A Covid lateral flow test centre in Market Harborough is being opened up to all residents from this Monday (March 29).
The busy testing hub based in the Bowls Hall at Harborough Leisure Centre on Northampton Road is being opened up along with six other testing centres across Leicestershire.
The move is going ahead as coronavirus lockdown restrictions start to ease across the country.
It means that anyone living or working in the county without symptoms can take a quick swab test - until now only people who had to leave home to work could book a slot.
“It's one of a number of measures being taken by Leicestershire County Council to help stem the spread of the virus as the rules relax,” said a council spokeswoman.
“The council is also making home test kits available to anyone in regular contact with school-age children – kits can be collected from the community test centres - and pushing out messages across social media encouraging people to stay safe in parks and gardens if meeting up with friends and family.”
Mike Sandys, the council’s director of public health, said: “Rates in Leicestershire are at their lowest since late last summer.
“We’re seeing odd spikes in a couple of places but overall, it’s a good picture and I want to thank people for heeding the advice.
“Starting to open up is the trickiest point.
“Sadly, we’re not quite out of the woods yet and although the vaccine is rolling out and people are craving normality, if we go too fast too soon we’re likely to see more cases.”
The advice to stay cautious comes as people will be able to meet outside in groups of up to six, or two households, in parks or private gardens from this Monday.
“Spring has sprung and I suspect our parks will be popular so I’d urge people to keep on using their common sense and stay safe.
“This is especially important if you’re going into someone’s garden. “You might be tempted to pop inside – but remember the virus is spreading much more easily indoors,” stressed Mike.
“It’s so important to protect yourself and your loved ones.
“Testing is important but it doesn’t give you a free pass – you must still follow the guidance.
“It only takes 10 minutes to have a swab test at one of our centres.
“And by opening up our test centres to everyone, we’re helping people to lead more normal lives as well as breaking the chains of infection.”
So far, 21,300 Covid tests have been carried out at the county’s seven testing centres.