National lockdown guidance and affected services
The Government has announced a new national lockdown with rules coming into force from Thursday November 5.
For four weeks until Wednesday 2 December the Government is asking people to stay at home, except for specific purposes; not to gather with others they don’t live with, except for specific purposes and is closing some businesses and venues. The national lockdown is necessary to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed, ensure schools, colleges and universities can stay open and as many people as possible can continue working.
Residents can leave home for essential reasons such as food shopping, accessing health or critical public services, to work (if unable to work from home), for education or providing care for a vulnerable person. Leeds City Council parks remain open and people can take unlimited exercise – with members of their own household, on their own or with one other person from outside their household.
These Government restrictions replace those in Tier 3, which did not come into force on Monday 2 November. The full national Government guidelines are available here www.gov.uk
Those aged 60 and above or the clinically vulnerable could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus and should be especially careful to follow the rules as well as minimising contact with others. They should also continue to wash hands carefully and more frequently than usual and maintain thorough cleaning of often touched areas in the home.
Below explains how the new rulings and guidance will impact services here in Leeds and is a summary with full details available at www.leeds.gov.uk. Details both here and on the web page are subject to change based on staffing levels, as the council works to support staff who are clinically vulnerable or over 60, and will be reviewed and updated regularly.
Services planned to remain open:
- Parks, playgrounds and the Arium, plus car parks and public toilets in parks.
- Waste services will remain operational but likely to be under pressures.
- Household waste recycling centres will stay open.
- Bulky waste collection and forestry continues and litter bins will be emptied as staffing allows.
- Cafes are able to offer takeaways.
- Funeral services will continue with a maximum capacity of 30 people.
- The contact centre will continue to operate. As many community hubs as possible will remain open.
- Civil Registrations Offices remain open.
- There will be street support for rough sleepers.
- Food supplies: Fareshare have a new extended warehouse operational. The council has assigned £50k if they need to purchase more food. 300 bags of food a week will increase to 1000 on Thursday.
- Social care continues, day services are being reviewed.
- Schools and children and young person settings (incl childcare such as Little Owls).
- Parks and playground maintenance, responsive highway and winter maintenance, catering and cleaning to support those council venues remaining open; responsive and planned maintenance of council buildings.
Services planned to close or see significant change:
- Visitor attractions, including museums and galleries, and venues, will close for the duration of the lockdown period.
- Leisure centres and golf courses and will close in line with Government guidance.
- Weddings and civil partnerships will be postponed during the lockdown period.
- General access to libraries will cease but click-and-collect services may be allowed.
- Face-to-face Welfare Rights service will cease. Doorstep visits can continue.
- Market stalls selling non-essential item will need to close.
Financial Support for businesses:
- Work is underway to launch the latest Tier 3/National Lockdown grant applications very soon, subject to government guidelines being made available check www.leeds.gov.uk for updates.
- The Government has announced an extension to mortgage payment holidays. Borrowers who have been impacted by coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a six month holiday, and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to six months without this being recorded on their credit file.
- More information about the financial support measures announced following the PM’s press conference is available here www.gov.uk.
People are increasingly likely to experience a delay or find appointments cancelled across healthcare services. Primary care services continue to remain open however all initial appointments are over the phone or online usually by video call.
Due to the risks posed there will not be the usual service or military parade at Victoria Gardens in Leeds. People are being urged to undertake their own acts of remembrance at home by observing the national two minute silence, displaying an image of a poppy in their windows and watching the pre-recorded Act of Remembrance and wreath laying ceremony with the Lord Mayor, Lord-Lieutenant and Royal British Legion. Residents can download an image of a poppy from the Royal British Legion website www.britishlegion.org.uk.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“Once again the people of Leeds, along with the rest of England, are being asked to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. I know how difficult this will be for local people and businesses who have continued to face unparalleled challenges this year, but the safety of our residents must take priority until we can gain control of this relentless virus. It has been amazing to see the city pull together this year and I know we can do it again.
“The darker nights will no doubt make this lockdown tougher for many people and it is important we all take care of ourselves and look out for friends, family members, colleagues and neighbours who may be struggling. The council is here to offer help to any person or business who needs it and there is a range of support and resources available online.”
The council will continue to work with partners across the city to ensure services are delivered as effectively as possible and to support the most vulnerable members of communities.