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Restrictions in Cheshire West and Chester

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

Update - 2 December

West Cheshire is in Tier 2: High alert.

GOV.UK Tier 2: High alert

Your questions answered

General

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 meet outdoors with a maximum of six people.

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.

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).

The prevalence of the virus remains high across Cheshire West and Chester. The Government is re-imposing a tiered regional approach in England to keep suppressing the virus through the winter period. These measures aim to achieve the maximum reduction in growth in the number of COVID-19 cases, preventing the NHS from being overwhelmed.

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:

regulatoryservices@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

Business

West Cheshire is now in Tier 2: High alert COVID-19 restrictions. Those non-essential businesses forced to close from 5 November to 2 December are able to open except for pubs that do not serve food that will be required to remain closed.

Cheshire West Covid-19 financial support for business grants are still available to support businesses but have changed.

There is a grant available for pubs who must remain closed because they do not serve food. The Council has no discretion over this grant and will make payments in line with Government guidance.

Support is available to businesses within the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sectors that have been significantly impacted by the social mixing restrictions of COVID-19 measures whilst the Council is under Tier 2: High alert restrictions.

The Council will pay a grant to businesses that have remained closed since 23 March 2020 such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues.

The Council is currently reviewing its policy for tranche two discretionary payments and an update will be available very soon.

We ask businesses to also keep a close eye on the Let's Talk Business website.

In addition we want to remind businesses about the other support available including:

  • Advice and guidance on accessing all types of business finance,
  • Information and support with training and reskilling
  • Import and export information, including accessing new markets
  • Start-up business support.

We work with partners across the area to provide an impartial and confidential service for businesses in all sectors of industry.

Let's Talk Business | Cheshire and Warrington Growth Hub

For the self-employed different support exists, with the self-employment income support scheme extension providing critical support. There are two grants available covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021. Full eligibility criteria and details of how to claim this support is available on GOV.UK.

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, 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.

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 in Emergencies for Local People (HELP) fund.

Help in Emergencies for Local People (HELP)

Pubs and bars must close, unless they are operating as restaurants.

Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals.

Last orders is 10pm and venues must close by 11pm.

Retail, entertainment, personal care, indoor leisure centres such as gyms and swimming pools.

Education and work

Early years settings, schools, colleges or universities will remain open. Schools have implemented a range of protective measures to make them safe.

Information about schools

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 and travel

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:

  1. Have in a place a policy for facilitating COVID-19 secure visits and have shared a copy with the local authority
  2. 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.
  3. Ensure that the decision to allow visits or not is in the best interest of the individual.

Visiting arrangements in care homes

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.

You should reduce the number of journeys made where possible. You should avoid travelling into Tier 3 areas, unless you need to travel for the purposes of work, education, medical, youth services or caring responsibilities.

Overnight stays are permitted with your household or support bubble. Venues providing accommodation will be able to open.

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.

Classes and organised adult sport can take place outdoors. It cannot take place indoors if there is any interaction between people from different households.

Organised activities for elite athletes, under 18s and disabled people can continue.

Events of this nature are open to the public but are limited to 50 per cent capacity or 2,000 people outdoors/1,000 people indoors, whichever is lower. Social distancing restrictions apply at all events.

Health

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:

NHS: Coronavirus

Follow the Government's new restrictions. 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: 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.

Shielding

Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has issued updated guidance to Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) people following the announcement of the new national tiers.

This guidance includes additional precautions covering things like socialising, travel and going to work and school. These are not rules but advice, so you can choose whether you wish to follow them.

Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) from 2 December

CEV people will receive a letter from Government advising them of the updated guidance. Unlike the guidance that has been in place since 5 November, the Government are no longer advising you to stay away from work or school. However, you should continue to keep the number of social interactions that you have low and try to reduce the amount of time you spend in settings where you are unable to maintain social distancing. This might include gatherings with large numbers of people, especially indoors, because it significantly increases your risk.

In the future, the Government will only reintroduce formal shielding advice in the very worst affected local areas and for a limited period of time. This will only apply to some, but not all, Tier 3 areas and will be based on advice from the Chief Medical Officer. The government will write to you separately to inform you if you are advised to shield. You are not advised to follow formal shielding advice again unless you receive a new shielding notification advising you to do so.

Please make sure your GP has your most up to date contact details, including your home address and, if possible, a personal email address, so that we the Government can contact you quickly in the event that guidance changes in the future.

If you are required to travel into an area in a different tier (for example to go to work or school), you should follow the guidance for whichever area is in the higher tier. For example, if you live in a Tier 1: Medium area but work in a Tier 2: High area, follow the work advice for Tier 2: High. If you live in a Tier 2: High area but work in a Tier 1: Medium area, continue to follow the advice for Tier 2: High areas.

NHS Volunteer Responders are also available to help with things like collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies and with transport to medical appointments. They can also provide a regular, friendly phone call which can be provided by different volunteers each time or by someone who was previously advised to shield and will stay in contact for several weeks. More information is available at www.nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk or you can call 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm.

If you or someone you know needs to register for support by phone, or has an urgent need, please contact our COVID -19 helpline on 0300 123 7231 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 Live Well Cheshire West.

Weddings 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, wedding receptions and wakes can be attended by a maximum of 15 guests.

Places of Worship will be open, but social distancing must be observed with anyone outside of household or support bubbles.

Test and Trace support payment

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