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Latest Covid-19 updates – 2/12/20

Latest Covid Updates

Lifting of Lockdown 2nd December 2020.

Advice and Guidance from the Council’s Senior Licensing Compliance Officer

For the past few weeks, Cornwall Council have been preparing safety plans and procedures by following Government legislation and guidance in readiness for the lifting of the current Government COVID19 lockdown. These plans cover a wide range of topics from existing safety arrangements such as social distancing, the provision of continued current advice for business proprietors and the general public, visitors coming into Cornwall or local residents travelling out of county and entering into the proposed Tier systems.

The councils planned approach for December is not too dissimilar to that which it adopted back in July when the first lock down was lifted. However it has now taken into account other factors needing to be considered including the approach of the Christmas and New Year festivities which will include the fact that persons will want to celebrate inside in the warm rather than outside in the summer sunshine.

It is essential that all businesses in the licenced trade adhere to current Government advice which is freely available by logging on and searching for:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-restriction-tiers-what-you-need-to-know#high-alert   – the link to the guidance on Tiers.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1374/made/data.pdf  – the link to the new legislation.

Before re opening this December, an essential starting point will be for you to revisit your current COVID19 risk assessment which you were required to undertake before re opening after the first lockdown. Check that the steps highlighted in it are still current and that you have all means available to you to comply with it. If things have changed for your business, then you may need to review and amend your risk assessment.

Don’t forget to check your staff availability and health status, adequate stocks of personal protective equipment, hand sanitation, available hand washing facilities and adequate signage on your premises including, if applicable, barriers to differentiate one-way systems and no-go areas. You may experience problems with people queuing to come into your premises, so you may want to consider taking their mobile phone details, asking them to stay locally and advise them that when a table/seating etc becomes available you will call them.

However, you will not be alone in preparation for the lifting of lockdown and moving into the tiered system, as Cornwall Council has been tasked to assist and support the police, local town and parish councils, business and the general public in safely guiding as much as possible, all concerned during the current and into future COVID related times which we all find ourselves in.

Cornwall Council has therefore formed a COVID Response Team incorporating many different organisations to help the reopening process and then looking ahead, the Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Some existing council staff have been re deployed into this team and other qualified staff have been contracted into the county so as to provide an effective and helpful support mechanism to businesses and the general public both during the day and to support the nigh time economy.

The additional staff will support existing Community and Public Protection staff already engaged in proactive work on the ground. Our primary aim is not to enforce but to continue to engage and educate in how to take steps for us all to stay safe whilst still being able to take advantage of seeing relatives and friends and very importantly, allowing businesses to open and continue to operate.

Officers known as street marshals who will be clearly visible and identifiable, will be taking to the streets so as to be on hand to help and advise as well as supporting other officers, such as street pastors, door staff, visitors to the county etc. Police officers will of course will be to hand and on patrol.

Our Government have recently announced that businesses, subject to the local authority’s agreement, may stay open 24hrs during the run up to Christmas. However, caution must be exercised by licensees and businesses that they do not breach their current licence conditions. If in doubt check with the council by contacting: businessadvice@cornwall.gov.uk

We realise that some licenced premises will have the awkward if not very difficult task of determining if visitors from outside of Cornwall entering their premises should be allowed to eat or drink etc. Depending on where they have travelled from, this does have a bearing on the actions you may choose to take in order to avoid potential unsavoury situations and conflict between staff and the general public if refusal to serve is considered.

The Government has now issued updated legislation for the new restrictions but as yet the guidance for this has not been produced. We have attached the link below for you to keep an eye out for it and  it will probably be published at midnight tonight in readiness for tomorrow.

However, the guidance notes that have been produced so far for Tiers 1, 2 and 3 state the following on travel: this may help you in the decision making process regarding allowing persons onto your premises or permitting them to stay.

Tier 1

  • if you live in a tier 1 area and travel to an area in a higher tier you should follow the rules for that area while you are there. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through a tier 3 area as part of a longer journey

Tier 2

  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
  • if you live in a tier 2 area, you must continue to follow tier 2 rules when you travel to a tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey

Tier 3

  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
  • avoid travelling to other parts of the UK, including for overnight stays other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through other areas as part of a longer journey

We have highlighted the guidance for travel for Tier 2 and Tier 3 people.  As you can see, they are not expecting anyone from tier 3 to travel to other parts of the UK.  Tier 2 areas that do travel to a Tier 1 area MUST follow Tier 2 rules whilst here.  This is as follows:

Tier 2: High alert

This is for areas with a higher or rapidly rising level of infections, where some additional restrictions need to be in place.

  • you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’

As you can see there is a lot of responsibility placed on the licenced accommodation or premises provider to make a decision on whether to allow visitors to Cornwall and equally importantly, the person wishing to travel has a responsibility to protect the lower tier areas to stop the spread of the infection.  It is not law where it states SHOULD, but it is law where it states MUST.

We hope that this information helps you clarify the situation a little more and we have attached the link here for you to keep an eye on guidance when it should be updated for us with a little more clarity overnight today.  https://www.gov.uk/search/all?keywords=covid+tier+system&order=relevance

Please be assured that Cornwall Council will support business whenever possible and will continue to offer community and public protection at all times wherever practical to do so.

Finally, please note that there is a dedicated email address for all queries related to COVID-19: covid19@cornwall.gov.uk

  • Our covid-19 email address at covid19@cornwall.gov.uk, and telephone line on 0300 1231 118 remain open and available for residents to use for any covid19-related queries. In addition, we have a telephone line dedicated to those deemed clinically vulnerable to get in touch for support and advice. That number is 0300 1234 334.

 


 

LOCAL RESTRICTIONS

  • From Wednesday 2 December Cornwall will move from national restrictions into Tier 1 restrictions. Government has set out more information on the restrictions here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-restriction-tiers-what-you-need-to-know

 


 

CARE HOMES 

 

  • As reflected throughout the community we have seen an increase in cases in care homes recently.
  • Where there are outbreaks in a specific setting we work to support the home in containing the outbreak including advising on individual risk assessments and visiting restrictions.
  • We continue to give support and advice to providers on Covid related matters and urge anyone to get in touch if they need assistance
  • We are grateful for the continuing hard work of all partners in protecting our care workers and the people they care for.
  • Care homes have reported good supplies of PPE and we are reminding all our care providers to stay vigilant with their use of PPE when caring for the people they look after.
  • We continue to work with the NHS in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to make sure people are able to leave hospital once they are ready to do so, with the care that they need to free up beds for those who need urgent care in our acute hospital.
  • We have been working hard to prepare for this second wave of the pandemic as detailed in our Local Outbreak Management Plan.

SAFE CARE HOME VISITING   

  • Throughout the pandemic we have worked with our care homes to advise and support on Covid-safe visiting so they can balance allowing residents to maintain regular contact with loved ones while ensuring their safety.
  • We stress the need for regular and individual risk assessments, and we carry out daily reviews of our infection rate so if our rate escalates significantly, either overall or in a specific locality, our Director of Public Health would be able to amend advice and communicate this with our care providers.
  • Where there are outbreaks in a specific setting, we work to support the home in containing the outbreak including advising on individual risk assessments and visiting restrictions.
  • If you are planning on visiting a loved one in a care home, please check that the home is accepting visitors and be mindful of how you are currently feeling.
  • We urge anyone who has any symptoms, Covid or otherwise, such as flu or sickness, even if it is mild, to avoid visiting close family or friends who are in care homes until they are better.
  • We are asking our providers to share examples of good practice in safe visiting during the pandemic so we can build on this good work.

CARE HOME TESTING PILOT 

  • Four care homes in Cornwall are among 20 across the country taking part in a new pilot for family members to get regular testing for safer care home visits.
  • Named family and friends of residents at Hillcrest in Looe, North Hill in St Austell, King Charles Court in Falmouth and Roseland Court in Tregony are being given regular Covid testing to reunite them with their loved ones in the care homes.
  • Regular testing is being offered to one family member or friend per resident, which – when combined with other infection-control measures such as PPE – will support meaningful visits.
  • These enable, where possible, indoor visits without a screen to take place while reducing the risk to care home residents, staff and visitors.
  • Visitors are offered rapid lateral flow tests (LFTs), which can be administered in person at the care homes before a visit.
  • The government pilot is set to be rolled out more widely in December in time for Christmas.

 


 

FLU VACCINATIONS 

  • To help alleviate the pressure on the NHS we are continuing to remind eligible residents to get their free flu vaccinations.
  • We are supporting Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s health and care system to carry out flu vaccinations for residents during the pandemic including NHS Kernow, pharmacists and health and care teams, GP surgeries and occupational health settings.
  • By offering the flu vaccine in a variety of different ways, we hope that all those who are eligible to take up the flu vaccine will come forward.

 


 

BUSINESS SUPPORT

Additional Restrictions Grant scheme

  • Cornwall has been allocated £11.4m by the government for the Additional Restrictions Grant scheme, to support businesses which have been forced to close or limit trading during the second coronavirus lockdown
  • Applications will close at 5pm on Monday, November 30 November.
  • Working within the expectations outlined by the government in allocating this money, we will be prioritising eligible businesses which have yet not received any coronavirus grant support
  • To support businesses with fixed ongoing costs – this could be rent or mortgage payments, loans or lease agreements for capital equipment, rental of workspaces (such as at salons), harbour fees. It is not to support wage or labour costs.

 

SCHOOL TRANSPORT

  • Anyone with a particular issue relating to school transport or changes to bus journeys which have  become ‘student only’ services, can email transport@cornwall.gov.uk or call 0300 1234 222.
  • More information can also be found on our website at www.cornwall.gov.uk/schooltransport
  • We ask that masks are worn wherever possible (unless a medical exemption applies under the government legislation). Drivers on school transport are asked to remind passengers of the need to wear them and report any concerns about students failing to comply directly to us so that we can take up with the school direct.

 


 

CHILD HEALTH

  • Families with children aged up to 2 years of age will still be offered an appointment for their routine child developmental review and will have for support for any other health needs.
  • Families with children aged up to 5 years will still be able to access their Health Visitor team if they have any health worries or require support. School Nurses are available to provide health appointments and advice.
  • Where required home visits and face to face appointments in Family Hubs will be offered as well as virtual and telephone contacts.
  • Please contact the  Health Visitor and School Nurse  advice line open Monday to Friday 9-5pm which has a  dedicated email box hvsnadvice@cornwall.gov.uk as well as telephone number 01872 322779.

 


 

FUNDING FOR COMMUNITY FOOD GROUPS 

·                     Our new Emergency Food Assistance Fund will give financial help to community food groups supporting people who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to Covid: https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/foodgrant.

·                     Existing and new community food organisations across Cornwall can now apply to our Emergency Food Assistance Fund to pay for food, equipment, storage, transport costs or any other items which can build their capacity, infrastructure and resilience so they are in a stronger position to help their communities access emergency food and essential supplies.

·                     This fund is not intended to make cash payments to individuals.

·                     We are collaborating with the newly formed Cornwall Food Access Alliance and the voluntary sector.

 


 

CAR PARKS

·                     Remain free for NHS, (local authority employed) Health and Social care staff and NHS Covid volunteers while on duty. Full details available on our website

·                     Car parks play a key role in managing town centre congestion and the income from parking enables us to make the best use of our resources and target funding towards maintaining Cornwall’s 7,300km road network. Without the income from car parking charges, the Council would need to increase council tax to generate the same amount of funding. While we receive about £9.7 million net income from parking each year, we spend around £45 million on maintaining the condition and safety of Cornwall’s roads and 2,700 bridges and retaining walls, as well as the car parks themselves.

 


 

ROUGH SLEEPERS/HOMELESSNESS

·                     The 21 temporary self-contained cabins on Cornwall Council owned sites in Penzance and Truro will remain open until March 2021

·                     There are also plans to source more accommodation on a further site as well as keep the self-contained rooms already available in other locations.

·                     In all there will be 63 spaces for those who need them, with 49 already up and running.

·                     Additional Next Steps Accommodation funding announced by the government has seen £4.4 million allocated to Cornwall.  This means that we will be able to provide over 70 homes in locations all over Cornwall to enable people who sleep rough, or are at risk of sleeping rough, to be rehoused in supported, secure, long-term accommodation.

·                     Council’s successful bid for £567,620 to the first stage of government’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP) will go towards a £730,000 strategy to deliver emergency homes and to bring on board extra Prevention & Engagement Officers on the ground.

·                     Last month the Government announced additional funding to support ongoing work to provide accommodation for rough sleepers. Called the ‘Protect Programme’, the scheme runs alongside ‘Everybody In’ campaign. This funding is for areas with high numbers of rough sleepers. Cornwall has been named as a recipient, but we do not have any detail at this stage on how much funding we will be given.

·                     Our most recent figures (from August) show that all together we have housed around 550 households in temporary accommodation, of which over 370 are single people. To put that into context, there were around 250 households in temporary accommodation, including just over 100 single people, at the same time last year.

 


 

Enforcement of rules

Enforcement is used as a last resort.

Business Covid 19 compliance levels in Cornwall are good and we want them to stay that way.

We are focusing on engaging, explaining and educating about the new rules.

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