Coronavirus: current advice

TIER 2 HIGH ALERT

What you can and cannot do in Halton in Tier 2: High Alert local restrictions

 

In addition to Tier 2: High Alert measures, you must continue to:

  • Wash hands keep washing your hands regularly
  • Cover face wear a face covering in enclosed spaces
  • Make space stay at least 2 metres apart – or 1 metre with a face covering or other precautions
  • Get tested but only if you have symptoms

Tier 2: High Alert measures will reduce the growth rate of the virus, which will:

  • prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed
  • ensure schools, colleges and universities can stay open
  • ensure that as many people as possible can continue to work

The government has published its COVID-19 Winter Plan and more information can be viewed on the government’s website.

 

 

FAQs (Tier 2: High Alert)

What areas does it cover?

On 2 December, England moved back into a regional, tiered approach. Halton and the rest of the Liverpool City Region are in Tier 2: High Alert.

Why are the measures being introduced?

We know that COVID-19 is easily transmitted from person to person and that social contact spreads the virus in our community.

While our infection rates have been reducing, they are still too high, so we must take measures to stop the spread – including limiting interactions with other people to help us contain the virus. 

Having made so much progress, it is now hugely important that we all keep going and do not become complacent, as if we do, and our figures start to increase, we risk finding ourselves back in the higher category Tier 3 and the tighter restrictions that brings.

How long will these measures last?

A review of the tier levels will take place at least once every 14 days, with the first review to be carried out by 16th December 2020.
A review of the need for each of the Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions will take place at least once every 28 days, with the first review to be carried out by 30th December.

The current regulations will expire at the end of 2nd February 2021.

What can I do at Christmas?

The Government is changing some social contact restrictions for a short period of time. 

Between 23 and 27 December:

  • you can form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households
  • you can only be in one Christmas bubble
  • you cannot change your Christmas bubble
  • you can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble
  • you can only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or in your garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces
  • you can continue to meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules in the tier where you are staying
  • you cannot meet someone in a private dwelling who is not part of your household or Christmas bubble

Click here for more information.

Can I meet people outdoors?

Tier 2: High Alert measures mean that you can meet up to 6 people you do not live with outdoors (this limit includes children of any age).

‘Outdoors’ means in a private garden or other outdoor space.

You can continue to meet in a group larger than 6 if you are all from the same household or support bubble or another legal exemption applies. 

Do these measures affect childcare?

There are several ways that parents and carers can continue to access childcare in Tier 2: High Alert. You can get childcare support from:

 

 

•registered childcare providers
•professional childcare providers in the home such as nannies (see guidance on working safely in other people’s homes)
•other supervised activities provided for young people (including anyone who was under 18 on 31 August 2020) – including wraparound care, childrens’ groups and activities, and children’s playgroups
•people in their childcare bubble – parents are able to form a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under.
•people in their support bubble – some households will also be able to benefit from being in a support bubble.

Friends or family who do not live with you and are not part of a support or childcare bubble must not visit your home to help with childcare. Childcare bubbles are to be used to provide childcare only, and not for the purposes of different households mixing where they are otherwise not allowed to do so. Read guidance on making and using a childcare bubble.

 

What about grandparents, i.e nan and grandad, who help with childcare?

Grandparents who live in the same household, i.e. nan and grandad, can link with one other household so that the parents of the children can work.

You can only link with one other household at any time- for example two sets of grandparents who live in different households can not provide childcare for the same set of grandchildren.

If you are a grandparent and you have different sets of grandchildren who live in different households, you will need to choose one set of grandchildren from one household to provide childcare for.

Click here for more information about childcare bubbles. 

What are the changes for businesses and venues?

All businesses and venues should follow COVID-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers.

 

 

Restrictions on businesses and venues in Tier 2: High Alert areas include:

  • nightclubs and adult entertainment venues must remain closed
  • pubs and bars may not provide alcohol for consumption on the premises, unless with a substantial meal, so they are operating as a restaurant. They may remain open for take-away services
  • other hospitality businesses – including cafes, restaurants and  social clubs – can only serve alcohol with substantial meals. If they are a business which serves alcohol for consumption on the premises, they must be table service only. In cinemas, theatres, concert halls and sports stadia, alcohol can be ordered at a bar to be consumed when seated in the  auditorium or area where the screening/performance is taking place. This should be limited to only those with tickets. When it is to be consumed in the bar area itself, it must be part of a substantial meal and full table service must be provided
  • hospitality venues that do not serve alcohol may allow someone to order from the counter, but they must still consume their meal from a seat if eating in
  • hospitality venues must stop taking orders after 10pm and must close between 11pm and 5am (with exceptions for airports, ports, the Folkestone international rail terminal, on public transport services and in motorway service areas, although these places cannot sell alcohol after 11pm)
  • hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm, such as by take-away. After 11pm, this must only be through delivery service or click-and-collect or drive-through.
  • businesses must not provide shared smoking equipment for use on the premises.
  • visitor attractions, entertainment businesses and venues may open but early closure (11pm) applies to the following:
    • casinos
    • theatres
    • museums
    • bowling alleys
    • adult gaming centres and amusement arcades
    • funfairs, theme parks and adventure parks and activities
    • bingo halls
    • cinemas, theatres, concert halls and sports stadia
  • cinemas, theatres, concert halls and sports stadia can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances and events that start before 10pm
  • tour groups must operate in line with social contact rules. This means that larger tours where different households or support bubbles (or groups of more than 6 if outdoors) interact will not be feasible
  • Accommodation, such as hotels, holiday lets and guesthouses, may open but businesses must take reasonable steps to ensure that social contact rules are followed within their venues
  • retail businesses and premises may open but must ensure that they operate in a COVID-19-secure manner
  • theatres, concert halls, music venues and sports stadia are open, but capacity will be restricted to whichever is lower: 50% capacity or 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  • conference centres and exhibition halls are open. Business events are permitted, but capacity should be restricted to whichever is lower: 50% capacity of 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  • certain businesses and venues are required to collect customer, visitor and staff data to support NHS Test and Trace
  • the wearing of face coverings for customers and staff (other than those with exemptions) is mandatory in certain indoor settings
  • businesses must ensure that if their workers are required to self-isolate, they do not work outside their designated place of self-isolation
  • businesses and venues that fail to comply with these restrictions may face fines of up to £10,000, prosecution, or in some cases closure

See full guidance on which businesses and venues are permitted to be open under each local restriction tier.

 

 

 

Do these measures affect access to education?

The Government has prioritised ensuring all children and young people can attend school and college safely, to support their wellbeing and education and help working parents and guardians. All pupils should continue to attend school and colleges, unless required to self-isolate, when their school and college should provide them with high quality remote education.

 

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

Unless exempt, in education settings where students in Year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn by staff, visitors and students when moving around in corridors and communal areas.

What are the changes to travel?

Tier 2: High Alert areas must continue to follow Tier 2 rules when travelling to a Tier 1 area.

However, avoid travel to or overnight stays in Tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as:

  • for work
  • for education
  • to access voluntary, charitable or youth services
  • to visit your support bubble
  • to receive medical treatment
  • for moving home
  • because of caring responsibilities

You can travel through a Tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey.

There is guidance on what to do if you’ve booked holiday accommodation in a local restriction area.

 

 

Are there restrictions on weddings, civil partnerships and funerals?

Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and funerals should only take place in COVID-secure venues or in public outdoor spaces, unless in exceptional circumstances.

Receptions and wakes should be sit down meals to ensure people can keep their distance from each other and must not take place in private dwellings.

You can have up to:

  • 15 people for weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions
  • 30 people for funerals
  • 15 people for wakes or linked ceremonial events (such as stone-settings) before or after the funeral

The limits above are the maximum number for all attendees at the event, for example at a wedding or civil partnership ceremony to include the couple and guests. Anyone working at a wedding, civil partnership ceremony, reception, wake or funeral is not included in the limit. Within these larger gatherings, social distancing should still be followed between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.

People living outside of a Tier 2 level area can travel to the area to attend an event. However, they must not meet with another household in a private home.

 

Can I go to the gym, gym class, leisure centre or a swimming pool?

Indoor leisure is open.

 

 

You can take part in organised sport and physical activity outdoors with any number of people.

 

 

You can do unlimited exercise outdoors or in gyms and other sports facilities.

 

Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people you do not live with (or share a support bubble with). 

 

Active Halton Leisure Centres will reopen Wednesday 2 December, click here for more information and to access a programme of online fitness classes.

What about takeaways?

Hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm (eg takeaway). After 11pm, this must only be through delivery service or click-and-collect or drive-through.

 

Can I have someone in my house (or go into someone’s house) to do repairs or other work?

Individuals can work in other people’s homes if COVID-secure under all tiers (for example cleaners, nannies, trades people and personal care services).

Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.

Can I go to a care home?

Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, and window visits. Regular testing will be offered to up to two family members or friends per resident by Christmas, which – when combined with other infection-control measures such as PPE – will support indoor visits with physical contact. Government guidance to follow. Please contact the individual care home for details.  

 

 

What is a support bubble?

A support bubble is a close support network between a household with only one adult in the home (known as a single-adult household) and one other household of any size.

Once you’re in a support bubble, you can think of yourself as being in a single household with people from the other household. It means you can have close contact with that household as if they were members of your own household.

Once you make a support bubble, you should not change who is in your bubble.

You should not have multiple bubbles.

What support is available for clinically and extremely vulnerable residents?

At all local Tiers 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

In Tier 2: High Alert the additonal advice is;

SOCIALISING
• Reduce the number of different people you meet
• Still go outside for exercise

TRAVEL
• Avoid travel where possible except for going to work, school, or for essential shopping
• If you need to travel, walking, cycling, or travelling in a private car are safer than public transport

WORK AND SCHOOL
• Work from home where possible
• Attend work if you cannot work from home
• You should continue to attend school or college

GOING TO THE SHOPS AND THE PHARMACY
• Reduce the number of shopping trips you make, including to pharmacies
• Consider using online delivery slots for food shopping, or ask friends and family to help deliver shopping or collect medicines for you
• NHS Volunteer Responders can support you if you need help

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

Can I move home?

Yes.

How to do I book a test?

You need to get tested as soon as possible (within the first five days of having symptoms) you should only get a test if you have symptoms.

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.

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. If you or other members of the household don’t have symptoms, then you should not get a test – only people with symptoms should get tested.

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 and offence to fail to self-isolate.

If you need to self-isolate you may be entitled to a Test and Trace Support payment of £500.  See ‘Support for Individuals’ section below for further information.

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 14 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 below.

Or you can find information on the Government’s website here.

What can I do at Christmas?

Between 23 and 27 December:
•you can form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households
•you can only be in one Christmas bubble
•you cannot change your Christmas bubble
•you can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble
•you can only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or in your garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces
•you can continue to meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules in the tier where you are staying
•you cannot meet someone in a private dwelling who is not part of your household or Christmas bubble

You should travel to meet those in your Christmas bubble and return home between the 23 and 27 December. Anyone travelling to or from Northern Ireland may travel on the 22 and 28 December.

Click here for more information.

Support for businesses

LOCAL RESTRICTIONS SUPPORT GRANT

Following National Lockdown the Government announced Halton would be placed in Tier 2 ‘High Alert’ from 2nd December 2020.

Businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a covid secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs.

Pubs and bars must remain closed, unless operating as a restaurant. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with a substantial meal.

The Government have confirmed businesses ordered to close will be eligible for a support grant.

Businesses occupying hereditaments appearing in the rating list with a rateable value of £15,000 or under on the date of the commencement of the national lockdown will receive a payment of £667 per 14 day qualifying restriction period.

Businesses occupying hereditaments appearing on the rating list with a rateable value of over £15,000 but less than £51,000 on the date of the commencement of the national lockdown will receive a payment of £1,000 per 14 day qualifying restriction period.

Businesses occupying hereditaments which appear in the rating list with a rateable value of £51,000 or above on the commencement of the national lockdown will receive a payment of £1,500 per 14 day qualifying restriction period.

Any changes to the rating list after the date that the localised restrictions and business closures came into effect, including changes which have been backdated will not be taken into consideration for the purpose of eligibility.

To apply for a business support grant please complete the application form and email a copy to business.rates@halton.gov.uk

 

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.

BUSINESS RECOVERY GRANT

In response to the demand for increased support for SMEs, government has committed an additional £30m from the England European Regional Development Fund. £10m to support visitor/ tourism economy and £20m for the wider economy businesses.

SELF EMPLOYED INCOME 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.


APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR HOSPITALITY, LEISURE AND RETAIL GRANTS (EXPANDED SCHEME)

National lockdown and local restrictions have had a significant impact on many businesses across the Liverpool City Region. Some have benefitted from national support schemes, but others haven’t met the criteria and have not received any financial support.
To address an identified gap, applications are being invited for funding from the previously announced £40m COVID emergency fund to support the hospitality and leisure supply chain, non-essential retail, and self-employed, sole traders, licensed market traders and limited companies based at home who predominantly supply the hospitality and leisure sectors.
The Hospitality, Leisure and Retail Grants (Expanded Scheme) will be open for applications that meet the eligibility criteria from 10am on Monday 30 November and close at 5pm on Friday 11 December 2020.
Business must be based in the Liverpool City Region (covering the local authority areas of Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral).
For more information and to apply please visit: https://runcorn-widnes.com/emergency-fund-for-hospitality-and-leisure-sector from 10am on Monday 30 November 2020.

 

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 call Halton Borough Council’s Business Development Team on 0151 511 7825 or email 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

Mental Health & Well Being

Useful sources of information, advice and guidance

Support for clinically and extremely vulnerable

At all local Tiers 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

In Tier 2: High Alert the additonal advice is;

SOCIALISING
• Reduce the number of different people you meet
• Still go outside for exercise

TRAVEL
• Avoid travel where possible except for going to work, school, or for essential shopping
• If you need to travel, walking, cycling, or travelling in a private car are safer than public transport

WORK AND SCHOOL
• Work from home where possible
• Attend work if you cannot work from home
• You should continue to attend school or college

GOING TO THE SHOPS AND THE PHARMACY
• Reduce the number of shopping trips you make, including to pharmacies
• Consider using online delivery slots for food shopping, or ask friends and family to help deliver shopping or collect medicines for you
• NHS Volunteer Responders can support you if you need help

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
COVID-19 DATA FOR HALTON
  • There have been 169 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Halton residents in the last 7 days (to 1st December). The 7 day rate is 131 per 100,000 population (to 1st December).
  • Our weekly rate of positive cases has decreased during the past week.
  • In total there have been 4,766 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Halton residents (as of 4th December).
  • The percentage of people testing positive has reduced during the past week.
  • There were 4 COVID-19 deaths in the week ending 20th November.

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

[ii] Source: Office for National Statistics