A B&NES briefing on the lockdown.

Here’s how the national lockdown is going to affect you locally. Bath and North East Somerset Council has set out its plans to help residents and businesses following the announcement of a third national lockdown.

The council is urging local people to follow the new stay home guidance immediately, although the Prime Minister has announced that the law will need to be updated to reflect these new rules.

The new government restrictions say you may only leave home to:

  • shop for necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness, or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • attend education or childcare – for those eligible

From today (Tuesday 5 January) schools will close for most children, with a move to remote learning until at least mid-February. Nurseries remain open. Schools will be contacting parents and students with plans for remote learning as well as access to places for critical and vulnerable children as soon as they can.

Our services affected include:

  • Parks and play areas remain open. Tennis courts, the outdoor gym at Keynsham Memorial Park and the skatepark in Victoria Park are closed. You must follow social distancing rules and remember hands, face, space
  • Waste and recycling centres remain open – you must follow social distancing rules and remember hands, face, space
  • Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and funerals are allowed with strict limits on attendance and must only take place in COVID-19 secure venues or in public outdoor spaces unless in exceptional circumstances.
  • Leisure centres will close https://www.better.org.uk/coronavirus
  • Information and Advice centres remain open to provide critical services
  • Reserved books can still be collected from libraries

Further information about changes to our services is available on the service disruptions section of our website  https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/service-disruptions

If you are vulnerable and need help getting food, medicine, housing or other essential items, are feeling isolated, or concerned about your physical and mental wellbeing the Community Wellbeing Hub can help.

Call the Community Wellbeing Hub on 0300 247 0050 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday email BATHNES.thehub@virgincare.co.uk or go to the website: http://communitywellbeinghub.co.uk ​ or text 07870 868368.

Bath & North East Somerset Council, working with 3SG, Virgin Care, and local NHS colleagues, set up the Hub to give advice and support to those who need it during Covid-19.

If you can get support from family, friends or the local community, or can order food or medication online, please continue to do so. This means staff operating the phone line can prioritise those who need the most help and get to calls as quickly as possible.
If you need to contact the council about its services please ring Council Connect on 01225 394041 or email Council_connect@bathnes.gov.uk 

Council leader Councillor Dine Romero said: “We’ve seen a very concerning increase in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, including here in Bath & North East Somerset. It is therefore vital that we all follow the new national stay home rules to protect ourselves, our communities and our NHS including of course our own RUH.

“From the start of this pandemic the council has focused on helping local people get through this enormous challenge. We will continue to do all we can to support our local businesses, our local communities, and our most vulnerable residents.

“We will prioritise keeping key local services going, but we will also make the case strongly to central government for the right level of financial support for, particularly given the impact on us locally of the closure of income-generating attractions such as the Roman Baths which had to shut under the previous restrictions announced less than a week ago.

“With the vaccine roll out, there is hope on the horizon, but this will be a tough period for us all, so please look after each other. I would like to thank everyone for their compassion and support. Remember, the Community Wellbeing Hub is there to help, including providing support for mental health and addressing isolation.”

Dr Bruce Laurence Director of Public Health at Bath and North East Somerset Council said: “In recent weeks we have been hit by a “perfect storm” of cold winter weather, the aftermath of Christmas socialising, and the unexpected emergence of a much more infectious strain of the virus. This has led to the number of infections significantly increase across all age groups and across the country, including here, and we are starting to see extreme pressures building up across the NHS. So, now, more than ever, and even when we are all very weary, we must somehow find the strength and the resolve to follow the new lockdown rules carefully and completely. With the vaccine roll-out under way we will emerge from this bleak period, but for the next several weeks, following the basics, including hands-face-space and minimising all non-essential contact with others, have never been more important.”

More information on the government’s lockdown rules can be found here https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

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Meanwhile ….

A group of carers who provide support to adults with learning disabilities and whose work has been affected by Covid-19 can apply for financial support following a Bath & North East Somerset Council decision.

As a result of Covid restrictions, overnight and daytime respite placements through Shared Lives had to cease leaving many carers affected and unable to take advantage of the Government’s self-employed income support scheme. 

While it remains the council’s position that supplier relief or any other financial support is not available to self-employed individuals, the council has reviewed the situation relating to Shared Lives carers, and advised they can apply for supplier relief and their application will be assessed.

In Bath & North East Somerset there are 31 carers skilled and experienced carers who support 39 clients in the community.  

Councillor Rob Appleyard, cabinet member for Adult Services, said: “I am pleased to confirm that our valued Shared Lives carers will be able to apply for supplier relief funding to enable them to continue the invaluable care they provide for some of our most vulnerable residents. Covid is affecting each and everyone of us both in health and financial terms. I hope this decision provides certainty for our Shared Lives carers.”