COVID-19 case numbers are rising rapidly across the whole of the UK and in other countries. We must act now to control the spread of the virus. The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home, to protect the NHS and save lives.
From Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December, the Government is taking the following action:
- Requiring people to stay at home, except for specific purposes.
- Preventing gathering with people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
- Closing certain businesses and venues.
These new measures have been carefully judged to achieve the maximum reduction in growth in the number of cases, preventing the NHS from being overwhelmed, whilst ensuring that schools, colleges and universities stay open and that as many people as possible continue to work.
The new measures will apply nationally for four weeks up to Wednesday 2 December. At the end of the period, the Government will look to return to a regional approach, based on the latest data. Read more here. Click on the image to view full size.
North Tyneside Council’s dedicated Covid-19 Support Hub
Following the new restrictions put in place by the government, North Tyneside Council’s dedicated support hub has been stepped back up for those in need of immediate help and support and who can’t call on family, friends, neighbours or carers.
It is available to anyone in urgent need of non-clinical help in the borough, but priority will be given to those identified by the NHS as clinically extremely vulnerable due to health conditions.
Support will be tailored for individual needs, including welfare phone calls, help with accessing food shopping and medicine deliveries.
The opening hours for the COVID-19 support hub are Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm, and is available via TEL: 0345 2000 101 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The council’s emergency contact numbers remain available as normal. You can find details on these here.
VODA is coordinating volunteers in North Tyneside.
Updated Guidance for the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable
The Department of Health and Social Care – DHSC has issued updated guidance for the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable from 5 November. The simplified version is that you must stay at home except for exercise or doctors’ appointments. If you cannot work from home you must not go to work. Read the full guidance here.
Impact on the VCS
Where possible, people should volunteer from home. If they cannot do so, they can volunteer outside their home if they follow the social distancing guidance and no one in their household has symptoms of coronavirus or has tested positive for coronavirus.
Voluntary and charitable activities are exempt from a number of the new restrictions. This means that, where volunteers are able to volunteer outside their home (see above) they can:
- meet in groups of any size indoors or outdoors while volunteering
- travel to volunteer or while volunteering
As always, it should be a volunteer’s personal choice whether they wish to volunteer, including outside their home, and they should not be compelled to do so by their organisation or group.
Volunteer-involving organisations must ensure their workplaces meet coronavirus safety standards.
People over the age of 60 and those who are clinically vulnerable do not face any specific restrictions on volunteering and should follow the same guidelines as above. However, as this group could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus, they may need additional support to follow social distancing rules and minimise contact with others.
Support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support.
Community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities as set out below:
- education and training (including for schools to use sports and leisure facilities where that it part of their normal provision)
- childcare purposes and supervised activities for children
- blood donation and food banks
- to provide medical treatment
- for elite sports persons (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), professional dancers and choreographers (in fitness and dance studios)
- for training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls)
- for the purposes of professional film and TV filming
The Government guidance for voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations will be updated in due course.
Financial Support Available from 5 November
- The Job Retention Scheme (furlough) will be extended from 5 November until 31 March 2021. It will initially remain at 80% – and employers will for now only contribute employers National Insurance and Pensions. Though that will be reviewed in January and employers could be asked to be more. More information about this scheme can be found here.
- Self Employment Income Support Payments – from November the government will double its support from 40 to 80% of trading profits for the self-employed. This is new. More information to follow.
- Loan Schemes – applications for Covid loan schemes will be extended to end of next month.
- Business Grants – Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for grant payments. These grants will be administered by the Local Authority. North Tyneside Council is awaiting further details from Government but will aim to launch the scheme as soon as possible.