The Prime Minister announced a number of changes to the lockdown restrictions this week that will come into force from 4 July 2020.
Official guidance has been produced to help you understand what’s changing and what you are now allowed to do.
Changes for those who are shielded
The UK Government has set out a roadmap for the clinically extremely vulnerable on the future of the shielding programme.
For now, the guidance remains the same – stay at home and only go outside to exercise or to spend time outdoors with a member of your household, or with one other person from another household if you live alone – but the guidance will change on 6 July and again on 1 August.
Social distancing and the 2 metre rule
Although restrictions are being lifted and we want you to enjoy the greater freedom we are all being given, we must all do this responsibly.
The virus has not gone away and is still circulating in the community. Washing and sanitising your hands regularly and keeping your distance from people, remain incredibly important to limit the spread of the virus. If we don’t then the number of cases will start to rise again.
From 4 July, you should still try to stay 2 metres apart from people outside your household or support bubble, or if that’s not possible, 1 metre plus. This means one metre plus mitigations. These mitigations will depend on the workplace or setting.
For example, on public transport, people must wear a face covering, as it is not always possible to stay 2 metres apart.
In other spaces, mitigations could include installing screens, making sure people face away from each other, putting up handwashing facilities, minimising the amount of time you spend with people outside your household or bubble, and being outdoors.
Reopening of play areas
Although play areas can reopen from 4 July, we are waiting for official guidance from the Government about how this can be done safely.
This means our play areas may not reopen straight away on 4 July. We will reopen them as fast as we can and as soon as we can be sure we can do so safely. If you visit one of our play areas after 4 July and they are still closed, please respect this and keep your children off them.
Crown Meadow Play area will be closed until at least 20 July, as it is being refurbished following damage caused by flooding.
All of our public toilets are now open with the exception of Broadway Activity Park. Social distancing measures are in place.
Free parking to continue until 3 August
Parking will remain free in all of Wychavon’s car parks until 3 August as part of a raft of measures to support the reopening of high streets across the district.
Reopening of libraries
Worcestershire County Council has announced some of its libraries will reopen from 4 July, including Evesham Library.
Test and trace – scam warning
The NHS test and trace service is an important part of helping us return to the way of life we were used to before Covid-19.
Unfortunately, there will be those who will attempt to take advantage of the situation to carry out scams.
On a genuine call, contact tracers will never:
- ask you to dial a premium rate number (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
- ask you to make any form of payment
- ask for any details about your bank account
- ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
- ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
- ask you to purchase a product – including a test
- ask you to download any software to your device or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet
- ask you to access any website that does not belong to the Government or NHS
If you receive a call from somebody claiming to be from the NHS, and they ask you to do any of these things, hang up and report the call:
- to Action Fraud, by calling 0300 123 2040 or by visiting its website, if you are in England, Wales or Northern Ireland; or
- to the Police, via 101, if you are in Scotland.
Please do not let this deter you from complying with the NHS test and trace system if you are contacted by them.
Your help is crucial to making the system work, so we can control the spread of the virus and save lives by making sure anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 is quickly tested. If they have the virus they can then self-isolate at home and those they have come into contact with will be advised to do so as well.
You can help by:
- Self-isolating at home if you develop symptoms, along with other members of your household, and order a test to find out if you have the virus
- If you test positive for the virus, sharing information promptly about your recent contacts through the NHS test and trace service so other people can be alerted who may need to self-isolate
- Self-isolating if you have come into close contact with someone who has had coronavirus and you are advised to do so by the NHS test and trace service
Recycling increases during lockdown
The amount of recycling collected from households across Worcestershire has rocketed by 12% during lockdown.
In total, 11,200 tonnes of recyclable items were collected during April and May – up 1,190 tonnes compared with the same period in 2019.
It is the equivalent of collecting an additional 135,000 green bins of recycling.
This outweighs the 4% increase in general waste across the county during the same period.
Household Recycling Centres are now open but with social distancing rules in place. Please make sure you have read and understood them before you travel.
If you are interested in learning more about how to reduce your waste then every Wednesday at 2pm, the Let’s Waste Less team are holding waste reduction sessions over Zoom, offering useful advice and tips.
You can access them using the details below:
To access the session log into Zoom: https://worcestershirecc.zoom.us/j/5530251529 Meeting ID: 553 025 1529 Password: 119159
Financial support for you
Help paying your Council Tax
If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax, then check if you can apply for Council Tax Support
If you do not qualify for Council Tax Support please get in touch with our team and they will see if there is another way they can help you.
Email Revenues@southworcestershirerevenues.gov.uk to discuss your situation.
Ban on evictions extended
The Government has extended the ban on landlords being able to evict people renting their home until 23 August. Read the full announcement.
Citizens’ Advice is open for business
Citizens’ Advice South Worcestershire also remains open to support you if you need it. They offer one-to-one advice by highly trained volunteers, now working from home. Many are specialists in their fields such as housing, employment and debt.
You can contact their Wychavon branch in Evesham on 01386 712 100, choosing Option 1 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Option 2 is dedicated to the Universal Credit Support Service.
The service is also part of the national Advice Line telephone service, open to the public Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm on 03444 111 303.
Money management help
If you would like help to make the most of your money then the two online budgeting toolkits below may be useful.
If you need help with debt management or restructuring your finances then contact the CAB using the details above or you can get free help from The Money Advice Service.
Help paying your utility bills
If you need help paying your water bill then please visit Severn Trent’s bill help payment page.
If you need help paying your gas or electric bill then read Ofgem’s advice about the support on offer.
Help for your mental health
Although life is edging back to normal, there is still a lot that is uncertain and it’s okay to feel anxious or worried.
Take the Every Mind Matters Quiz and get a support plan tailored to you
Help getting active
In just 12 weeks the NHS Couch 2 5k programme can take you from sitting on the sofa to running 5k.
If that’s not for you then try the NHS Active 10 programme. This encourages you to walk briskly for 10 minutes every day. Find out more about the Active 10 programme.
Covid-19 Memory Bank Project
The Covid-19 outbreak is undoubtedly a significant moment in human history. We are keen to capture information about what happened locally to inform future generations. That is why we have launched the Covid-19 Memory Bank.
You are encouraged to send in messages of goodwill you have received from neighbours, rainbow pictures you have drawn in support of key workers, messages of thanks you have left for key workers or received, diary entries you may have made during lockdown, video blogs, photographs, video footage, poems, songs or artwork.
The subject can be anything from how you felt during this time to the way the community pulled together, the weekly clap for our carers event, response of key workers on the frontline and the challenges or joys of home schooling.
If you have lost a loved one to this virus, you are also invited to submit a photograph and/or tribute to them.
The information received will be used in a future art project or exhibition and then handed over to the archive at The Hive or locally for preservation.
You can find out more about the project and upload any contributions you may have at www.wychavon.gov.uk/memorybank