Social visits remain socially distanced for now
You may have seen on the news that close families and friends will be allowed to have physical contact from Monday, May 17. The government has also said that there are some places where social distancing has to stay in place because there is still too much of a risk of coronavirus spreading. Prisons are environments where the virus can spread quickly and we sometimes need to take a different approach to the community.
The restrictions that currently apply to our social visits are as follows:
Video calls via Purple Visits as well as face-to-face visits with restrictions are now available for both our male and female residents, but we understand this can’t replace the contact you used to have before the pandemic.
We are working hard with public health authorities in England and Wales to understand how we can safely introduce more physical contact during visits. There are some prisons that have been piloting different ways of improving visits, such as testing visitors and holding outside family days. These pilots have been running for the last month and we will use what they learn to improve visits over the coming months.
We want to reassure you that we are working hard on how we can improve visits for you and your loved ones. We are starting to make progress on easing our restrictions in the prison, but we must do this with caution to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our residents and staff.
If you have a visit planned, please consider taking a home test before your visit and only attend if your test result is negative. This will help us prevent coronavirus from coming into the prison and keep your loved ones safe.
You can find out how to get a home test by visiting this website www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing/get-tested-for-coronavirus/
We will update you on any changes to how we run visits as soon as we can. Thank you for your patience.