New three tiered system of local Covid Alert Levels in England: How will it work?

DOWNLOAD A COMPARISON TOOL AND LIST OF ALERT LEVELS BY AREA

The government will further simplify and standardise local rules by introducing a three tiered system of local Covid Alert Levels in England.

WHAT RESTRICTIONS WILL APPLY UNDER EACH LEVEL?

Local COVID Alert Level – Medium

This is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place. This means:
  • All businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs.
  • Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am. Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.
  • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
  • Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed
  • People must not meet in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors

Local COVID Alert Level – High

This is for areas with a higher level of infections. This means the following additional measures are in place:
  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • People must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space.
  • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

Local COVID Alert Level – Very High

This is for areas with a very high level of infections. The Government will set a baseline of measures for any area in this local alert level. Consultation with local authorities will determine additional measures.
The baseline means the below additional measures are in place:
  • Pubs and bars must close, and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant – which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.
  • Wedding receptions are not allowed
  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. The Rule of Six applies in open public spaces like parks and beaches.
  • People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘Very High’ area they are in, or entering a ‘Very High’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.
  • People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘Very High’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘Very High’ area if they are resident elsewhere.

WHAT LEVELS WILL APPLY TO WHAT AREAS

A postcode checker on the Government website will show which alert level applies in each area and the NHS Covid-19 app will also direct people to this information.

TOOLS TO HELP YOU

Please find here:

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Face covering exemptions

If you can, you should wear a face covering in public places like shops and supermarkets but please respect those who are unable to wear one.

Respect those that can't wear a face mask

Remember, not all health conditions are visible

The list of exemptions, which has been in place since face coverings became mandatory on public transport, includes hidden conditions such as:

  • anxiety or panic disorders
  • autism
  • breathing difficulties
  • dementia
  • reduced vision or if you are with someone who relies on lip reading to communicate

Full details available on the GOV.UK website about face covering exemptions.

Exemption cards or badges

Some people may feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering. This could be in the form of an exemption card, badge or even a home-made sign. You can download exemption cards on the GOV.UK website.

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If you have symptoms, however mild, please stay at home other than to get tested. You can book a test, including home tests, online.

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Test and Trace

The other thing that everyone can do is help with the Test and Trace scheme. If you are contacted by the Test and Trace scheme, please be open and honest about who you have been in contact with. This is vital information that can help to protect others.

Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) is working closely with Public Health England to investigate the source of these cases so that they can take appropriate action in response.

CBC will update residents as soon as they have more information and will keep their web page up to date.

Got symptoms? Get tested

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  1. a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  2. a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  3. a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Book a test, including home tests, online.

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Bedfordshire Community Health Services

Bedfordshire Community Health Services have created a new website page for their Bedfordshire Services, and all the latest information regarding these services, during this outbreak, click on this link.

ADULT SERVICES

  • Acquired Brain Injury Service: 01582 709037
  • Neuro rehabilitation and early supported discharge stroke service: 01582 707651

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Central Bedfordshire Council Adult Learning goes online

The Bedfordshire Employment and Skills Adult Learning team (BESS) has moved from the classroom, to online during the COVID-19 national emergency.

Until a month ago, 90 per cent of adult learning operated as a face-to-face service, but since the lockdown we have reshaped how the service is delivered.

Online and distance based courses currently include support with wellbeing and mental health, using IT to stay in touch and communicate with others, understanding children’s mental health and challenging behaviour and preparing for employment. More courses will be added over the next few weeks.

To see the courses available, for more information and to enrol visit the Adult Learning Courses pages.

The team also continues to provide a National Careers Service (NCS) for information, advice and guidance with finding work. To arrange one-to-one support please complete an online form and you will be contacted by an adviser.

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How are charities and other organisations helping us during the Covid-19 Pandemic?

  • Covid-19 is a particularly challenging time for people and families affected by genetic, rare and undiagnosed conditions. Genetic Alliance UK  hub has been set up to enable quick and easy access to relevant information and will be updated regularly while Covid-19 remains a threat to health. Also, see their practical resources page.
  • The Princes Trust have pulled together some of the most useful advice, guidance and resources so 11-30 year olds can continue to upskill by developing their confidence and abilities during this challenging time, as well as find the answers to questions on work and self-employment. They also have a live chat for advice and guidance. https://www.princes-trust.org.uk/about-the-trust/coronavirus-response/resource-centre
  • Food can affect your mood! There is a link between what we eat and how we feel so it’s important to have a healthy, balanced diet for both your body and mind. Eating well doesn’t have to be expensive. Try these sites for brain food on a budget:
  • Coping as a keyworker – when you’re busy doing important work, it might not feel possible to take care of yourself. But even doing small things for yourself can make a big difference to your mental wellbeing, and there are lots of ideas you can try. National Mind now have a page dedicated to coping as a keyworker
  • Circle Integrated Care communication concerning running of services during the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Carers in Bedfordshire are still here for carers. They are still also accepting new referrals. Please call their telephone support service on 0300 111 1919 between 9.30am and 4.30pm, or visit their website.
  • Independent Age local volunteers stepping up to support their older neighbours across the UK.
  • Carers UK has produced recommendations for carers.
  • The Financial Conduct Authority has released information for consumers on personal loans, credit cards and overdrafts: https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/coronavirus-information-personal-loans-credit-cards-overdrafts?
  • Housing Justice has issued specialised advice to homeless shelters. Glass Door is emphasising the importance of handwashing and has boosted their stock of hand gels kept in their vans that move between shelters. Pathway and Crisis have called on the government for guidance on how best to protect homeless people against coronavirus.
  • The British Red Cross can help support people find missing family during Covid. Read more here
  • Full Fact has generated a fact check page on covid-19 to help dispel any false information.

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Are you a Volunteer and worried or anxious, or want to offload a bit?

  • Bedfordshire Local Emergency Volunteers (BLEVEC) has set up a peer support service for volunteers from voluntary sector organisations involved in the coronavirus emergency. BLEVEC volunteers have good listening skills and are able to provide emotional support.