**This page was last updated on Monday 1st June**

This has been a terrible time for our community and my heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones or are ill and lonely. 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.

This week the Government announced a further relaxation of the Covid-19 lockdown rules as we look to move out of lockdown.

The following changes will be in place from Monday 1st June, with other rules coming into force on Monday 15th June, While the rules are being relaxed we are not out of danger yet, and we must all continue to follow the social distancing guidelines to keep the most vulnerable in our community safe, prevent a second spike and ensure stricter restrictions do not have to be brought back.

Public spaces / exercise / outdoor activities

From 1st June, you will be permitted to meet up to five people from other households in outdoor spaces, as long as you all abide by the strict social distancing rules and keep two metres apart.

Whereas before this had to be in a public open space, these gatherings can now be held in private gardens.

However you are still not allowed to go in other people’s houses, except to gain access to the garden or to use a toilet. When you use the toilet, you must ensure all surfaces are cleaned and wiped down after a visit.

The following activities are still not permitted: visiting family and friends in their homes; going to the gym, swimming pool, or indoor sports court; using a playground or outdoor gym; visiting a private or ticketed attraction; gathering in a group of more than six people – except for funerals, at work, in emergencies or supporting the vulnerable, to fulfil legal obligations or to move house.

You should still be staying at home as much as possible, only leaving home to exercise or go outdoors, to go shopping, for work if you cannot work from home, or for medical purposes.

Vulnerable groups, the over 70s and care homes

If you are aged 70 and over, you are still advised to minimise contact with anyone outside your household. If you do go out, make sure to observe social distancing at all times.

Those who have been advised to shield by the NHS or their GP are now allowed to leave their homes with their families, as long as they stick to social distancing guidelines, and those who live alone can meet one person from another household as long as they stay two metres apart.

Those who were shielding are being advised they should still not go to work or the shops, and should avoid crowded places where they cannot physically distance.

In care homes, the Government has issued detailed guidance to help admit and care for residents safely and protect care home staff. This includes isolation procedures, PPE and infection control training, cleaning and how to provide personal care safely.

Reopening of schools

From Monday 1st June, nurseries, early years settings and primary schools are being instructed to re-open, initially for pupils in Years 1 and 6 in primary schools. Secondary schools are being told to reopen to Years 10 and 12 from Monday 15th June.

Reopening of shops

From Monday 1st June, the phased reopening of non-essential retail will begin, firstly with outdoor markets and car showrooms. From Monday 15th June, other shops can also reopen. All shops must have adequate PPE, cleaning equipment and systems in place to ensure shoppers are socially distanced before they can re-open. Hairdressers and nail bars will remain shut.

Going to work

Employers should make every effort to support working from home, including providing IT equipment as they have been already. Where work can only be done in the workplace, the Government has set out tailored guidelines for employers to protect their workforce and customers while continuing to trade or getting their business back up and running.

Workers’ rights

Employers and staff should discuss and agree working arrangements. Where work cannot be done at home employers should take clear, practical steps to help protect workers and create safe working spaces. If you remain concerned your employer is not taking all practical steps to promote social distancing you can report this to Kirklees Council here or to the Health and Safety Executive here.

The Government is urging employers to be pragmatic and discuss arrangements for working with their staff, and to take responsible decisions and listen to the concerns of workers. If you need advice about work disputes you can contact ACAS on 0800 4700622 or by visiting their website here, or join a Union here  or call the TUC direct on 020 7636 4030.

If you need help from me, please email me on tracy.brabin.mp@parliament.uk or ring my office on 01924 900036.

Public transport

The Government is encouraging people to cycle or walk to work where possible. Before travelling on public transport, you should consider if the travel is absolutely necessary.

You are encouraged to where a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible. The Government is encouraging the use of scarves or other homemade coverings, rather than buying medical or surgical masks – these should be reserved for health and care workers.

Borders and international visitors

From Monday 8th June, when people enter the UK they will be asked to provide their contact details and details of their accommodation, and to self-isolate in their accommodation for 14 days – other than those on a shortlist of exemptions.

This includes both foreign visitors coming to the UK, and British nationals returning to the country from abroad.

If you refuse to provide contact details you can be fined £100, and if you refuse to self-isolate you can be fined £1,000.

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 and 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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