RESIDENTS are urged to remain vigilant as more venues re-open across the borough with the further easing of lockdown restrictions from today (Monday May 17).

The lifting of Covid restrictions means Wordsley's Red House Glass Cone can welcome visitors back into exhibition spaces and the coffee house.

Leisure centres across the borough are now able to increase activities and services on offer including fitness classes at The Crystal and Dudley leisure centres.

Aquafit returns to Halesowen Leisure Centre and the soft play suite and badminton facilities are open at The Crystal Leisure Centre.

Family splash swimming sessions will also return at Dudley Leisure Centre this weekend.

The borough’s libraries will be open from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday...although Netherton Library is closed on Saturdays.

Stage three of the easing of restrictions as part of the government's roadmap out of lockdown also means groups of up to 30 people are able to meet outdoors and up to six people or two households can meet indoors.

Pubs, restaurants and cafes can now host people inside but the rule of six or two households applies.

People in care homes can have up to five visitors and are allowed to leave the premises without needing to quarantine when they return.

Weddings, receptions and wakes with up to 30 people can take place and funeral services with up to 30 mourners inside and 40 outside can be held at Gornal and Stourbridge Crematoriums. For burials 70 mourners will be able to attend.

But people are advised to continue to work from home to reduce travel and contact with others and to proceed carefully as the borough has seen a small rise in the number of confirmed Covid cases in the last week, and the council has confirmed it has been tracking a small number of cases of the Indian variant in the borough - in Halesowen and Brierley Hill.

The infection rate in Dudley currently stands at 26.7 cases per 100,000 people (a total of 86 confirmed cases reported in the last seven days) according to latest figures available from Public Health England, compared to a rate of 19 cases per 100,000 (61 reported cases) in the previous seven days.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said: "Although many will welcome the easing of restrictions today, I must ask people to proceed with caution over the next few weeks.

"I, more than anyone, want to see our businesses and communities thrive as we recover from the pandemic but we’ve already seen case numbers rise in parts of the borough and we know a strain of the Indian variant has been identified in a small number of cases so we must all continue to pull together to keep this virus in check."

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, Dudley Council's cabinet member elect for health and adult social care, added: "As we enter this next phase, it’s really important we don’t undo all our hard work so I would urge residents to continue to follow hand, face and space guidance, comply with test and trace requirements and continue to have twice weekly symptom free tests."

For a full list of council services affected and latest guidance on coronavirus including testing go to