29 Jun June COVID-19 updates
COVID-19 Update 26/06/2020
We’ve had only a handful of announcements this week, but they’ve been big ones so without further ado I will start.
Changes to social distancing
Government have announced a change to their message on social distancing. They have now moved to 1 metre plus. This means that you can be 1 metre away from someone, but there must be mitigation measures in place such as screens or face coverings. This will take effect from 4th July 2020 and further information can be found on the COVID-19 FAQ’s page on the Gov.uk website.
Government has confirmed that the majority of England’s shops will be allowed to open on the 4th July providing they’ve conducted a COVID-19 Risk Assessment and have confirmed they are COVID Secure. The full list of premises which are now allowed to reopen can be found here, however I’ve bullet pointed the key categories below:
- Hair salons and barbers
- Restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs etc.
- Accommodation including hotels, bed and breakfast, holiday homes/cottages
- Places of worship, libraries
- Cinemas, theatres
- Museums and galleries
Government is due to announce an easing of the shielding guidance on 6th July 2020, where those shielding from COVID-19 can gather in groups of up to 6 people outdoors and form a ‘support bubble’ with another household. Shielding is due to end on 1st August 2020.
The Prime Minister has also announced that Tuesday’s daily briefing would be the last until government has major announcements. With that in mind I’m going to wind down the weekly update with a view to giving an update once every 2 weeks. I am still receiving daily email updates from Government and I will continue to collate the most important information and pass that on.
A closing word of caution; this is not over, COVID-19 is under control, but it has not gone away. We’re not back to normal yet and we still need to stay alert. We need to continue to display the steady determination and resolve we have thus far, and despite the restrictions being eased we cannot allow complacency to creep in.
As always stay safe and keep up the good work.
COVID-19 Update 19/06/2020
It’s been a generally quite week in terms of day to day announcements however there are some big changes to think about.
We’ve had some exceptional good news this week that following clinical trials of an existing drug Dexamethasone, which has been around for 60 years and is readily available and cheap. During their treatment for COVID-19, 1 in 3 patients have better outcomes; further information on the announcement is available in the PM’s statement from 16/06/2020.
I will add a note of caution that this is a treatment and not a cure, so we need to stay alert and continue to act in a responsible manner. To paraphrase a line from medical professionals’, prevention is better; with this in mind you can find further information about Dexamethasone here.
Changes to NHS test and trace
Government has announced that it has needed to change its approach to developing its contact tracing app, following difficulties in being able to effectively measure distance Bluetooth signals, specifically from Apple’s iPhone.
Government have said they will be working with the technology companies to improve the apps the tech companies have developed and will be sharing the mathematical equations; they have developed to measure distances over Bluetooth. The route may have changed but the aim remains the same.
Government have updated their frequently asked questions page – please follow this link for more information.
To close, more shops are now open with social distancing in place and elite sport has returned. Although we’re still waiting to hear whether we’ll be able to get our hair cut on the 4th July, the world is starting to resemble something like relative normality.
As always stay safe and keep up the good work.
COVID-19 Update 12/06/2020
It’s been another full week of announcements, but I’ve tried to condense this down to what I think you will find most relevant.
On Wednesday (10/06/2020) the prime minister announced that from Saturday 13/06/2020 those who live alone can now form a “support bubble”. This means:
from 13 June, single adult households – in other words adults who live alone or with dependent children only – can form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household. All those in a support bubble will be able to spend time together inside each other’s homes, including overnight, without needing to stay 2 metres apart.
Some of you may have had the notice affixed to your bins that BFC will be commencing weekly food waste collections from October 2020. Recycling will remain on bi-weekly collections and general waste will occur on a 3 week basis. Further information can be found at https://www.bracknell-forest.gov.uk/bins-and-recycling/food-waste-collection
Non-essential shops are due to reopen on the 15th June, so long as they have been made COVID secure. This is important as government will want business to demonstrate that they’ve taken reasonably practical steps to keep customers safe.
We will find out this evening whether the wider opening of the country, specifically pubs, restaurants, hairdressers etc, will be allowed from 4th July 2020. If they are allowed to do so, I am certain in my mind that this will only be if they have gone through a risk assessment process and they can show the business is COVID secure.
I don’t know about anyone else, but the first thing I intend to do after 4th July, if we are allowed, is have my hair cut as I’m starting to look like a spaniel. I’m getting a mental image of the nation as a whole looking like the supporting cast of Wallace & Gromit A Close Shave – less the knitted jumpers!
On that note, stay safe and keep up the good work.
COVID-19 Update 05/06/2020
It’s been another busy week for the Government with a lot happening; although the majority of announcements have been changes to processes and around what’s happening in the background. They are also due to be introducing a 14 day quarantine period for travellers arriving from outside the UK.
As we all know, from Monday 01/06/2020 we have now been allowed to meet in groups of up to 6 people in public spaces and in private gardens. I hope everyone has been able to enjoy the easing of the lockdown restrictions in a responsible manner.
The Prime Minister announced on Sunday 31/05/2020 that those who have been shielding can now go outside with members of their household to enjoy public spaces whilst taking special care to maintain social distancing. For those who have been shielding I hope this comes as some comfort that you can now go outside your own home.
Changes to Furlough & Self-employed support
The Government has also announced changes to the furlough scheme over the coming months as a gradual scaling back of the programme which will be coming to an end in November.
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
The Government has updated their list of Frequently Asked Questions during the outbreak; the updated list can be found here. In a similar vein, the Government has published guidance for members of the public on how to use green spaces safely Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice on accessing green spaces safely.
Public Transport and Face coverings
The Government announced last night (04/06/2020) that, as of 15th June 2020, in order to use public transport it will be compulsory to wear a face covering of some form. For those of you who use the bus or other public transport please be aware of this.
The Government has published additional guidance on how individuals can get tax free child care; this information can be found on this link.
They also announced last night (04/06/2020) that they will be looking to extend the cycle to work scheme to cover e-bikes and allow employees to benefit with savings of up to 30% on the cost of a bicycle. This is alongside a bicycle repair voucher scheme to get more bicycles on the road.
Advice to Smokers
Government has published specific advice for Smokers setting out the risks associated with smoking during COVID-19. For smokers there is an increased risk of developing the more severe symptoms, as COVID-19 is first and foremost a virus that affects the lungs.
While the office remains open, we are continuing to restrict visitors, operating a one in one out system and we are only taking payments on Wednesday and Thursday. Please respect social distancing measures when you make payments. If you need to speak to us in person, please contact us in advance so we can book a timeslot to visit.
Finally, while Government are easing the lockdown, this is far from over, and we can’t afford to become complacent. As I’ve said before, this is a marathon and not a sprint and there is a long way to go yet.
As ever stay safe and keep up the good work.