STAY AT HOME. PROTECT THE NHS. SAVE LIVES.
To contain the spread of the virus, the Government are now enforcing measures to keep people at home. You should only leave your house for the following reasons:
- Shopping for basic necessities, such as food and medicines, and this should be done as infrequently as possible
- One form of exercise per day, such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with members of your household
- Any medical need, including providing care or help to a vulnerable person
- Travelling to and from essential work, which cannot be done from home
All non-essential shops and community spaces will be closed, and gatherings of more than two people in public will be prohibited. The Police have power ti implement these measures, and can issue fines and disperse gatherings.
The Government will review these measures in three weeks time, and relax them if the evidence shows it is possible.
As we 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 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/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses 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
- 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
- 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/
Update on school closures & key workers:
- All schools, colleges and early years settings were closed down on Friday 20th March, with exceptions made for vulnerable children and children of key workers. If this affects you, there is further information available at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/schools-colleges-and-early-years-settings-to-close .A hotline for queries with school closures is available at 0800 046 8687.
- 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
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'.