public bonfire events and firework displays and other public gatherings.
“Support our partners in Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service by reporting fly-tipped waste on public land and open spaces for removal to prevent deliberate fire-setting, support Merseyside Police by knowing your children’s whereabouts and preventing anti-social behaviour, and support our NHS by keeping your family celebrations safe, following the firework code, and not trick or treating.”
Report fly-tipped waste to the council by calling 01744 676789 (8am-6pm weekdays, 10am–2pm Saturdays) or do it online at www.sthelens.gov.uk/contactus.