Residents have lots to look forward to in Warrington town centre and beyond this festive season, but are being reminded to stay safe and be vigilant due to a rise in COVID cases and the Omicron variant.

There is so much happening in the run up to Christmas in Warrington, with markets, activities and workshops, family days out, shopping, dining out, festive films, and much more.

From the Luminate light trail at Walton Hall and Gardens to Culture Warrington’s festive treat ‘At No.25’, there is something for everyone to make sure you have an unforgettable Christmas.

This week in particular, Warrington Market is bringing Christmas to Time Square with festive markets running until Sunday 5 December.

Residents can also look forward to lots of options when it comes to Christmas shopping with Golden Square Shopping Centre, Cockhedge Shopping Centre, and Warrington Market, who all have COVID measures in place to reduce the spread of the virus, including mandatory face coverings (unless you are exempt).

Walking and cycling into town is now easier than ever this Christmas, with those driving in also being able to take advantage of the 24 hour parking at Time Square car park. Those travelling into the town centre via public transport must wear a face covering, following the recent government announcement.

Face coverings must also be worn in post offices, banks, estate agents, and close contact services (such as hair salons, beauty salons, barbers and tattoo and piercing studios). For the full list of public facing areas where you will be required to wear face coverings, visit GOV.UK.

While residents should enjoy the festive season, they also need to be extra vigilant when mixing with people due to the increase in cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant. The advice from the government and Directors of Public Health comes as a small number of cases of the new variant have been discovered.

Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, said: “Understandably, some residents may be concerned about cases of the new COVID-19 variant and what this will mean over the next few months.

“Residents must remember that this isn’t the time to be complacent, it is now the time to be doing all we can to reduce the spread of infection. This means wearing face coverings whenever possible, keeping your distance from others, washing your hands often, getting vaccinated, testing yourself regularly, and self-isolating when required to make sure you are not passing COVID-19 on to others.”

Thara Raj, Warrington’s Director of Public Health, said: “Although there is no confirmed cases in Warrington, we need to be extra vigilant as we start to mix with more people over the coming weeks.

“If you haven’t already, I’d encourage anyone eligible to take up the offer of both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine plus the booster when they can, as it really is your best line of defence against the virus and any new variants.”

To find out more about coronavirus in Warrington, visit warrington.gov.uk/coronavirus.

For more information on the COVID-19 Omicron variant (GOV.UK), visit: gov.uk/government/news/government-takes-decisive-action-against-new-covid-19-variant