AS OF 5TH JANUARY 2021 A NATIONAL LOCKDOWN IS IN FORCE ACROSS ENGLAND. YOU MUST STAY AT HOME.
You should only leave home for the following permitted reasons:
- To shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
- Going to work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, if this cannot be done from home
- Exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, which should be limited to once a day and without travelling outside your local area
- Meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary
- Seek medical assistance, or avoid injury or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
- Attend education or childcare - if eligible
Further guidance on the National Lockdown, and what you can and cannot do, is available at National lockdown: Stay at Home - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
There are three simple actions we can all do to keep on protecting each other:
- Keeping our hands washed regularly
- Wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces
- Staying at least 2 metres apart, or or 1 metre with with a face covering or other precaution
Do not leave your home if you or someone you live with has one of the following:
- A high temperature
- A new, continuous cough
- A loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste
If you have any of these symptoms, please visit https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test for information on getting a test. Please do not call 111 unless you cannot cope with the symptoms at home, your symptoms get worse, or if they do not get better after seven days.
Please use the hotlines and links below which should be able to help you with any questions or concerns you may have, as we continue our fight against the virus:
Update on travel advice:
- From 15th February, anyone arriving in the UK from a 'red-list' country will need to self-isolate for ten days in a quarantine hotel, and this will need to be arranged before your travel. Further information is available at Booking and staying in a quarantine hotel when you arrive in England - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Anyone arriving from a country not on the red list will still need to self-isolate at home and book two tests - How to quarantine when you arrive in England - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- For further travel advice please refer to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus. If you have made plans to travel you should monitor the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website regularly at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Update on education and childcare:
- Under the current National Lockdown, only children of critical workers, and vulnerable children or young people, should attend school or college. A full list of who is eligible to attend school under this criteria is available at Children of critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- There is advice for parents and guardians on getting help with remote education at Get help with remote education - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and the BBC's Bitsesize service at Home - BBC Bitesize also has many useful materials
- For details of the full guidance available to parents and carers, please visit What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Update on support for businesses, employers and employees:
- Guidance for businesses is available at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support and there is a Business Support Hotline at 0300 456 3565.
- Information on support for those who are self-employed is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/self-employment-income-suppo…
- The Government have announced an extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme , whereby they will pay up to 80% of the salaries of employees who cannot work .Further information on this is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-job-retention-sch… and there is a HMRC helpline at 0800 015 9559
- During the National Lockdown, workers should work from home where it is possible to do so
- Guidance for employees, including advice on working safely, working from home, and employment and redundancy rights, is available at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/worker-support. Employees who have concerns about inadequate social distancing measures at their workplace can get in touch with the Health & Safety Executive at https://www.hse.gov.uk/
- For any concerns accessing Universal Credit, please call 0800 328 5644
- For information on businesses in Halesowen that are still trading and offering essential services, please visit www.supporthalesowen.co.uk
Protecting our mental health:
- The Government have issued guidance on how to protect mental health for ourselves and those around us during this crisis. Further information is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-advice-to-support-mental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak
- Dudley residents who have mental health concerns should visit http://www.dwmh.nhs.uk/in-a-crisis/
- Sandwell residents who have mental health concerns should visit https://www.bcpft.nhs.uk/services/mental-health/83-for-adults/community-services/13-community-mental-health-teams
The Government has now established a Whatsapp service that those wanting the latest, factual information can sign up for. To register, just add 07860 064422 to your contacts and then message the word 'hi'. You can also now download the NHS Covid-19 App for free, for contact tracing, local area alerts and venue check-in. More information is available at https://covid19.nhs.uk/
All of these advice pages are subject to change as and when circumstances change, but I will keep the links and hotlines updated when necessary. If there is anything that I can do to support you, your family or your business or organisation in these challenging times, please do not hesitate to email me at email@example.com
A roadmap for emerging from lockdown restrictions:
The Government has produced a plan for ending the lockdown restrictions in England, with a series of steps for the lifting of some measures at each stage en route to resuming a normal way of living again. Each stage of the lifting restrictions will be subject to four tests:
- The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
- Evidence shows that vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
- Assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern
Subject to these tests being met, the roadmap for lifting restrictions will be as follows:
- On 8th March: Schools and colleges will be open for all students, practical Higher Education courses will resume, recreation or exercise outdoors with household or one other person will be permitted and wraparound childcare can resume.
- On 29th March: Up to six people or two households will be able to meet outdoors, outdoor sports and leisure facilities will re-open and organised outdoor sports (for all age groups) will return. Travel should still be minimised and holidays should not be taken.
- On 12th April: There will be a re-opening of indoor leisure facilities (for individual or household use), outdoor attractions, libraries and community centres, personal care premises, all retail, outdoor hospitality, all children's activities, domestic overnight stays and self-contained accommodation (households only), events pilots will begin and up to 15 people will be permitted at wakes and wedding receptions. Travel should still be minimised in this period and there will be no international holidays.
- On 17th May: There will be a re-opening of indoor entertainment and attractions, organised adult indoor sport, remaining accommodation facilities, remaining outdoor entertainment, and up to 30 people will be permitted at most significant life events. There will be a 30-person limit on outdoor gatherings, with the Rule of 6 or two households only for indoor gatherings. Some larger events will be permitted with capacity limits, and international travel can resume subject to review.
- On 21st June, all legal limits on social contact and gatherings at life events will be removed, as well as the re-opening of nightclubs and larger events
Further information on this roadmap, and the tests required at each step, is available at COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)