CORONAVIRUS BULLETIN – as at 5th January 2021

I hope you are keeping as well as possible in these difficult times. Changes to Covid restrictions are occurring rapidly.  On 5th January England entered tier 5 restrictions which means we are now under a national lockdown. These restrictions are particularly difficult but the new variant of the virus is highly transmissible. Staying at home, washing your hands and wearing a mask where appropriate will help to cut down on transmissions of the virus. Know that all you have done and sacrificed to stay home this year has saved lives and helped to relieve the overwhelming pressure on our NHS.

Covid Tests

Anyone with Coronavirus symptoms can book a test by visiting: https://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/covid-19-testing/

For asymptomatic people living in Wandsworth Lateral flow tests are now available. These tests are particularly useful for essential workers, those who work in key public services and residents who are volunteering or providing care for a vulnerable person.

Testing is carried out at the Civic Suite on Wandsworth High Street. Tests must be booked in advance and you can book online at: https://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/book-lateral-flow-test/

Vaccine Rollout

The vaccine is currently being offered to priority groups in Wandsworth and it is expected that the majority of over 80s will have been offered the vaccine by the end of January.

The NHS will continue to contact people directly to invite them to receive the vaccine. When it is your turn, you will receive an invitation for an appointment. This may be via the phone, text message or letter either from a GP practice or vaccination hub.

This will be the same for those patients who are housebound and require a home visit.

During the national lockdown:

You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary.

You may leave the home to:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work if you cannot do so from home
  • exercise locally once per day with your household (or support bubble) or one other person
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm

Leaving your home to escape danger or domestic abuse of any kind is allowed – the Domestic Abuse Helpline is available 24/7 by calling 0808 2000 247.

Education

Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. Early Years settings remain open.

Higher Education will remain online until mid February except future critical worker courses.

Shielding

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work.

The Government have advised that those who are extremely clinically vulnerable will be receiving a letter from their GP in the coming days.

Meeting others

You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with.

Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household.

International travel

You can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where you first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. In addition, you should consider the public health advice in the country you are visiting.

Staying away from home overnight

You cannot leave your home or the place where you are living for holidays or overnight stays unless you have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed.

This includes staying in a second home or caravan, if that is not your primary residence. This also includes staying with anyone who you don’t live with unless they’re in your support bubble.

If you are already on holiday, you should return to your home as soon as practical.

Going to work

You may only leave your home for work if you cannot reasonably work from home.

Where people cannot work from home – including, but not limited to, people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction, or manufacturing – they should continue to travel to their workplace.

Public sector employees working in essential services, including childcare or education, should continue to go into work.

Where it is necessary for you to work in other people’s homes – for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople – you can do so.

Childcare

There are several ways that parents and carers can continue to access childcare:

  • Early Years settings (including nurseries and childminders) remain open
  • Vulnerable children and children of critical workers can continue to use registered childcare, childminders and other childcare activities (including wraparound care)
  • parents are able to form a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is under 14. This is mainly to enable parents to work, and must not be used to enable social contact between adults
  • some households will also be able to benefit from being in a support bubble
  • nannies will be able to continue to provide services, including in the home

Care home visits

Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed. No visits will be permitted in the event of an outbreak.

Weddings, civil partnerships, religious services and funerals

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people.

Linked religious, belief-based or commemorative events, such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 6 people in attendance. Anyone working is not counted in these limits. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies must only take place with up to 6 people. Anyone working is not included. These should only take place in exceptional circumstances, for example, an urgent marriage where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery.

Places of worship

You can attend places of worship for a service. However, you must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble. You should maintain strict social distancing at all times.

Sports and physical activity

Indoor gyms and sports facilities will remain closed. Outdoor sports courts, outdoor gyms, golf courses, outdoor swimming pools, archery/driving/shooting ranges and riding arenas must also close. Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is allowed to continue.

Moving home

You can still move home. People outside your household should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.

Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work. If you are looking to move, you can go to property viewings.

Businesses and venues which must close

  • non-essential retail
  • hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants and pubs – with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm)
  • accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites
  • leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, sports courts and golf courses.
  • entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries
  • animal attractions (such as zoos)
  • indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds can stay open for outdoor exercise
  • personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons
  • community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities
  • Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services

Businesses and venues which can remain open

  • essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
  • market stalls selling essential retail may also stay open
  • businesses providing repair services
  • petrol stations, automatic car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses
  • banks, building societies, post offices
  • funeral directors
  • laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • medical and dental services
  • vets and retailers of products and food for the upkeep and welfare of animals
  • animal rescue centres, boarding facilities and animal groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather than aesthetic purposes)
  • agricultural supplies shops
  • mobility and disability support shops
  • storage and distribution facilities
  • car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
  • outdoor playgrounds
  • outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise
  • places of worship
  • crematoriums and burial grounds

Public services

The majority of public services will continue and you will be able to leave home to visit them. These include the NHS and medical services like GPs and dentists.

Local groups

I have set up a Facebook support group for local residents to share what support they can offer and so we can all help each other. You can join the group by clicking here. See below for more information about community groups providing support.

Wandsworth Council Coronavirus guidance. The Council Community helpline for support is 0208 871 6555 and the email is covidsupport@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk.

Putney Coronavirus Mutual Support Group – for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields

Putney Street Volunteers Sign Up

Southfields Grid Alliance

Roehampton COVID 19 Support Group (Facebook page)

St Margaret’s Putney Community Care team

Putney and Wandsworth COVID 19  Mutual Support – a network of local Whats App groups

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