This week’s news from South Staffordshire Council.
- COVID-19 update
A second national lockdown for England is taking place from Thursday 5 November 2020 to Wednesday 2 December 2020. Information on the new national restrictions can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november. The new measures will apply nationally for four weeks up to Wednesday 2 December 2020, when it is hoped that the country will return to a regional approach, based on the latest data.
You may only leave your home for a limited set of reasons.
- For work which cannot be done from home.
- For education.
- For exercise outdoors or to visit an outdoor public place. This can be on your own or with members of your household or support bubble. Unlike the last lockdown in March, you can take unlimited exercise.
- For medical reasons.
- To shop for food and essentials.
- To visit members of your support bubble or to provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer.
You must not meet socially indoors or in private gardens with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble. However, individuals may meet one other person from another household outside in an outdoor public place such as a park or playground. Children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside.
Clinically vulnerable people are asked to be especially careful but people are not being asked to resume shielding (guidance for clinically vulnerable) and children can move between homes if their parents are separated.
During this national lockdown, pubs, restaurants, gyms and non-essential shops will be closed but unlike the restrictions in spring, schools, colleges and universities can stay open.
Businesses and venues that must close include:
- All non-essential retail, including, but not limited to clothing and electronics stores, vehicle showrooms, travel agents, betting shops, auction houses, tailors, car washes, tobacco and vape shops.
- Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, leisure centres and gyms, sports facilities including swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks.
- Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, adult gaming centres and arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, concert halls, zoos and other animal attractions, botanical gardens.
- Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs. However, they can still provide takeaway and delivery services although takeaway of alcohol is not be allowed.
- Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture, and tanning salons.
Businesses that can remain open include:
- Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services. Although non-essential retail shops are closing once again, they can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect shopping, where customers order products online and go to pick them up.
- Dentist, opticians, chiropractors and osteopaths and a number of public services including the NHS and medical services like GPs, Jobcentre Plus sites, Courts and Civil Registrations Offices.
- Construction sites and manufacturing workplaces.
Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes. Places of worship will be closed, unless they are being used for funerals, 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, and some other exempted activities. Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people and ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people in attendance. Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances.
For the latest updates about council services, guidance and support, visit:
www.sstaffs.gov.uk or sign up to receive regular eAlert updates at
Other useful links:
- Information about face coverings.
- Information about meeting others safely.
- Information about what you can and can’t do.
- Information about NHS test and trace.
- Information about the NHS COVID-19 app.
- COVID-19 testing
COVID-19 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.
- Leisure update
- Leisure Centres – The leisure centres in Cheslyn Hay, Codsall, Penkridge and Wombourne are now closed until the end of the national lockdown on Wednesday 2 December 2020. Memberships are suspended and all payments are frozen so members do not have to do anything and do not need to cancel direct debits. During lockdown, please continue exercising, keeping active and staying healthy. Get outside, enjoy the fresh air and look after your mind and keep an eye on our Facebook pages for exercises and advice. For more information, visit our website or subscribe to sstaffs.gov.uk/alerts.
- Baggeridge County Park – The lockdown guidance allows parks and play areas to stay open and Baggeridge County Park will remain open. However, a number of restrictions have been introduced. Please only visit the park on your own, with the people you live with or in your support bubble, or one person from another household. The car park is open but restricted to 100 cars at any one time and normal car parking charges apply. The children’s play area is open but restricted to 30 people at any one time. Play is limited to 30 minutes during busy times. Adults are encouraged to use the Test and Trace QR Code scanning and to wear a face mask when in the play area with their children. The tea shop is open (takeaway service only) and the toilets are open. Challenge Academy is closed.
- Vote for your favourite Green Flag park!
The annual Green Flag Award People’s Choice is now underway so please consider voting for Baggeridge Country Park as your favourite Green Flag park – you can vote here.
- UK terrorism threat level raised to “severe”
This week, the UK’s terrorism threat level was upgraded from “substantial” to “severe”. The move is precautionary and means security chiefs believe that an attack is highly likely but there is no specific intelligence of an imminent incident. The move follows the recent attacks in France and Vienna.
Please be vigilant when out and about in South Staffordshire. Here is some guidance about the terror threat as well as advice about what to do about suspicious packages and information about the ‘Let’s Talk About It’ initiative.
- Business webinars coming up
In partnership with Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, South Staffordshire Council is holding two free business webinars on Zoom in November.
- Bids and Tenders: The impacts of COVID-19.
Tuesday 17 November 2020, 2pm to 3pm.
This webinar will focus on what businesses need to do to increase their chances of winning bids and tenders in a COVID and post-COVID business environment, concluding with some top tips to ensure you maximise your chances of winning new business.
- Funding – What is new and how can you access it?
Tuesday 1 December 2020, 2pm to 3pm.
- Free online employment support session
South Staffs Work Clubs and the Council’s Welfare Support team will be sharing their expert knowledge at a free online employment support session to help individuals discover what help is available to get them back into work. The online event takes place from 11am to 12.30pm on Friday 13 November 2020 – further information about this online event is available here.
- NHS test and trace support payments
Applications for NHS Test and Trace support payments are open. People who have been told by NHS Test and Trace to self- isolate who on low incomes and unable to work from home can claim a support payment of £500 to compensate for their loss of earnings if they meet certain criteria. Local authorities are administering the payments for self-isolation and residents in South Staffordshire are now able to submit an application for this support and the application form is now live.
- Scam alert – warning over fake COVID-19 Marshals
There have been reports that scammers are pretending to be fake COVID-19 Marshals and medical professionals so they can gain access to people’s homes. Please be on your guard and look out for vulnerable friends and relatives who could fall prey to opportunist scammers. COVID-19 Marshals do not have the power to enforce social distancing, issues fines and do not have the right to enter homes.
A variety of scams are happening both online and over the telephone. Fraudsters are always trying to find new ways to dupe unsuspecting residents out of their money and you can find out more on Age UK’s website at https://www.ageuk.org.uk/barnet/our-services/latest-scams/.
If you think you have been a victim of a scam or a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or report it online at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/news.
- Community safety – theft of catalytic converters
Catalytic converter theft is an area of crime increasing nationally and here are some steps you can take to help prevent this happening. The South Staffordshire Community Safety Partnership is working to reduce crime in the district and to reassure residents that although crime does take place, South Staffordshire is one of the lowest crime areas in the UK. For further advice or to report a crime, call the non-emergency police number on 101 or visit https://www.staffordshire.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/.
If a crime is taking place, call 999.
- Protect against flu
With COVID-19 still in circulation, it’s important that as many people as possible get vaccinated for flu this autumn to protect the most vulnerable and reduce the number of people needing flu treatment from the NHS. This year, the flu vaccination programme has been expanded and more people are eligible for free flu jabs. The flu can be a serious disease and by getting the vaccine, you will be protecting yourself as well as your loved ones. Visit the NHS website to find out more about the flu vaccine and visit your GP practice website or speak to your pharmacy about booking a flu vaccination. High street chemists and most of the leading supermarkets also offer the vaccination to any adult at varying costs.
- Doing our bit – community fund now open
A new grant fund to help community groups who are doing their bit to support vulnerable children or older people in our communities opened this week. Groups and organisations can apply online for grants of up to £2,500. Find out more here.
- Council job vacancies
- COVID-19 Support Officers – application information.
- Street Scene Operative – Level 2 – application information. Closing date 12 November 2020.
- Next week’s Council Committee/Panel meetings
- Standards and Resources Committee – Thursday 12 November 2020 – 2.30pm – 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