Kirklees (and the rest of West Yorkshire) has remained in Tier 2 this week, before the national lockdown (as announced on Saturday 31st October) comes into force at one minute past midnight on Thursday 5th November.
The restrictions will stay in place until Wednesday 2nd December, when they will be reviewed. At this point we may return to regional lockdown (tier/alert level) restrictions or the national lockdown may continue.
We are still waiting for full details on the new national lockdown from the Government. These will be published after they are passed by parliament on Wednesday 4th November. Obviously we will update you, and pass on any further and advice from the Government and Kirklees Council when we have it. In the meantime, this is what we know:
Staying at home
This is a full national lockdown, similar to the one in March, where we all have to stay at home, apart from for a few key reasons (like shopping for food or picking up medicines), however, there are a few important differences:
- Registered childcare and education settings are remaining open.
- You can exercise outdoors or visit an public place with your household, your support bubble, or if you are on your own with one other person. If you are meeting people outdoors you should stay 2m apart or 1m with extra precautions (like wearing a mask). Public places include:
- parks, beaches, countryside,
- public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them), allotments
- and you can still visit members of your support bubble or provide care for vulnerable people, or leave home to volunteer.
As last time, all non-essential retail, indoor and outdoor leisure and entertainment venues, personal care facilities and hospitality venues have to close, however they can still offer delivery or takeaway and 'click and collect' (but takeaway alcohol is not allowed). Food shops, supermarkets and garden centres will stay open. Plus, this time, GPs and NHS medical services, Job Centre Plus, law courts and registry offices will also stay open. And,
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.
Places of Worship
Places of worship have to stay closed, unless used for:
- 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
Registered childcare and other childcare activities (including wraparound care) can continue, where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, or for the purposes of respite care. Early years settings can remain open.
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.
There is no 'shielding' this time, however, anyone over 60 or who is clinically vulnerable should take extra precautions and limit the number of people they come into contact with. This will apply to both employees and volunteers, and people in this category may need additional support to be able to continue in their roles and minimise contact with others.
There is a further group of people who are defined, on medical grounds, as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) to coronavirus – that is, people with specific serious health conditions. Clinically extremely vulnerable people can volunteer from home; they are advised not to volunteer outside their home. As set out on GOV.UK, the full new (general coronavirus rather than volunteering-specific) guidance for CEV people will be published soon and the Government will write to everybody who is clinically extremely vulnerable to set out detailed advice while the new restrictions are in place.
The advice from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Office of Civil Society say that;
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:
a. meet in groups of any size indoors or outdoors while volunteering
b. 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.
Existing GOV.UK coronavirus volunteering guidance pages will be updated in line with the new announcements later this week when the new rules come into effect. We will also work to bring forward the launch of our planned new guidance for volunteer-involving organisations and groups and publish it as soon as possible. This guidance will help organisations and groups understand how to involve volunteers safely in their work during the coronavirus pandemic.
Furlough Scheme and Support
The Government Furlough Scheme (Job Support Scheme) will be extended until December 2nd, with employees being paid 80% of their salary up to £2500pm.
Charities and not-for-profit businesses are all eligible and will only have to Tax and National Insurance contributions for furloughed staff in November.
In addition, you can apply for:
- the extended Self-employment Income Support Scheme Grant
- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme
- the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan
- claim a Job Retention Bonus from 15th Feb 2020
Plus individuals can claim:
- the new style Employment and Support Allowance
- Self-isolation Support Payments from Kirklees Council