**This page was last updated on Monday 2nd November**

This has been a terrible time for our community and my heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones or are suffering from illness or loneliness. Thank you to the many volunteers who have worked so hard to protect and support our most vulnerable and isolated, and to our NHS staff, care workers and key workers in Batley and Spen working long days in difficult circumstances to keep us safe.

We have now entered a second national lockdown. As many will know, myself and Labour colleagues called for this to happen much sooner, to give our NHS time to ensure that they had the capacity to deal with a second wave. Unfortunately, the government have once again been too late to support people and provide clear communications.

This lockdown is not the same as the one we had in March, as schools and other educational establishments remain open, and you are able to meet with a single person outside your household or support bubble in public outdoor places, but not private gardens. Elite Sport will still go ahead, behind closed doors. There is currently no guidance for grassroots sport but I will update you as soon as we have guidance.

You can read the Government’s full guidance here. My team has summarised the guidance below so that you can refer to this page if necessary.

  1. Stay at home

This means 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 in your household/support bubble, or 1 other person
  • for any medical concerns 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

This list is not exhaustive and there are other limited circumstances where you may be permitted to leave or be outside of your home. Further Guidance will be issued

  1. Staying safe outside the home (Social Distancing)

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. You should remember the “Hands, Face, Space” rule at all times

  • 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 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)
  1. Meeting with family and friends

You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless you live with them or they are in your support bubble.

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 outdoor public places together.

You can exercise or visit outdoor public places with the people you live with, your support bubble, or 1 person from another household.

  • 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.

 

  1. Businesses and venues

To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. These include:

  • all non-essential retail, including, but not limited to clothing and electronics stores, vehicle showrooms, travel agents, betting shops, auction houses, tailors, car washes, tobacco and vape shops.
  • indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, leisure centres and gyms, sports facilities including swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks,
  • entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, adult gaming centres and arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, concert halls, zoos and other animal attractions, botanical gardens;
  • personal care facilities such as hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture, and tanning salons.

Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open. Essential retail should follow COVID-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers.

Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.

Playgrounds can remain open.

Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services. However, takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed.

Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions.

Some venues will be allowed to remain open for specific exempt activities, like childcare and support groups. Support groups that are essential to deliver in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. This includes support to victims of crime, people in drug and alcohol recovery, new parents and guardians, people with long-term illnesses, people facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, and those who have suffered bereavement.

A number of public services will also stay open and you will be able to leave home to visit them. These include:

  • the NHS and medical services like GPs. We are supporting the NHS to safely carry out urgent and non-urgent services and it is vital anyone who thinks they need any kind of medical care comes forward and seeks help.
  • Jobcentre Plus sites
  • Courts
  • Civil Registrations Offices
  1. Weddings, civil partnerships, religious services 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
  1. Going to work

To help contain the virus, if you can work from home, please do.

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.

  1. Going to school, college and university

The Government will not be closing schools, colleges or universities.

Schools have implemented a range of protective measures to make them safe.

The Prime Minister and Education Secretary have been clear that exams will go ahead next summer.

We therefore need to keep schools and colleges open so that children are able to keep progressing towards exams.

Most AS, A levels and GCSEs will be held 3 weeks later to help address the disruption caused by the pandemic.

Universities have welcomed students back and we have 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 should consider 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.
  1. Childcare and children’s activities

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.

Some youth services may be able to continue, such as 1-1 youth work and support groups, but most youth clubs and groups will need to cease for this period.

  1. Protecting people more at risk from coronavirus

If you are over 60 or clinically vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. You should be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contacts with others and should continue to wash your hands carefully and more frequently than usual and maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in your home and/or workspace

Clinically vulnerable people are those who are:

  • aged 60 or over (regardless of medical conditions)
  • under 60 with an underlying health condition listed below (that is, anyone instructed to get a flu jab each year on medical grounds):
  • chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
  • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • chronic kidney disease
  • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy
  • diabetes
  • a weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions or medicines they are taking (such as steroid tablets)
  • being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
  • pregnant

There is a further group of people who are defined, also on medical grounds, as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus – that is, people with specific serious health conditions.

Over this period, people who are vulnerable should work from home. If you cannot work from home, you are advised not to go to work and may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

You are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible, but are encouraged to go outside for exercise.

  1. Visiting relatives in care homes

Guidance on care home visits will be published ahead of Thursday. For now, you should follow existing guidance

  1. 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, 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 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,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.

  1. Financial support

Workers in any part of the UK can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80% of their salary up to £2500 a month.

The current Furlough scheme will be retained to allow employees to continue to work where they can.

Employers small or large, charitable or non-profit are eligible and because more businesses will need to close, they will now be asked to pay just National Insurance and Pensions contributions for their staff during the month of November.

The Job Support Scheme will not be introduced until after Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends. Wherever you live, you may be able to get financial help through the:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • Job Support Scheme (from 1st November)
  • New Style Employment and Support Allowance

Enforcement

West Yorkshire Police and Kirklees Council have the powers to enforce the requirements set out by the Government if people do not comply. If you are in breach of the law you may be instructed to go home, leave an area or disperse, and they may instruct you to take steps to stop your children breaking these rules. The police can also take you home or arrest you if they think it is necessary.

If the police believe you have broken the law – or you refuse to follow their instructions – they can issue you a fine of £100, up from the previous fine of £60. This is reduced to £50 if paid within two weeks. The fine amount doubles for every offence you commit to a maximum fine of £3,200.

Key contacts

If you need any help or support, please contact the following groups.

– Kirklees Covid-19 Community Response: 01484 226919

– Citizens Advice Bureau: 03444 111444

– Samaritans: 116 123

– Royal Voluntary Service: 0330 555 0310

– National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247

– Childline: 0800 1111

For the latest Government advice you can visit its Coronavirus hub here.

If you believe you may have contracted Coronavirus, you can check your symptoms via NHS 111’s online symptom checker, here.

If you need support in getting access to food or would like to donate food or volunteer with deliveries, you can contact Batley Food Bank by emailing info@batleyfoodbank.org.uk or calling 01924 474999.

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