NHS track and trace announcement
The NHS test and trace service will help to control the rate of reproduction (R), reduce the spread of the infection and save lives. By playing your part through the actions set out below, you will directly help to contain the virus by reducing its spread. This means that, thanks to your efforts, we will be able to go as far as it is safe to go in easing lockdown measures.
You can help in the following ways:
- if you develop symptoms, you must continue to follow the rules to self-isolate with other members of your household and order a test to find out if you have coronavirus (you can find out how to order a test here https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/)
- if you test positive for coronavirus, you must share information promptly about your recent contacts through the NHS test and trace service to help us alert other people who may need to self-isolate
- if you have had close recent contact with someone who has coronavirus, you must self-isolate if the NHS test and trace service advises you to do so.
More information on track and trace can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works
Lockdown from Saturday 4 July 2020
Can different households meet from 4th July?
Yes, two households can meet. A support bubble (i.e. a single adult household plus another household) counts as a single household. So, for example, an adult child who lives alone could visit their parents (together a single support bubble household) and their grandparents (a second household). You do not need to meet with only one other household; each day you could meet with another household, for example. You should obviously not meet if you are displaying any Coronavirus symptoms.
Where can we meet?
You can meet in any setting, indoors or outdoors, public or private. You can stay overnight away from your home with your own household and members of one other household, although you will need to keep socially distancing even in other people’s homes.
How has social distancing changed?
Where possible, you should continue to socially distance at 2 metres. However, the Government appreciates this is not always possible. If you can’t socially distance at 2 metres, you should do so at 1 metre, plus mitigating measures, for example, wearing a face mask and washing your hands regularly.
What businesses can and can't reopen?
From 4 July, significant changes are being introduced to ease the lockdown restrictions covering businesses. These measures first outlined in May and the Government, being satisfied that its five tests have been met, believes the easing of restrictions is safe.
All businesses and venues can reopen from 4 July, except for the list below, which remain closed in law:
- Beauty salons
- Bowling alleys
- Exhibition or conference centres must remain closed for exhibitions or conferences other than for those who work for the business who run the venue.
- Indoor fitness and dance studios
- Indoor gyms and sports venues
- Indoor play areas (including soft play)
- Indoor skating rinks
- Massage parlours
- Nail bars
- Piercing parlours
- Swimming pools (including water parks)
- Tanning salons
- Tattoo parlours
All other businesses can reopen from 4 July, applying guidance to ensure safe-reopening. The Government will be releasing fuller guidance for all sectors. A full list of businesses awaiting further guidance (which I will update next week) can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/opening-certain-businesses-and-venues-in-england-from-4-july-2020
Lockdown from Wednesday 13 May 2020
New lockdown FAQs – all of these questions relate to the Government’s ‘phase one of three’ for relaxing elements the lockdown. These measures will come into force on Wednesday 13th May.
Can I exercise differently and play sports now?
From Wednesday, you will be able to take unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise, sunbathe and picnic. Sports including golf, tennis, angling and wild swimming in lakes and rivers are permitted, but only within household groups and whilst maintaining a two-metre distance from people outside your household. You can also go to garden centres.
Outdoor leisure centres, swimming pools, gyms and playgrounds will continue to be closed as there is a higher risk of close contact and touching surfaces.
Can I exercise and spend time with people outside my household?
You may meet and/or exercise with one person from outside your household, provided you socially distance and are outside. The risk of infection remains significantly lower outside than inside.
Does that mean I can visit my family and friends?
You cannot visit the homes of your family and friends, but you may meet one person at a time to exercise or in the open air in public spaces. If you have caring responsibilities for a family member, you can visit them at home whilst observing social distancing wherever possible.
Can I travel for exercise?
Driving any distance in England for the purposes of travelling to a place you want to exercise is permitted.
Should I be returning to work?
If you can work remotely, you should remain at home and do so. However, if you are unable to work remotely, and unless you work in hospitality and non-essential retail, the Government is encouraging you to return to work. The Government is particularly keen that those employed in the food production, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution and scientific research sectors return to work. A full list of open and closed businesses can be found here:
How should I travel to work?
Everybody (including key workers) should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible when commuting to work. Workers should drive, walk or cycle to work wherever possible. If there is no alternative but public transport, social distancing must be observed.
Should I be wearing a face-covering if I go out in public places or to work?
It is advised, though not compulsory, that people wear homemade cloth face-coverings, as these can help reduce the risk of transmission. This is particularly important in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible. Surgical facemasks will continue to be reserved for NHS keyworkers. Continue to wash your hands before taking them on and off.
What if I am over 70, pregnant or have a pre-existing condition?
The clinically vulnerable, including those over 70 and those with specific chronic pre-existing conditions and pregnant women, should continue to take particular care to minimise contact with those outside their household but do not need to shield themselves entirely.
What if I am extremely vulnerable?
Those contacted by their GP or consultant and told they are clinically vulnerable should continue to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact. The Government will continue to support volunteer groups and the delivery of food and medicines to the extremely vulnerable.
If you are unsure if you are extremely vulnerable, a list of conditions can be found here:
Is my child’s school reopening?
If your child has not been attending school, because you or your partner is not a key worker, your child will not be returning to school from Wednesday. At the earliest possible date, primary school children in early year settings, reception, Year 1 and Year 6 may return to school from June 1. It also the Government’s ambition that students in Year 10 and 12 will return to school prior to the Summer Holiday.
How can you avoid getting and spreading the virus?
Scientists think the virus spreads via droplets from coughs and sneezes and we know it spreads easily and can stay on surfaces for a while. It's possible that a lot of us will get it and be affected by it, but if you follow the advice below you will reduce your risk and the risk to others.
- Avoid non-essential contact with others - work from home if you can, avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and mass gatherings
- Wash your hands - with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds. Do this before leaving home and after returning home, before eating and drinking, and after coughing or sneezing
- Cover your mouth and nose - with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze - tissue in the bin and wash, or disinfect, your hands immediately
- Don't touch your face - especially your eyes, nose and mouth
- Clean surfaces - disinfect surfaces around you - especially mobiles, computers, keyboards, worktops, desks, handles...
- Stay at home for 7 (individual) or 14 (group) days - this means not going out at all - do this even if you think your symptoms are mild
- Ask for help - if you find it hard to stay at home - text, email, phone, friends, family, employers or your community to get help - but they mustn't come into your home
- Keep your distance - keep 2 metres (around 3 steps) away from others - including family - for the full period - do not go to your GP surgery or hospital
- Sleep alone - if you can sleep alone you must - it will help ensure people you live with aren't infected
- Keep washing your hands - often and for 20 seconds with soap and water helps
- Drink plenty of fluids - and take everyday pain killers like paracetamol if you need to
- Keep cleaning - so you keep surfaces clean
- Reduce contact with at risk people - people over 70, women who are pregnant and those with underlying health conditions are more at risk - help keep them safe.
What are the symptoms?
If you are infected you may have very minor symptoms, minor symptoms or more severe symptoms, but the NHS cites two symptoms to look out for as:
- A new continuous cough
- A fever or high temperature
What should I do if I have either of the above symptoms?
- Protect others - don't call NHS 111
- Protect others - don't call, or go to your GP
- Protect others - don't go to your local hospital
Isolate yourself immediately
- You are, or become, unable to manage with your symptoms at home
- Your conditions get worse
- Your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
You should use the online 111 service or if you can't use the online service call 111
- Stay at home for 14 days - this means not going out at all - do this even if you think your symptoms are mild
- Ask for help - if you're finding it hard to stay at home - text, email, phone, friends, family, employers or your local community to get help - but they mustn't come into your home
- Keep your distance - keep 2 metres (around 3 steps) away from others - including family - for the full 7 days - do not go to your GP surgery or hospital
- Sleep alone - if you can sleep alone you must - it will help ensure people you live with aren't infected
- Keep washing your hands - often and for 20 seconds with soap and water helps minimise the spread
- Drink plenty of fluids - and take everyday pain killers like paracetamol
- Keep cleaning - keeping surfaces clean helps minimise the spread
- Avoid people at risk - people over 65 and those with underlying health conditions are more likely to be affected help keep them safe
Business, employees, housing and schools
- Emergency legislation will shortly be introduced to ensure no one gets evicted if they cannot pay their rent. Landlords will not be able to evict tenants for at least a three-month period and so no renters in private or social housing need to be concerned about the threat of eviction.
- The Government will also introduce a three-month mortgage holiday for those in difficult due to Coronavirus. That mortgage holiday will be extended to landlords whose tenants are experiencing difficulty in paying their rent because of Coronavirus.
- For the first time in history, the Government will pay up to 80% of people’s wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – offering grants to employers who promise to retain their staff. The Scheme will cover salaries of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month.
- The next three months of VAT will be deferred until the end of the financial year.
- Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit will be increased by £1,000 a year for the next 12 months to ensure a stronger safety net for those out of work.
- The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be interest free for twelve months, providing loans of between £1.2 million to £5 million to struggling businesses of all sizes.
- Bounce Back Loans of between £2,000 and £50,000 are available to small and medium sized businesses.
- All businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, which must have closed by 20 March 2020, will receive a 12 month holiday from paying business rates, regardless of their rateable value.
- Grants of up to £10,000 will be provided to those with little or no rateable value.
- The Government will cover the costs of Statutory Sick Pay for businesses with fewer than 250 employees, funding the costs to employers for a period of two weeks per infected employee.
- Those businesses worried about meeting their tax liabilities may be eligible to defer payments using HMRC’s Time To Pay service. Ring the dedicated COVID-19 helpline 0800 0159 559 to find out more.
- The Government has set up the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme - meaning the Government will pay the registered self-employed a grant of 80% of your average monthly profits for the last three years, up to £2,500 a month.
- The 80% figure will be calculated from your last three financial years of Tax Self-Assessments Returns.
- You will be contacted directly by HMRC and only those whose average annual profit has been £50,000 or less (which is 95% of the self-employed) will be eligible.
- If you haven't filed three years worth of self-assessment tax returns, the Government will look at the available tax returns, provided you have registered and returned for at least one year, to support you. Some evidence base is necessary to prevent fraud.
- Whilst state schools are now closed for most students, students who are the children of key workers (list below) can still attend school to make sure those key workers are able to contribute to the fight back against Coronavirus and maintain essential public services. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision
- With public examinations cancelled, a system will shortly be put in place to generate a grade for each student. That will be taken in the round, viewing predicted grades, coursework and exams already taken. An appeal system will be put in place to allow those students who feel the grades to not reflect their true level secure a more accurate grade. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-details-on-exams-and-grades-announc
Supporting the vulnerable
The Government is urging 1.5 million people who are considered to be vulnerable to stay at home for at least 12 weeks. These people are those at the highest risk of being hospitalised should they contract the virus. They will be contacted by their GP practice or specialist this week and, where your mobile number is known, through frequent text messages.
If you are vulnerable people and are self-isolating and do not have a local support network of friends and family, the Government will ensure you receive basic groceries and medicine. These Local Support Systems will likewise contact you directly and will discuss dietary and medicinal needs where necessary.
The Government guidance identifying the extremely vulnerable can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19
Sector-by-sector Government advice
- If a BnB, holiday or caravan park is your primary residence, you can remain on site.
- If you are one of these businesses you should remain open if you are some of your residents’ primary residences, if you are supporting key workers or homeless people through arrangement with your local authority.
Breweries and Pubs (Spoilt Beer):
- Brewers can now appoint publicans to destroy spoilt beer – an Authorised Company Representative from the brewery does not need to be present.