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Restrictions in Cheshire West and Chester

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

Update - 26 November

From Wednesday, 2 December west Cheshire will be in Tier 2: High alert. Find out what this means for us:

Tier 2: High alert

Until Wednesday 2 December, the Government is taking the following actions:

  • Requiring people to stay at home, except for specific purposes.
  • Preventing gathering with people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
  • Closing certain businesses and venues.

Current national restrictions

Your questions answered

General

From Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December, the Government is taking the following actions:

  • Requiring people to stay at home, except for specific purposes.
  • Preventing gathering with people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
  • Closing certain businesses and venues.

They will be underpinned by law which will make clear about what you must and must not do from 5 November. The relevant authorities, including the police, will have powers to enforce the law – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

These restrictions replace the Tier two restrictions in our area. At the end of the period, regional restrictions will resume. Their level of severity will be based on the latest data at that time.

Find out more about COVID-19 tests and sites:

COVID-19 testing

You must not leave or be outside of your home except for specific purposes. These include:

  • for childcare or education, where this is not provided online
  • for work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home (including if your job involves working in other people's homes)
  • to exercise outdoors or visit an outdoor public place - with the people you live with, with your support bubble or, when on your own, with one person from another household (children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside).
  • for any medical concerns, reasons, appointments and emergencies, or to avoid or escape risk of injury or harm - such as domestic abuse
  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which should be as infrequent as possible
  • to visit members of your support bubble or provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer

A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household. Households in that support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together.

You should minimise time spent outside your home and when around other people ensure that you are two metres apart from anyone not in your household or support bubble. Remember - 'Hands. Face. Space':

  • hands - wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
  • face - wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
  • space - stay two metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or one metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)

You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household - meaning the people you live with – or support bubble.

You can exercise or visit outdoor public places with the people you live with, your support bubble, or 1 person from another household (children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside).

Outdoor public places include:

  • parks, beaches, countryside,
  • public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them), allotments
  • playgrounds

You cannot meet in a private garden.

These measures aim to achieve the maximum reduction in growth in the number of COVID-19 cases, preventing the NHS from being overwhelmed, whilst ensuring that schools, colleges and universities stay open and that as many people as possible continue to work.

A new continuous cough, high temperature or loss or change in sense of taste or smell. Get a test if you have symptoms by calling 119 or visiting the NHS website.

Follow the Government's new restrictions for Cheshire West, which take effect on 14 October. Wear a face covering, keep a two metre distance from others, wash your hands frequently, get a test if you have symptoms by calling 119 or visiting nhs.uk/coronavirus.

Face coverings need to be worn over both your mouth and nose. If you just cover your mouth, infectious droplets can still be released from your nose. To keep others safe, it is important to wear masks correctly.

Some people have a COVID-19 infection but do not show any symptoms.

People who do not have COVID-19 symptoms of fever, new continuous cough and loss or change in sense of taste and smell can still be infectious – particularly if they go on to develop these symptoms later.

Keep a social distance from other people outside your household and bubble – even if they appear well. Wear your mask and maintain good hand hygiene.

Rates of COVID-19 transmission are lower outside, but you can still catch COVID-19 - so it is important to maintain social distancing while outdoors.

You can find information on infection rates here:

Case numbers in particular ward areas:

Environmental health officers have new responsibilities to ensure appropriate public health measures are being followed during the coronavirus pandemic.

You can report a business that should not be open or is open outside of permitted hours or is failing to ensure that staff and customers maintain safe social distancing and hygiene measures.

We'll investigate and where necessary deal with the business using powers in the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020, working with police colleagues where appropriate.

Offending businesses could also be issued with written warning and if they continue to flout the regulations, they may be served with a notice to close. If you have concerns that a business or venue is not following the guidance, you can report it to the council at regulatoryservices@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

Education and work

Schools, colleges or universities will not be closing. Senior clinicians advise that school is the best place for children to be, and so they should continue to go to school. Schools have implemented a range of protective measures to make them safe.

Students will be given more time to prepare for their exams next year, as most AS, A levels and GCSEs will be held three weeks later to help address the disruption caused by the pandemic.

Universities have welcomed students back and there is published guidance advising universities on reopening to ensure they have safety measures in place to minimise the spread of the virus. Universities and adult education settings are moving to increased levels of online learning where possible.

There are further restrictions in place:

  • If you live at university, you must not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time. You should only return home at the end of term for Christmas. We will publish further guidance on the end of term.

Everyone who can work effectively from home must do so. Where people cannot do so (for instance people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction or manufacturing) they should continue to travel to work/attend their workplace. This is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting vital sectors and employers.

Public sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work. The risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if COVID secure guidelines are followed closely. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.

Childcare

Parents will still be able to access some registered childcare and other childcare activities (including wraparound care) where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, or for the purposes of respite care.

Early years settings can remain open. Parents are able to form a childcare bubble with another household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under. As above, some households will also be able to benefit from being in a support bubble which allows single adult households to join another household.

Some youth services may be able to continue, such as one-to-one youth work and support groups, but most youth clubs and groups will need to cease for this period.

Visiting places

Visits to care homes are permitted, subject to conditions being met. The prohibition on gatherings is subject to the following exceptions, which are relevant to care home visits: visiting a dying person and; visiting a person receiving treatment in a hospital, hospice or a care home.

To allow visits to happen, care home providers are required to:

  • Have in a place a policy for facilitating COVID19 secure visits and have shared a copy with the local authority
  • Have undertaken a risk assessment for each individual resident requiring a visit, the resident, their families / friends and any key professional involved in their day to day care should be involved in risk assessment and decision making process.
  • Ensure that the decision to allow visits or not is in the best interest of the individual.

Guidance can be found on the GOV.UK website.

People in care homes are being protected through routine testing of staff and residents to identify anyone who may have a COVID-19 infection but is not showing any symptoms. This will enable actions to be taken to self-isolate people who may be infectious, to ensure that the home remains COVID-secure. Care homes are being provided with additional advice by community infection control nurses to ensure that they are supported to prevent COVID-19 infections, and to act quickly to prevent outbreaks if necessary.

Financial support

People in Cheshire West and Chester who are working or self-employed and on a low income, who must self-isolate due to COVID-19 and cannot work from home, can claim a £500 lump-sum payment from the Government.

People with COVID-19 symptoms are required to self-isolate by law. The government announced it will be providing the £500 'Test and Trace Support' payment.

To be eligible for the support payment, all of the following must apply. The applicant must:

  • Have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because of positive coronavirus test or recent close contact with someone who has tested positive
  • Be employed or self-employed
  • Be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result;
  • Be receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income-based Employment and Support Allowance, Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit or Pension Credit

Test and Trace support payment

As a Council, we provide responsive support at point of need to both businesses and individuals facing issues related to redundancy or downsizing. We are part of the Cheshire and Warrington Redundancy Action Support Team which comprises of professional, private and public sector organisations who offer advice and broker the right level of support for your business and its employees. Our full employment support offer can be found on the Emergency Response Portal on the Council's website, where you can also find a free online Redundancy Toolkit. We provide a Job Matching service; mentoring; access to full or part funded training and reskilling opportunities; and job-readiness support for example CV development, identifying and building on skills and experience and interview techniques. If you are on a low income and struggling to pay your council tax you may be eligible to claim Council Tax Reduction. Applications can be made online at:

Claiming council tax reduction

If you are a vulnerable resident in receipt of a means tested benefit and find yourself in an emergency or crisis situation you may be able to apply for support through the Council's HELP fund. Applications can be made online Applications can be made at

Help in Emergencies for Local People (HELP)

Shielding

Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has issued updated guidance to Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) people with important additional advice on how they can protect themselves during the forthcoming four week lockdown period.

CEV people will receive a letter from government Government advising them to register (or register for someone else) with a new national online service in order to:

  • request access to a priority supermarket delivery slot (if they have already got priority supermarket deliveries, they will keep them).
  • tell their council if they need support in order to follow this guidance that you are unable to arrange yourself and cannot be provided by friends, family or other support networks
  • make sure details such as address are up to date

CEV people who have received a letter from Government are encouraged to register using their NHS number even if they do not have any support needs so that we know who needs what help and can focus on caring for others who need it.

This new online service can be found on the GOV.UK website. Please have your NHS number to hand in order to register.

If a person needs to register for support by phone, or has an urgent need, please contact our COVID-19 helpline on 0300 123 7031 Monday to Friday: 8am until 7pm, Saturday: 9am until 12.30pm, or email enquiries@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk.

You can also visit Coping with coronavirus (COVID-19) - on the Live Well Cheshire West website.

Weddings, civil ceremonies, receptions and funerals

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people, and it is advised that only close friends and family attend. Linked ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people in attendance. Anyone working is not included. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.

Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances.

Places of Worship will be closed, unless they are being used for:

  • Funerals
  • To broadcast acts of worship
  • Individual prayer
  • Formal childcare or where part of a school
  • Essential voluntary and public services, such as blood donation or food banks
  • Other exempted activities such as some support groups.

Travel

You should avoid travelling in or out of your local area, and you should look to reduce the number of journeys you make. However, you can and should still travel for a number of reasons, including:

  • travelling to work where this cannot be done from home
  • travelling to education and for caring responsibilities
  • hospital GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
  • visiting venues that are open, including essential retail
  • exercise outdoors, if you need to make a short journey to do so

If you need to travel we encourage you to walk or cycle where possible, and to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel.

Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed. This includes holidays abroad and in the UK. It also means you cannot stay in a second home, if you own one, or staying with anyone you do not live with or are in a support bubble with. There are specific exceptions, for example if you need to stay away from home (including in a second home) for work purposes, but this means people cannot travel overseas or within the UK, unless for work, education or other legally permitted reasons.

You must not travel if you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, are self-isolating as a result of coronavirus symptoms, are sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms, or have been told to self-isolate after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

If you need to use public transport - to travel to work for example - you should follow the safer travel guidance. This includes the rules on wearing face masks and advice on car sharing.

For those planning to travel into England, you should check the current travel corridor list to see whether you need to isolate for 14 days. You will still be required to abide by the restrictions set out here even if you do not need to isolate. If you do need to travel overseas from England before 2 December (and are legally permitted to do so, for example, because it is for work), even if you are returning to a place you've visited before, you should look at the rules in place at your destination, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice.

British nationals currently abroad do not need to return home immediately. However, you should check with your airline or travel operator on arrangements for returning.

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