COVID 19 - SOMERSET IS A MEDIUM RISK AREA
Meeting friends and family
You can meet in a group of up to six people from multiple households. This includes children and applies indoors and outdoors, including private homes. There are exceptions, for example if your household or support bubble is larger than six. Meeting in larger groups (with certain exceptions) is against the law, with fines up to £6,400.
Going to work
You should work at home if possible. If you have to return to your workplace your employer must make arrangements for you to work safely.
Schools and nurseries
Primary and secondary schools are open, as are nurseries and childcare. If a school has coronavirus cases, local health protection teams will advise what to do.
Pubs, bars and restaurants are restricted to table service only and must close at 22:00 BST.
People are only allowed to visit in groups of six or less (unless they are from a larger household or support bubble). At least one member of any group should give their contact details or check in using the NHS Covid app.
Face coverings must be worn, except when seated to eat or drink.
Shops can open with social distancing measures in place. Face coverings must be worn by customers and staff.
Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and wedding receptions are restricted to 15 people (the reception must be a sit-down meal).
Funerals must only take place in Covid-secure venues or in public outdoor spaces with up to 30 people in attendance. Wakes and other related events are restricted to 15 people.
Organised sport and exercise classes are only permitted indoors if people can avoid mixing in a group of more than six. There are exceptions to enable disability and youth sport and physical activity indoors, in any number.
New Guidance on the wearing of masks from 24th September 2020
WHEN TO WEAR
A FACE COVERING
All the information you need is available on https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own#when-you-do-not-need-to-wear-a-face-covering
There are some places where you must wear a face covering by law. Different rules exist in different parts of the UK about which you can find out more on the relevant regional websites.
In England, you must wear a face covering in the following indoor settings (a list of examples for each is included in the brackets):
· public transport (aeroplanes, trains, trams and buses)
· taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs)
· transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
· shops and supermarkets (places which offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
· shopping centres (malls and indoor markets)
· auction houses
· premises providing hospitality (bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes), except when seated at a table to eat or drink (se “When you do not need to wear a face covering) from 24 September
· post offices, banks, building societies, high-street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses
· premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing parlours)
· premises providing veterinary services
· visitor attractions and entertainment venues (museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, cultural and heritage sites, aquariums, indoor zoos and visitor farms, bingo halls, amusement arcades, adventure activity centres, indoor sports stadiums, funfairs, theme parks, casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas including soft-play areas)
· libraries and public reading rooms
· places of worship
· funeral service providers (funeral homes, crematoria and burial ground chapels)
· community centres, youth centres and social clubs
· exhibition halls and conference centres
· public areas in hotels and hostels
· storage and distribution facilities
You are expected to wear a face covering before entering any of these settings and must keep it on until you leave unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it. More detailed advice on the application of these requirements in different settings can be found in the government’s guidance for working safely.
You should also wear a face covering in indoor places not listed here where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
Face coverings are needed in NHS settings, including hospitals and primary or community care settings, such as GP surgeries. They are also advised to be worn in care homes.
The Department for Education (DfE) has updated its guidance on the use of face coverings for schools and other education institutions that teach people in years 7 and above in England.
Enforcement measures for failing to comply with this law
Premises where face coverings are required should take reasonable steps to promote compliance with the law.
The police can take measures if members of the public do not comply with this law without a valid exemption and transport operators can deny access to their public transport services if a passenger is not wearing a face covering, or direct them to wear one or leave a service.
If necessary, the police and Transport for London (TfL) officers have enforcement powers including issuing fines. From 24 September this will be £200 (reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days) for the first offence.
Repeat offenders receiving fines on public transport or in an indoor setting will have their fines doubled at each offence.
After the first offence, there will be no discount. For example, receiving a second fine will amount to £400 and a third fine will be £800, up to a maximum value of £6,400.
When you do not need to wear a face covering
In settings where face coverings are required in England, there are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face covering. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances, noting that some people are less able to wear face coverings, and that the reasons for this may not be visible to others.
This includes (but is not limited to):
· children under the age of 11 (Public Health England does not recommend face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons)
· people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
· where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
· if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate
· to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others ‒ including if it would negatively impact on your ability to exercise or participate in a strenuous activity
· police officers and other emergency workers, given that this may interfere with their ability to serve the public
There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering:
· if asked to do so in a bank, building society, or post office for identification
· if asked to do so by shop staff or relevant employees for identification, for assessing health recommendations (for example by a pharmacist), or for age identification purposes including when buying age restricted products such as alcohol
· if required in order to receive treatment or services, for example when getting a facial
· in order to take medication
· if you are delivering a sermon or prayer in a place or worship
· if you are the persons getting married in a relevant place
· if you are aged 11 to 18 attending a faith school and having lessons in a place of worship as part of your core curriculum
· if you are undertaking exercise or an activity and it would negatively impact your ability to do so
· if you are an elite sports person, professional dancer or referee acting in the course of your employment
· when seated to eat or drink in a hospitality premise such as a pub, bar, restaurant or cafe. You must put a face covering back on once you finish eating or drinking
The government’s guidance for keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19 in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services clearly advises that designated indoor seating areas for customers to eat or drink should at this time only be open for table service, where possible, alongside additional infection control measures.
Those who have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering should not be routinely asked to give any written evidence of this, this includes exemption cards. No person needs to seek advice or request a letter from a medical professional about their reason for not wearing a face covering.
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.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) usually spreads by droplets from coughs, sneezes and speaking. These droplets can also be picked up from surfaces, if you touch a surface and then your face without washing your hands first. This is why social distancing, regular hand hygiene, and covering coughs and sneezes is so important in controlling the spread of the virus.
The best available scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets in certain circumstances, helping to protect others.
Because face coverings are mainly intended to protect others, not the wearer, from coronavirus (COVID-19) they are not a replacement for social distancing and regular hand washing. It is important to follow all the other government advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) including staying safe outside your home. If you have recent onset of any of the most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19):
· a new continuous cough
· a high temperature
· a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia)
you and your household must isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19.
How to wear a face covering
A face covering should:
· cover your nose and mouth while allowing you to breathe comfortably
· fit comfortably but securely against the side of the face
· be secured to the head with ties or ear loops
· be made of a material that you find to be comfortable and breathable, such as cotton
· ideally include at least two layers of fabric (the World Health Organisation recommends three depending on the fabric used)
· unless disposable, it should be able to be washed with other items of laundry according to fabric washing instructions and dried without causing the face covering to be damaged
When wearing a face covering you should:
· wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on
· avoid wearing on your neck or forehead
· avoid touching the part of the face covering in contact with your mouth and nose, as it could be contaminated with the virus
· change the face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it
· avoid taking it off and putting it back on a lot in quick succession (for example, when leaving and entering shops on a high street)
When removing a face covering:
· wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before removing
· only handle the straps, ties or clips
· do not give it to someone else to use
· if single-use, dispose of it carefully in a residual waste bin and do not recycle
· if reusable, wash it in line with manufacturer’s instructions at the highest temperature appropriate for the fabric
· wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser once removed
Single number for Somerset
A Somerset Corona Virus Support helpline has been launched and is available between 8am and 6pm seven days a week including bank holidays. The single helpline covers the districts and county and will offer support with personal care and support, transport, housing, waste, financial as well as emotional well-being. The number is 0300 790 6275.
Happy, healthy and safe
It is completely normal for people to be feeling a range of emotions at the moment, including worried, anxious, frustrated and scared. There are lots of things you can do to try and help your mental health and wellbeing and stay happy, healthy and safe. New resources continue to be added to www.healthysomerset.co.uk/covid-19/
for ideas on how to stay happy, healthy and safe during this period. For people who need emotional support are encouraged to phone the Mindline service on 01823 276892.
The response of the community has been overwhelming. The county council is supporting the voluntary sector in these difficult times, and in particular the great work of SPARK Somerset and Corona Helpers. Corona Helpers, is a free online platform, administered by Spark Somerset. People can pledge their support to volunteer or offer help. Further information is available here: https://www.corona-helpers.co.uk/ call 01460 202970 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For advice from Somerset County Council
For advice from the Government