Coronavirus: current advice

Road map out of lockdown

 

The Government has set a 4 step roadmap out of lockdown and we can all look ahead to the gradual easing of restrictions and a route back to a more normal way of life over the coming months.

Step 3 of the roadmap is now underway (17 May) meaning social contact limits have been eased (30 people outdoors and rule of 6 or two household indoors), most indoor hospitality, entertainment, attractions and accomodation can reopen, plus increased limits for indoor and outdoor events.

On 14 June the Government announced a four-week pause at Step 3, meaning the current restrictions remain in place:
However, some restrictions will change on 21 June. There will be changes to the rules on:

  • weddings and civil partnership ceremonies and wedding receptions or civil partnership celebrations
  • commemorative events following a death such as a wake, stone setting or ash scattering
  • large events pilots
  • care home visits
  • domestic residential visits for children
  • Read the full guidance at gov.uk/coronavirus

It is expected that England will move to Step 4 on 19 July, though the data will be reviewed after 2 weeks in case the risks have reduced.

For the latest Government guidance please visit gov.uk.

 

Changes to council services

Council buildings

The following buildings remain closed to the general public:

The Brindley

DCBL Stadium

 

The following will remain open to the public with Covid-secure measures in place:

  • Children’s centres (all open for social care activity and early year’s support apart from Windmill Hill Children’s Centre which will be closed temporarily for a short period)
  • Shopmobility
  • Horticultural day service activity at Hough Green
  • Women’s Centre, Runcorn
  • Public toilets in town centres
  • Halton Borough Council MOT Centre

 

Waste and collection services

Household waste recycling centres will remain open, operating as now, with current Covid-secure arrangements in place.

There are no changes to the waste collection timetable.

FAQs

Why is the road map being introduced?

The Governments four step roadmap offers a route back to a more normal life. The 4 step road map will be guided by data, not dates, to avoid a surge in infections that would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS. The dates in the roadmap are indicative and subject to change. There will be a minimum of five weeks between each step: four weeks for the scientific data to reflect the changes in restrictions and to be analysed; followed by one week’s advance notice of the restrictions that will be eased.

Only when the Government is sure that it is safe to move from one step to the next will the final decision be made. The decision will be based on four tests:

• the vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
• evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
• infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
• our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern

What are the step 3 changes?

 

  • Indoor entertainment and attractions.
  • 30 person limit outdoors.
  • You can meet indoors in a group of up to 6 people or a group of any size from 2 households
  • Domestic overnight stays.
  • Organised indoor adult sport.
  • Most significant life events (30).
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment (including performances).
  • Remaining accommodation.
  • Some large events (expect for pilots) – capacity limits apply.
    • Indoor events: 1,000 or 50%.
    • Outdoor other events: 4,000 or 50%.
    • Outdoor seated events: 10,000 or 25%.
  • International travel – subject to review.
  • Work from home if you can and travel safely.

Full Government guidance here.

Does my child need to wear a face covering at school?

Face coverings for pupils will no longer be recommended in secondary schools or colleges from May 17.

Are there restrictions on weddings, civil partnerships and funerals?

Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and funerals are allowed with strict limits on attendance, and must only take place in COVID-19 secure venues or in public outdoor spaces unless in exceptional circumstances.

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Linked religious, belief based or ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 6 people in attendance. Anyone working is not counted in these limits. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.

Arrangements for Halton’s Crematorium/Cemeteries: The maximum capacity in the crematorium chapel is 16 people, additional mourners may stand outside the chapel and away from the graveside but they must social distancing guidelines. A maximum of 6 people will be allowed at the immediate graveside, for example you can have up to a maximum of six coffin bearers.

Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies must only take place with up to 6 people. Anyone working is not counted in these limits. These should only take place in exceptional circumstances, for example, an urgent marriage where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery.

Places of worship you can attend places of worship for a service. However, you must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble. You should maintain strict social distancing at all times. You should follow the national guidance on the safe use of places of worship.

Please stay at home where possible, a free webcast service is available for all cremations.

What is a support bubble?

You have to meet certain eligibility rules to form a support bubble. This means not everyone will be able to form a bubble.

A support bubble is a support network which links two households. You can form a support bubble with another household of any size only if you meet the eligibility rules.

 

It is against the law to form a support bubble if you do not follow these rules.

If you form a support bubble, it is best if this is with a household who live locally. This will help prevent the virus spreading from an area where more people are infected.

There is separate guidance for support bubbles and childcare bubbles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is a childcare bubble?

If you live in a household with anyone aged under 14, you can form a childcare bubble. This allows friends or family from one other household to provide informal childcare.

What support is available for clinically and extremely vulnerable residents?

From 1 April, if you have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable you will no longer be advised to shield. However, you should continue to take extra precautions to protect yourself. It is important that you continue to keep the number of social interactions that you have low and try to limit the amount of time you spend in settings where you are unable to maintain social distancing

People are still advised to continue working from home where possible, but if people are unable to do so, employers are required by law to take steps to make workplaces COVID-19 secure and should discuss this with their employees.

Support:

While we recommend seeking support from family, friends or a volunteer first, details of support and information is available at www.onehalton.uk/shieldedsupport. You can also call the Council on 0303 333 4300.

Supermarkets have committed to continuing priority access to delivery slots for CEV people already signed up for support via the National Shielding Support Service (NSSS) until 21 June, for people who registered by 31 March.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Service Scheme (SEISS) have both been extended until 30 September, and the £20 per week increase to Universal Credit will also remain in place until September.

For those who need to self-isolate due to a positive test or through close contact with someone who tests positive for coronavirus, there is advice and guidance available on the council’s website.

In future, formal shielding will only be reintroduced in areas where case numbers are high and will be based on a recommendation from the Government’s Chief Medical Officer.

How do I book a test if I have symptoms?

If you HAVE symptoms; 

You need to get tested as soon as possible.

You can book online here or by calling NHS 119. You will then be invited to a test site – or you can order a home test kit if you can’t get to a test site.

What are the symptoms of Covid-19

The three main symptoms of COVID-19 are a high temperature, a persistent cough or a loss of smell or taste. If you experience any of these symptoms you should self-isolate and get tested.

But if you are feeling generally unwell, with a combination of new symptoms you should also get tested. This is because there are other symptoms which people have also been testing positive with, they include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • New persistent fatigue
  • A persistent headache
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhoea

If you have a combination of any of these wider symptoms, you should get a test at one of Halton’s symptoms-only testing sites. If your result is positive then please self-isolate.

If you HAVE symptoms; 

You need to get tested as soon as possible.

You can book online here or by calling NHS 119. You will then be invited to a test site – or you can order a home test kit if you can’t get to a test site.

How do I get a test if I DO NOT have symptoms?

If you DO NOT have symptoms;

You can visit either of the centres below during the opening times, but please remember, these sites are only for people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms.

 

Grangeway Community Centre

Grangeway, Runcorn, WA7 5LY

Monday to Friday 8.30am to 6pm

Saturday and Sunday 10am to 2pm

Ditton Community Centre

Dundalk Road, Widnes WA8 8DF

Monday to Friday 8.30am to 6pm

Saturday and Sunday 10am to 2pm

 

Click here to find out more about SMART testing.

Click here for FAQs about SMART testing.

I have symptoms, does the rest of my household need to book a test?

If someone in your household starts to have symptoms, then that person must get tested and the rest of the household should self-isolate with them whilst they wait for the results.

It is very important that people with symptoms and their household members self-isolate before the test and until they receive their results.

It is now an offence to fail to self-isolate.

You may be entitled to a Test and Trace Support payment of £500. If you have been told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate, either because you have tested positive for Coronavirus Covid-19 or you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, you may be entitled to some financial support during your self-isolation period:​ ​apply online or see support for individuals section here.

Do I need to self-isolate even though my test result was negative?

A negative result means the test did not find coronavirus.

You do not need to self-isolate if your test is negative, as long as:

  • Everyone you live with (or your support bubble) who has symptoms tests negative
  • You were not told to self-isolate for 1 days by NHS Test and Trace
  • If you feel well – if you feel unwell, stay at home until you’re feeling better.

Full guidance on self-isolating can be found on the Government’s website here.

Where do I find information on infection rates?

You can see the latest data for Halton in the COVID-19 data section here.

Or you can find information (including data for your post code area) on the Government’s website here

Support for businesses

 

Reopening High Streets Safely

Together we can ensure everybody can return to #HaltonHighStreets safely.

Click to download the Business Toolkit and Communication Resources.

 

National Lockdown support for businesses

From the 5th January 2021 the country entered a National Lockdown and non-essential businesses have been mandated to close due to lockdown restrictions.From the 5th January 2021 the country entered a National Lockdown and non-essential businesses have been mandated to close due to lockdown restrictions. A full list of business mandated to close is available at gov.uk.

Businesses which have been mandated to close can apply for a business support grant for the period of National lockdown depending on their rateable value.
Businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or below are eligible for £667 per fortnight.

Business with a rateable value above £15,000 and below £51,000 are eligible for £1,000 per fortnight. Businesses of £51,000 and over are eligible for £1,500 per fortnight.

Payments will be made as followed;
5th January 2021 – 15th February 2021 one payment to cover the 42 day period.

Government have also announced a one off lump sum payment to help support effected businesses to cover the current National Lockdown period. This payment will be made in addition to the Local Restrictions Support Grant (closed) Addendum detailed above.

The Closed Business Lockdown Payment will be an additional lump sum payment as detailed below.

  • Businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or below are eligible a lump sum payment of £4,000.
  • Business with a rateable value above £15,000 and below £51,000 are eligible for a lump sum payment of £6,000.
  • Businesses of £51,000 and over are eligible for a lump sum payment of £9,000.
  • Each of the above grants will be paid per hereditament and separate applications will need to be submitted should you be claiming for more than one premises. By completing an application you will be applying for both support grants.

A further 44 day grant payment to cover the second phase of National Lockdown has been announced to cover the period 16th February 2021 – 31st March 2021.

Payments will be made to eligible businesses as detailed below.

  • Businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or below are eligible for £2,096.
  • Business with a rateable value above £15,000 and below £51,000 are eligible for a lump sum payment of £3,143.
  • Businesses of £51,000 and over are eligible for a lump sum payment of £4,714

In order to apply please complete the online application form – this application window will close on 31st May 2021.

**THIS GRANT SCHEME HAS NOW CLOSED AND NO FURTHER PAYMENTS CANNOT BE MADE UNDER THIS SCHEME**

 

Restart Grants

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced in his 2021 Budget a further restart grant will also be made available from April 2021 to business which have been mandated to close due to National Lockdown restrictions. Full guidance and criteria’s can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-restrictions-support-grants-lrsg-and-additional-restrictions-grant-arg-guidance-for-local-authorities.

The grants scheme is split into two stands;

  • Stand OneNon Essential Retail will receive grant payments of £2,667, £4,000 or £6,000 depending on their rateable value.
  • Stand TwoHospitality, Leisure, Accommodation, Gym & Sports and Personal Care (Hair & Beauty Service) will receive a grant payments of £8,000, £12,000 or £18,000 depending on their rateable value.

IMPORTANT: DUE TO NEW REGULATIONS FROM GOVERNMENT AN APPLICATION FORM IS REQUIRED.

Please complete and return the online application form to apply for the support grants.

Please note: Payments will be processed in date order.

 

State Aid

The Local Restrictions Support Grant counts towards state aid. The rules are fully explained in the government state aid guidance https://www.gov.uk/guidance/state-aid. By accepting this grant you must confirm that you are not in breach of these rules.

 

Self employed support scheme 

If you are self employed, the Government has released the link for applications for grants.  For those who are eligible the scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant of 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months, and capped at £7,500 altogether. This is a temporary scheme, but it may be extended.

You will need your UTR (Unique Tax Reference) number and National Insurance number to begin the application process.

PRIVACY NOTICE: Halton Borough Council is the Data Controller for the personal information you provide. You can view the full privacy notice.

 

Other Business Support

The main source of information for all business support during the coronavirus crisis remains the UK Government web site at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support or alternatively Liverpool City Region Growth Platform site at https://growthplatform.org/business-covid-19-advice/.

Please refer to the above websites in the first instance for up to date information.
If, however, you’d rather speak to someone locally please email Halton Borough Council’s Business Development Team on business@halton.gov.uk

We appreciate that this is a very difficult time but we are assured by government that they are exploring every possible avenue to provide support to businesses and to that end the Council and other public sector organisations are working hard to put in place the systems necessary to make that happen.

Support for individuals

Council Tax Support & Welfare Advice & Self Isolation Support Payments

​From 28th September 2020, you may be entitled to a Test and Trace Support payment of £500. If you have been told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate, either because you have tested positive for Coronavirus Covid-19 or you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, you may be entitled to some financial support during your self-isolation period:​ ​apply online

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a significant impact on our economy and services and we would like to reassure residents who are struggling to pay their Council Tax bill at this difficult time.

Your Council Tax bill pays for essential services that are delivered to all Halton residents. If your circumstances have not changed, you should continue to pay in accordance with the details shown on your bill so we can continue to provide essential services.

If your income has been affected as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak you should submit a claim for Universal Credit with the DWP on their website here: https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit

You should also claim Council Tax Reduction direct from the Council on our website here: or https://www3.halton.gov.uk/Pages/CouncilandBenefits/Housing-Benefits.aspx

If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax please contact us by email at council.tax@halton.gov.uk

Essential bills advice

The Government updated the advice for those in difficulty with utility bills, or repayment commitments on credit cards, loans and mortgages, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Mortgages and Coronavirus

If you’re struggling to keep up with mortgage repayments due to coronavirus, or you’re coming to the end of a payment holiday and wondering what happens next, find out what your next steps may be.

Mental Health & Well Being

Useful sources of information, advice and guidance

Halton Local Offer COVID-19 page

Support for clinically and extremely vulnerable

We urge you to continue to access the care and support you need. You should continue to access NHS services, and you should contact the NHS if you have an urgent or emergency care need.

You may want to maintain social distance within your household if practical.

 

Work and education

As a general principle, working from home reduces the chance of you being exposed to the virus.

Where possible you are advised to work from home, because the rate of transmission of the virus in your area may be very high.

If you cannot work from home, and are concerned about going into work, you may want to speak to your employer about taking on an alternative role or change your working patterns temporarily (for example, to avoid travelling in rush hour).

If there is no alternative, you can still go to work. Your employer is required to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. Your employer should be able to explain to you the measures they have put in place to keep you safe at work.

Where some employers are not managing the risk of coronavirus, the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities will take action which can range from the provision of specific advice, issuing enforcement notices, stopping certain work practices until they are made safe and, where businesses fail to comply with enforcement notices, this could lead to prosecution.

If you have concerns about your health and safety at work you can raise them with your workplace union, the Health and Safety Executive or your local authority.

If you cannot make alternative arrangements, your employer may be able to furlough you under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been extended until the end of April 2021. You should have a conversation with your employer about whether this is possible.

All pupils and students should continue to attend education settings at all local tiers unless they are one of the very small number of pupils or students under paediatric or other NHS care and have been advised by their GP or clinician not to attend an education setting. Children and young people whose parents or carers are clinically extremely vulnerable should also continue to attend education settings.

 

Travel

At Tier 3: Very High, everyone may continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, as well as for work or to access education. However, everyone should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make and should avoid travel into or out of a Tier 3 area.

In general, we advise clinically extremely vulnerable people to stay at home as much as possible.

 

Going to shops and pharmacies

You are advised to significantly reduce your shopping trips including to pharmacies. Where possible, you should consider shopping online. If you do need to go to the shops, try to do so at quieter times and maintain strict social distancing.

You are advised to ask people in your household or support bubble to collect food and medicines for you. If you need more help with accessing food or medicines, NHS Volunteer Responders are still available to assist you.

You can register to request access to priority supermarket deliveries, if you do not have someone you can rely on to go shopping for you. If you have already got priority supermarket deliveries, you will keep them. When registering you will be asked for your NHS number. You can find it on any letter the NHS has sent you, or on a prescription.

Registering on the site just gives you priority. It does not mean you’ll definitely get a delivery slot. If you want priority supermarket deliveries, you will also need to set up an account with at least one supermarket and book slots yourself.

 

If you require additional care and support

You should continue to receive care at home, either from professional social care and medical professionals, or from friends and family within your support bubble.

You should continue to access the NHS services that you need, and you should contact the NHS if you have an urgent or emergency care need.

If you need other forms of help, including support to register for priority supermarket deliveries, you should contact us directly.

Click here for more information.

 

While most clinically extremely vulnerable people in Halton will have in place arrangements through friends, family or volunteers, for things like shopping and collecting medication, the Council is still able to provide support and advice for those who really need it.

If you need help you should call 0151 907 8363 (8am to 6pm).

More information on support available can be found at www.onehalton.uk/shieldedsupport

Become a volunteer

 If you want to help the most vulnerable across Widnes and Runcorn there are a variety of opportunities you can register to help for with Halton and St Helens Voluntary and Community Action.

You may be able to deliver much needed supplies to the vulnerable and self-isolating; provide telephone support; share information and updates, and many other tasks .

You can register online or call them on 01744 457100, visit their website

Covid Data
  • There have been 62 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Halton residents in the last 7 days (to 7th June).  
  • The 7 day rate is 47.9 per 100,000 population, or one in every 2087 people in Halton have Covid19 (to 7th June).
  • Our weekly rate of positive cases has increased during the past week, as have the rates in all other LAs in Cheshire & Merseyside.
  • In total there have been 12,093 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Halton residents (as of 10th June).
  • The percentage of people testing positive has increased, and was 1.4% as of 5th June.
  • There were no deaths for Halton residents, which mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate for week 21 (ending 28th May).

 

[i] Data for the last 4 days may not be complete. Source: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/cases

[ii] Source: Office for National Statistics

 

 

Vaccinations:

 

The weekly number of COVID-19 vaccinations provided by the NHS in England is available at a regional level here.

The data is now being presented at a number of levels, below is the Local Authority data – more data, including constituency and MSOA level can be found here.

As at 6 June

 

1st dose

Under 30

30-34

35-39

40-44

45-49

50-54

55-59

60-64

65-69

70-74

75-79

80+

    5,599

      4,756

       6,084

      6,412

      7,256

     8,416

   8,705

     7,873

      7,001

     6,913

     4,174

     5,082

 

 

2nd dose

Under 30

30-34

35-39

40-44

45-49

50-54

55-59

60-64

65-69

70-74

75-79

80+

     3,017

   1,920

    2,347

    2,619

     3,274

      6,266

     6,289

    7,094

     6,734

      6,776

      4,104

    4,966

 

Cumulative Total Doses (1st and 2nd doses) to Date6

 
 

         133,677