STAY ALERT. CONTROL THE VIRUS. SAVE LIVES.
We can all help to control the spread of Coronavirus if we stay alert. This means you must:
- Stay at home as much as possible
- Work from home if you can
- Limit contact with other people
- Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
- Wash your hands regularly
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
As we enter the next stage in our fight back against Coronavirus, I appreciate that many people will be facing difficult circumstances and have many questions. Please use the hotlines and links below which should be able to help you:
- If you have the symptoms of coronavirus, please follow the advice on https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ . 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.
- For advice on what you can and cannot do in Phase 2 of the lockdown (in effect from 1 June 2020), please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-wh…
- For advice on what you can and cannot do in Phase 3 of the lockdown (in effect from 4 July 2020) please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-announces-easing-of-lockdown-rest…
- On 17th July 2020, the Prime Minister announced the lifting of further restrictions on the leisure industry, and a plan to reconvene larer social gatherings in the autumn subject to a successful pilot. More information is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/audiences-back-in-theatres-from-1-au…
- A full guide to the Government's strategy for rebuilding and recovering from Covid-19 is available at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/884760/Our_plan_to_rebuild_The_UK_Government_s_COVID-19_recovery_strategy.pdf
- For 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
- If you're concerned about not being able to pay energy bills during a period of self isolation, please follow the advice at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-agrees-measures-with-energy-industry-to-support-vulnerable-people-through-covid-19
- For any concerns accessing Universal Credit, please call 0800 328 5644.
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.
- For a list of the further announcements by the Chancellor on 20th March, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/the-chancellor-rishi-sunak-provides-an-updated-statement-on-coronavirus
- For further details of announcements made by the Chancellor on 3rd April, in relation to bolstering Business Interruption Loans for small businesses and a new scheme for larger businesses, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-strengthens-support-on-offer-for-business-as-first-government-backed-loans-reach-firms-in-need
- Information on support for those who are self-employed is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-what-to-do-if-youre-se…
- Guidance for employers is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-covid-19 and there is a HMRC helpline at 0800 015 9559
- From 1 August, employers should use their discretion on whether it is best practise for employees to work from home or in the office
- An extension to the furlough scheme was announced by the Chancellor on 12th May, and there is a link for employers on how to claim at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wages-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
- Guidance for employees is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-employees and 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 information on businesses in Halesowen that our still trading and offering essential services, please visit www.supporthalesowen.co.uk
Update on school closures & key workers:
- On 1 June, schools were re-opened for children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, as well as nurseries and other childcare settings. Further information is available at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/education-and-childcare
- For information on how these closures will affect exams and grades, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-details-on-exams-and-grades-…
- The Government have announced a list of 'key workers', whose children will be made a priority for education provision. They are listed as:
- Health & Social Care workers, including those working as part of the supply chain to these sectors
- Education & Childcare
- Key public services, including those running the justice system, religious staff and charities delivering frontline services, those responsible for managing the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters
- Local & National Government, provided this involves the delivery of essential public services or the response to the Coronavirus
- Food & other necessary goods (such as hygenic and veterinary medicines), including those in the production, processing, distribution and delivery
- Public safety & national security, including those with overseas roles
- Utilities, communication & financial services
- It is the Government's intention to have all children back in school by the new academic year in September
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
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.
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'.