This week’s news from South Staffordshire Council.
- COVID-19 update
This week marked the start of the roll out of the coronavirus vaccine. People aged 80 and over and care home workers will be first to receive the Pfizer/ BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, along with NHS workers who are at higher risk. More information can be found by clicking on the following links:
The district remains in Tier 3, Very High Alert.
- Guidance about the restrictions in Tier 3 is available here.
- Detailed guidance about the restrictions in all the alert tiers is available here.
- Answers to frequently asked questions.
- See the full list of local restriction tiers by area here.
- Postcode checker – find out the coronavirus restrictions in your local area
Tier 3 – the key points
- You must not mix socially indoors with anybody who you do not live with unless part of your support bubble.
- The rule of six applies in outdoor public spaces so you can meet in a group of up to six people in public parks but not in private gardens.
- Hospitality venues such as pubs, bars, cafés and restaurants must remain closed, but they are permitted to continue sales by delivery, click and collect, drive-through or takeaway.
- Gyms and non-essential shops may reopen.
- Indoor entertainment and tourist venues must remain closed.
- Hotels, B&Bs, campsites and guest houses must remain closed (a few limited exemptions).
- People are advised to work from home if they can and avoid non-essential travel in and out of the area. Overnight stays are not allowed outside the area.
- Wedding receptions are banned.
Tier allocations will be reviewed by Wednesday 16 December 2020. Please continue to follow the rules to protect yourself and your loved ones. Together we can reduce infection rates and ensure our district moves into a lower tier as quickly as possible. Remember – Hands Face Space.
It’s important that if you have symptoms you self-isolate and get tested. Staffordshire is one of 66 local authorities taking part in the roll out of rapid COVID testing for people without symptoms and testing is taking place in various locations throughout the district. Please keep an eye on social media and the Council website for the latest information.
- Residents’ survey results – COVID-19 continues to have big impact on our lives, including our health and wellbeing, education, jobs and the wider economy. During August and September, Staffordshire County Council ran a residents’ survey. More than 3,900 people responded and you can view the results here.
- Guidance issued by acre regarding village and community halls
- UK-wide Christmas arrangements for five days from 23-27 December 2020
This year, Christmas will be different for everyone and we need your help to keep the festive period as safe as possible and help prevent the spread of coronavirus. It’s natural to want to spend time with family and friends over the festive period, particularly after such a difficult year. For this reason, the Government is changing some social contact restrictions for a short period of time between Wednesday 23 and Sunday 27 December 2020.
During this time, South Staffordshire residents must continue to follow Tier 3 guidance but for five days you will be able to form an exclusive Christmas bubble composed of people from no more than three households. You can only be in one Christmas bubble during this time and you can travel between different tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble. From Monday 28 December 2020, Christmas bubbles will no longer apply.
Forming a Christmas bubble does involve greater risks though, especially for more vulnerable people who have been shielding. To protect our loved ones, please keep the festive period as safe as possible. When you meet up in your Christmas bubbles, ensure indoor spaces are well ventilated during and after a visit. Everyone should wash their hands regularly and for 20 seconds, and you should and maintain a safe social distance from anybody you do not live with as much as possible, avoiding physical contact.
Be extra vigilant in the days before you get together in your Christmas bubbles. Reduce any unnecessary contact with people, especially as some people with the virus have no symptoms. The more people you see, the more likely it is that you will catch or spread the virus so please minimise your risk of infection by limiting social contact with anyone you do not live with. If you develop symptoms or test positive for coronavirus, it’s important to follow the rules on self-isolation and get a test.
Further guidance around festive activities:
- Don’t worry – Father Christmas is recognised as a key worker and Santa’s grottos are able to open in all tiers where they are located in places permitted to open. Venues should put in place appropriate COVID-secure measures including social distancing.
- Carol singing can take place if all attendees follow the advice in the suggested principles of safer singing and guidance for the performing arts. You should maintain social distancing between groups or households at all times.
- Throughout the district, you can see lots of festive lights on homes but it’s important that you continue to follow Tier 3 restrictions and view the lights safely if you are going out to see them. Enjoy the lights by driving past them in your car or observe safe social distancing if you are walking past. If displays are fundraising for charity, please donate online instead.
- Useful links:
- Statement on UK-wide Christmas arrangements.
- Read more about how to make a Christmas bubble with friends and family here.
- Announcement concerning Christmas travel measures to help passengers plan their journey and travel safely.
- Guidance for the Christmas period.
- Guidance on local restriction tiers.
- Tier 3 Very High Alert restrictions – what you need to know.
- Advice for clinically vulnerable people.
- Rules on self-isolation.
- Other useful COVID-19 links
- Information about COVID-19.
- Information about face coverings.
- Information about meeting others safely.
- Information about making a support bubble with another household.
- Guidance on making a childcare bubble with another household.
- Information about what you can and can’t do.
- Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable.
- Guidance on visiting care home residents.
- Information about the financial help for businesses during COVID-19.
- Discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant and Local Restrictions Support Grant.
- Shop local
Where you shop matters more than ever so please #ShopLocal. This month, you may have seen one of our new ‘support local’ bags on your local high street and by spending money locally, you are helping them get back up and running. These shops and businesses form the heart of our local communities and right now they need your support – click here to view a video about shopping local. When shopping, remember Hands Face Space and wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitiser, wear a face covering and maintain a safe social distance from other shoppers.
- South Staffordshire Community Innovation Fund – grants of up to £1,000 available
Today sees the launch of this year’s application process to the Community Innovation Fund. The South Staffordshire Community Lottery has a small pot of funding which is funded from every ticket sold and South Staffordshire Council has committed this pot to the voluntary community and social enterprise sector in the district. Any community group, association, charitable organisation or community interest company benefitting the residents of South Staffordshire can apply, including good causes signed up to the Community Lottery. The closing date for applications is 5pm on Friday 8 January 2021.
- Council leisure centres
Here are the Christmas and New Year opening hours for the Council’s four leisure centres in Cheslyn Hay, Codsall, Penkridge and Wombourne.
|Thursday 24 December 2020 (Christmas Eve)||Closed|
|Friday 25 December 2020 (Christmas Day)||Closed|
|Saturday 26 December 2020 (Boxing Day)||Closed|
|Sunday 27 December 2020||Closed|
|Monday 28 December 2020
* Penkridge Leisure Centre opens at 7.30am
|Open 7am* to 8pm|
|Tuesday 29 December 2020||Open 7am to 8pm|
|Wednesday 30 December 2020||Open 7am to 8pm|
|Thursday 31 December 2020 (New Year’s Eve)
* Penkridge Leisure Centre opens at 7.30am
|Open 7am* to 1pm|
|Friday 1 January 2021 (New Year’s Day)||Closed|
|Saturday 2 January 2021||Normal opening hours|
Booking is essential for all activities and members can book online here:
Although exercise classes cannot resume under the present Tier 3 restrictions, our online classes are proving popular and we’ve had some amazing feedback from users. There’s been high demand for the classes and we have expanded the class timetable to offer 25 classes per week – live and online classes are available here. Classes are free to leisure centre members. Non-members are invited to join their first class for free, with subsequent classes costing £4 each or you can purchase an online class membership giving you unlimited access for £12 per month. Find out more here.
To keep up to date with the latest developments at our leisure centres, follow on Facebook or sign up to receive regular information e-bulletins here.
- Baggeridge County Park
Here are the Christmas and New Year opening times for Baggeridge Country Park.
|Thursday 24 December 2020 (Christmas Eve)||Open 9am to 5pm|
|Friday 25 December 2020 (Christmas Day)||Park closed|
|Saturday 26 December 2020 (Boxing Day)||Car park open – charges apply.
No toilet facilities or Ranger service.
|Sunday 27 December 2020||Open 9am to 5pm|
|Monday 28 December 2020||Open 9am to 5pm|
|Tuesday 29 December 2020||Open 9am to 5pm|
|Wednesday 30 December 2020||Open 9am to 5pm|
|Thursday 31 December 2020 (New Year’s Eve)||Open 9am to 5pm|
|Friday 1 January 2021(New Year’s Day)||Open 9am to 5pm|
Please note that the children’s play area restrictions will remain in place throughout the festive period.
- Crayfish conservation project
Last week, we reported that a request on social media had proved successful with brick company Wienerberger donating structural bricks for a conservation project at Baggeridge Country Park. The company has now offered 2,000 bricks which contain holes that are perfect for White Clawed Crayfish to hide inside in the water and keep them safe from predators. This conservation project is run in conjunction with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and funded by Severn Trent Ltd and it aims to improve the habitat for white clawed crayfish and the rare Logjammer Hoverfly. This extra help from Wienerberger means that more valuable habitat work can be carried out to protect them.
- Cyber awareness
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, more people are doing their festive shopping online this year. Click here for more information about how to improve your cyber security.
Fraudsters will stop at nothing when attempting to scam people of their financial and personal information. This week, even Staffordshire Police has its own force back-up phone number ‘spoofed’ and used in a phone call (vishing) courier fraud and an individual was conned out of thousands of pounds. Staffordshire Police has issued a warning over the telephone scam and urged people not to transfer money if they appear to be called on 0300 123 4455. This number is not used by Staffordshire Police to dial out and contact people. Fraudsters are using technology to make it look like they are calling from this police phone number and they trying to scam people by asking them to transfer money to a ‘police account for safekeeping’.
- #YouAreNotAlone this Christmas
This week, Staffordshire Police is relaunching a domestic abuse awareness campaign ahead of the festive season. This year has been a challenging year for many, with job losses and the added stress of working from home and lockdowns affecting people’s wellbeing and mental health. Sadly, with the financial strain of Christmas, it’s anticipated that there will be an increase in domestic abuse, in its many forms. The #YouAreNotAlone campaign will run until early New Year. Click here for advice and guidance about domestic abuse as well as partner organisation helplines.
- Congratulations to Support Staffordshire
Support Staffordshire, which supports a membership of more than 1000 voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations across Staffordshire won the 2020 NAVCA Heart of the Community Award for being the beating heart of the local VCS and wider economy. Read more about the award here.
- Council job vacancies – COVID-19 Support Officers – application information.
- Next week’s Council Committee/Panel meetings
- Planning Committee – Tuesday 15 December 2020 – 6.30pm – virtual meeting via Teams.
Members of the public can virtually attend this meeting via Microsoft Teams – a link can be found in the news section on the Council’s website at www.sstaffs.gov.uk.
Everyone is encouraged to submit news items, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org