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Restrictions in Cheshire West and Chester

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

Cheshire West and Chester is in Local COVID Alert Level: High

New restrictions have been introduced in west Cheshire in response to a sharp increase in the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the borough.

The restrictions

  • People must not socialise with anybody outside of their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
  • People must not socialise in a group of more than six outside, including in a garden or other spaces like beaches or parks.
  • Businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those which remain closed in law.
  • Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am. Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises, can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through.
  • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open.
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees.
  • Exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with).
  • People can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, for work or to access education, but should look to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible.

People must: 

  • Wear a face covering in those areas where this is mandated. 

People should continue to:

  • Follow social distancing rules.
  • Work from home where they can effectively do so.
  • Walk or cycle where possible, or plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

The latest government information can be found here: 

GOV.UK - Local COVID alert level: high

You can enter a postcode to quickly check what restrictions are in place in a particular area:

Local restriction check

Your questions answered

General

  • People must not socialise with anybody outside of their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • People must not socialise in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other spaces like beaches or parks (other than where specific exemptions apply in law).
  • Businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those which remain closed in law.
  • Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am. Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises, can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.
  • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
  • Exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with)
  • People can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, for work or to access education, but should look to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible

People must:

  • Wear a face covering in those areas where this is mandated

People should continue to:

  • Follow social distancing rules
  • Wash hands regularly
  • Work from home where they can effectively do so
  • Walk or cycle where possible, or plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

These measures apply to every household in Cheshire West and Chester.

These measures address the significant recent rise in COVID cases in the borough.

People gathering together and household mixing are associated with an increased risk of transmission. Data shows an increased rate of transmission in homes, at parties, pubs and restaurants.

The measures will help to protect our most vulnerable residents, keep businesses open and children in school.

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 must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them. This includes private homes, and any other indoor venues such as pubs and restaurants.

You may attend a mosque, church, synagogue, temple or other place or worship, but you should socially distance from people outside of your household. This means maintaining a distance of two metres, or one metre with mitigations (such as wearing face coverings). If possible, prayer or religious services should take place outdoors.

You must not mix indoors with anyone who you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with). Outdoors, you can meet in groups of up to six people.

Official/registered tradespeople can go to other people's homes or gardens for work purposes, as long as you follow national guidance on how to work safely there.

Yes. Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work and people looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings. Remember to social distance and wear a face covering.

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 and universities remain open and are operating in a COVID-secure way. University students must follow the specific guidance and rules set by their university.

You may continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, for work, voluntary, charitable or youth services, or to access education, within a high alert level area, but you should and aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible.

Commuter students (those who live at a family home and travel to/from university each day) should be able to continue to travel to/from their university as required, this being for education purposes.

Workplaces and schools should be implementing COVID-secure measures.

To help contain the virus, office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter. Where an employer, in consultation with their employee, judges an employee can carry out their normal duties from home they should do so.

Public sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work where necessary.

Anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of 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

There are exceptions from legal gatherings limits for registered childcare, education or training, and supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care, youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups. This means you can continue to use early years and childcare settings, including childminders, after-school clubs and nannies.

The following people can provide childcare support in private homes and gardens:

  • registered childcare providers, including nannies
  • people in your support bubble
  • people in your childcare bubble

A childcare bubble is where someone in one household provides informal (unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household. For any given childcare bubble, this must always be between the same two households.

Friends or family who do not live with you and are not part of a support or childcare bubble must not visit your home to help with childcare. Childcare bubbles are to be used to provide childcare only, and not for the purposes of different households mixing where they are otherwise not allowed to do so.

Visiting places

You should not visit a care home except in exceptional circumstances, for example to visit an individual who is at the end of their life.

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.

Venues following COVID secure guidelines can host more people in total, but no one must mix indoors with anyone who they do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) unless exemptions apply. Outdoors, you can meet in groups of up to six people.

This includes in:

  • pubs and restaurants
  • shops
  • leisure and entertainment venues
  • places of worship

At least one person in your group should give their contact details to the venue or check in using the official NHS COVID-19 app so NHS Test and Trace can contact you if needed.

The hospitality industry has enhanced measures, such as COVID secure measures, risk assessments and test and trace, which private homes don't have.

Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am. Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises, can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through. Orders must be made via phone, online or by post.

There are exceptions where people from different households can gather beyond the limits set out above. These exceptions are:

  • in a legally permitted support bubble
  • in a legally permitted childcare bubble
  • for work, volunteering to provide voluntary or charitable services
  • for registered childcare, education or training
  • for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
  • for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
  • for supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care (before and after school childcare), youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups
  • for birth partners
  • to see someone who is dying
  • to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
  • to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
  • to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable
  • to facilitate a house move
  • for a wedding or equivalent ceremony and wedding receptions where the organiser has carried out a risk assessment and taken all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the virus – up to a maximum of 15 people (not to take place in private dwellings)
  • for funerals – up to a maximum of 30 people. Wakes and other commemorative events are permitted with up to 15 people present (not to take place in private dwellings)
  • for elite sportspeople and their coaches if necessary for competition and training, as well as parents or guardians if they are a child
  • for outdoor exercise and dance classes, organised outdoor sport, and licensed outdoor physical activity
  • indoor organised team sports for disabled people, and youth sport
  • support groups of up to 15 participants – formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support (not to take place in private dwellings)
  • protests - if organised in compliance with COVID secure guidance

Shielding and other support

People with health conditions and those who were asked to shield are still particularly vulnerable and need to take special care.

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, very high alert level 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.

You should maintain social distancing wherever possible and adopt other measures to keep yourself safe, such as regular hand washing, keeping 2m apart and wearing a face covering.

More information on how to keep yourself safe outside your home can be found on the GOV.UK website.

As west Cheshire is now classified at High alert level additional advice for residents previously shielding is:

Socialising inside and outside the home

  • At local COVID alert level: high, you must not meet with people indoors in any setting unless they are part of your household or support bubble. This includes private homes, and indoors in hospitality venues, such as pubs and restaurants.
  • You may continue to see friends and family you do not live with outside, including in a garden or other outdoor space. If you do so, you must not meet in a group of more than six. In England, this limit of 6 includes children of any age.
  • At this alert level, our additional advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people is that you keep the number of different people you meet with low. The fewer people you meet, the less likely you are to catch COVID-19.
  • You are encouraged to continue to go outside with your household and/or support bubble because of the benefits of exercise. If you do choose to meet other households outside of your support bubble, this must be outside, must be in groups of less than 6 people and we advise you to keep the numbers low.
  • You do not need to maintain social distancing within your household.

Work and school

  • You should continue to work from home where possible. If you cannot work from home, you can still attend your workplace as your workplace should be COVID-secure. The general advice on work has further details about what to do if you have concerns.
  • All pupils and students should continue to attend education settings at all local COVID alert levels unless they are one of the very small number of pupils or students under paediatric care and have been advised by their GP or clinician not to attend an education setting.

Travel

  • At local COVID alert level: high, all people are advised to minimise travel.
  • In addition, we advise clinically extremely vulnerable people to avoid travel where possible except for going to work, school, or for essential shopping.
  • If you need to travel, walk or cycle if you can. If this is not possible, travelling in a private car with your own household or bubble is generally lower risk than public transport because you are likely to come into contact with fewer people.

Going to shops and pharmacies

  • You are advised to reduce the number of shopping trips you make. If you do go to the shops, consider doing so at quieter times of the day.
  • Consider using online delivery slots for food shopping or ask friends and family to help deliver shopping or collect medicines for you.
  • If you need further assistance with food shopping, NHS Volunteer Responders may be able to help.

If you require additional care and support

  • You should continue to receive care at home, either from professional social care and medical professionals, or from friends and family within your support bubble.
  • You should continue to access the NHS services that you need, and you should contact the NHS if you have an urgent or emergency care need.

Supermarkets and other retailers are continuing to offer priority delivery slots for the clinically extremely vulnerable, as well as telephone ordering to help the most vulnerable shop for themselves.

The NHS Volunteer Responders Programme will continue providing support with food, prescriptions and essential items to those who are self-isolating for any reason. You can contact them by:

You can also get up to date information on local shops and services in your area on the Live Well Cheshire West website.

If you are still concerned and need help, you can contact the Council's COVID-19 helpline on 0300 123 7031.

Details of support for the clinically extremely vulnerable will be updated if shielding is reinstated in west Cheshire.

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

Weddings, civil ceremonies, receptions and funerals

Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and wedding receptions are restricted to 15 people. Receptions should be sit down meals to ensure people can keep their distance from each other, and mustn’t take place in private dwellings.

Anyone working at these ceremonies or events is not included as part of the person limit. These events should comply with the COVID-19 secure guidance and venue capacity.

If you have guests coming from very high risk areas, such as the Liverpool city region, they should avoid traveling to other lower risk areas. Guests coming from the Cheshire West area should social distance and there is a maximum of 15 people permitted.

You must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them. When meeting others, you must follow social distancing rules. However, there are exceptions where people from different households can gather. This includes funerals, during which a maximum of 30 people can gather.

Wakes and other commemorative events are permitted with up to 15 people present but are not to take place in private dwellings. When meeting others, you must follow social distancing rules.

Events are subject to clear guidance and law for organisers to abide by to maintain public health and reduce the spread of the virus. You should check with the organiser that the event has been approved prior to attending. High risk events could be subject to cancellation at any time even up to the day of the event.

Sports and leisure

Yes, as long as these venues have the required COVID-secure risk assessments and guidelines in place. You should stay two metres away from other people.

Exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors.

Organised indoor exercise classes are only permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing in with people you do not live with or share a support bubble with. Where it is likely that groups will mix, these activities must not go ahead.

There are exceptions to enable disability and youth sport and physical activity indoors, in any number.

Travel

You can still go on holiday outside of high alert level areas, but you must only do this with people in your household or support bubble.

When travelling, it is important that you respect the rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and do not travel to different parts of the UK where their intended activities there would be prohibited by legislation passed by the relevant devolved administration. You should also avoid travelling to any part of the country subject to higher local COVID alert levels.

You should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible. If you are using public transport, face coverings must be worn unless exempt and you must observe social distancing.

It is difficult to socially distance during car journeys and transmission of coronavirus can occur in this context. You should avoid travelling with someone from outside your household or your support bubble unless you can practice social distancing.

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