Statement from the Deputy Leader of the Council and the Managing Director.

Date: 
Thursday, July 2, 2020

Please note these daily briefings will now be twice weekly on Mondays and Thursdays.

Updates from Rochford District Council

Rochford district prepares to welcome customers back to its pubs and restaurants

Rochford District Council, Essex Police and local pubwatch schemes have been working together to support one another in reopening the 220 pubs, bars and restaurants across the district.

This is the latest phase of the ‘We Are Back’ campaign which is helping businesses across the Rochford District to re-open in a safe way that maintains social distancing and gives customers the confidence to return.

For the latest support and guidance for businesses, and advice for customers, go to www.weareback.co.uk

Some local venues have been running a takeaway service, whilst other pubs and restaurants have remained closed since the announcement of the lockdown.

From 4th July, restaurants, bars and cafés can re-open, provided they comply with the guidance issued by HM Government on 23 June. Some of the requirements will make it more difficult to simply walk into a pub or restaurant as you did before the restrictions. Similar to how supermarkets have changed their operating processes, the licensed trade has also been required to adapt to ensure they protect customers, staff and the public.

A number of venues have decided to delay their opening until 6th July or later that week. It is worth checking in advance of visiting to ensure the venue is open.

To protect customers and staff, many venues are implementing additional measures, including operating on a pre-booked service to ensure they manage the safe flow of people.

To help the district’s businesses report cases of the virus, the details of the person making the booking will be held by the venue for 21 days to comply with the requirements surrounding Track and Trace. Anyone attempting to walk into a venue without a pre-booked appointment may be turned away or asked to wait until a suitable table is available.

Please plan your evening in advance to save disappointment. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Contact the venue before your trip to see if they will be open and if you need to pre-book
  • Be aware that their capacity may be restricted
  • You may be required to sit at a table and not be served at the bar
  • The amount of time you can spend at the venue may be limited
  • Access to toilets may be limited
  • Cash payments may not be accepted
  • Staff may be wearing masks and gloves
  • They may ask you for your personal details to support the track and trace programme

Please remember that these measures are there to keep you safe and to comply with Government requirements. We can all play our part to help businesses to adjust to this new way of operating by taking the usual precautions advised by Government, respecting social distancing and ensuring high levels of personal hygiene.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-safe-outside-your-home/staying-safe-outside-your-home

Getting tested

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/everyone-in-the-united-kingdom-with-symptoms-now-eligible-for-coronavirus-tests

Anyone experiencing a new, continuous cough; high temperature; or a loss of or change in your normal sense of smell or taste can book a test by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or telephoning 119 to book their test between the hours of 7am – 11pm. The service can be accessed by people with hearing or speech difficulties by calling 18001 119 (in England and Wales).

The COVID-19 mobile testing units will be at Rayleigh Leisure Centre on Saturday 4th July. The units will operate from roughly 10.30am to 4pm each day.

Play Spaces

Many play spaces operated by Rochford District Council will be re-opening on Saturday 4 July. You can find a list on our website www.rochford.gov.uk/playspaces

Please be aware that these will be monitored, and the council will not hesitate to close them if social distancing is not maintained.

To stay safe, you must adhere to the following guidance:

  • There will be a maximum number of people permitted at any one time (including parents/guardians/carers) – please see www.rochford.gov.uk/playspaces for the details for each individual play space.
  • Always maintain 2m social distancing
  • Where possible, only one parent, carer or guardian per child
  • You are advised to sanitise you’re hands with 60% alcohol sanitiser before and after use of the equipment
  • Where possible clean down touch points and handles before play with a disinfectant wipe
  • Please be considerate to others when using the equipment
  • Food and drink is prohibited inside the play area 
  • Please take your litter home with you
  • No dogs allowed
  • Please do not travel to a play area if you have COVID symptoms and ensure you and your household self-isolate. 
  • We would remind those using the equipment (and parents/guardians/carers) not to touch their faces, and to cough or sneeze into a tissue or arm when a tissue is not available.

Waste Collections

As our waste collection crews continue to provide a difficult but vital service at this with challenging time, we are disappointed to note that we have recently seen increased levels of hostility towards them which is unpleasant and sometimes even dangerous.

On more than one occasion, while the crews have been collecting bins, impatient drivers have mounted pavements to pass dustcarts and driven too close to the collection vehicles, putting the personal safety of crew members at risk. We are sad to say that crew members have also been verbally abused.

We understand that there may be frustrating delays on collection days, to avoid this please consider taking alternative routes to avoid localised congestion. You can help collections run smoothly by remaining courteous and patient with collection staff, particularly when driving a vehicle.

Whilst we acknowledge that the majority of our residents act responsibly and respectfully we will not tolerate any form of aggression to the crews who have worked so hard to keep this service functioning since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Test and Trace

The Council’s Environmental Health Team is part of the national Test and Trace response, working in partnership with Essex County Council (ECC) and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council (SBC).

https://www.rochford.gov.uk/joint-news-release-essex-county-council-and-southend-sea-borough-council-partnership

The local contact service will be responsible for identifying, containing and reducing the spread of Covid-19 at the local level.  It will use testing data from Public Health England (PHE) to track and trace known connections of positive cases and provide them with advice and guidance.

ECC and SBC have commissioned Provide CIC to deliver the contract tracing service, who will work alongside specialist Public Health colleagues in both organisations, as well as Environmental Health Officers.

Businesses and organisations within the Rochford district must report where there has been any confirmed positive cases within their workplaces. You can find out more information here: https://www.rochford.gov.uk/district-businesses-help-national-test-and-trace-operation

Alongside the contract tracing system ECC and SBC are finalising their own outbreak control plans, working with regional Public Health England colleagues, local NHS and other stakeholders. The outbreak control plan, as well as including information around the contract tracing system, will include processes and plans for identifying and containing potential outbreaks. The plan will be published once  approved by the Local Outbreak Engagement board, made up of Public Health specialists and local elected members.

Updates from Essex County Council

https://www.rochford.gov.uk/making-essex-safer-greener-and-healthier-%E2%80%93-essex-county-council-publishes-new-covid-19-recovery

Essex County Council has published a new COVID-19 Recovery Transport Plan. Working with local councils and other organisations, Essex County Council has been introducing improvements and expansion to the current cycling and walking urban environment, changing parts of the road network and extending safe, accessible areas in towns.

 

Updates from Government

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/changes-to-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Find out how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing. The guidance is updated to say you can now submit claims for periods starting on or after 1 July.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/flexible-furlough-scheme-starts-today?utm_source=ce4c7158-66cd-4df7-81f3-78de143a9580&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

Flexible furlough scheme started 1 July to enable businesses to bring furloughed employees back to work part time.

Phased return of sport and recreation

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation

Guidance for the public, providers of outdoor sport facilities, elite athletes, personal trainers and coaches on the phased return of sport and recreation has been updated to include new guidance from 4 July.

Education

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

Information for parents and carers about the opening of early years providers, schools and colleges, safety in schools, attendance, transport, school meals and exams has been updated to include content on summer provision, school uniform and a package of support worth £1billion to support pupils to catch up. We have updated content on school meals and the Covid Summer Food Fund.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ofqual-publishes-more-details-on-appeals-and-confirms-autumn-exam-arrangements

Ofqual publishes more details on appeals and confirms autumn exam arrangements for appeals this summer and decisions on GCSE, AS and A level autumn exams.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-parents-and-carers-of-children-attending-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

Guidance for parents and carers of children attending community activities, holiday or after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school settings.

Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-multi-purpose-community-facilities

Guidance for those managing community centres, village halls and other community facilities on safely re-opening multi-purpose buildings

Future Fund

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/more-firms-can-now-benefit-from-the-future-fund

More start-ups and innovative firms will be able to apply for investment from the Government’s Future Fund from Tuesday 30 June.

International travel

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/easing-coronavirus-health-measures-at-the-uk-border

Guidance exempting passengers from self-isolation requirements in certain circumstances on arrival in the UK has been published.

Driving

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/mandatory-mot-testing-to-be-reintroduced-from-1-august

Mandatory MOT testing to be reintroduced from 1 August.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-cars-vans-and-motorcycles-due-from-30-march-2020

Added information on what to do if your MOT is due on or after 1 August 2020.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/driving-lessons-theory-tests-and-driving-tests-to-restart-in-england

Driving lessons and theory tests will restart on Saturday 4 July 2020 in England, and car driving tests will restart from Wednesday 22 July 2020.

NHS advice

Everyone is reminded to follow the NHS advice which includes preventative measures about social distancing. Please also remember to keep your hands clean, especially if you have been outside e.g. at the supermarket or using an ATM.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Please use our website!

Don’t forget a lot of useful content is available via our website and this will be updated regularly, so www.rochford.gov.uk is the best place to check first and we have a dedicated section at www.rochford.gov.uk/coronavirus. Our other media channels are also good sources of information - www.rochford.gov.uk/tellmemore, Facebook:  Rochford District Council, Instagram @RochfordDC and Twitter @RochfordDC

We would like to reassure everyone that we are working closely with our partners from across Essex in the NHS, emergency services, county council and other local authorities, ensuring that well-practiced plans are put into place.

Updates

The council is monitoring Government guidance daily and will be issuing communications to staff, members and the public regularly, so please watch our website, sign up for e-mail alerts or go to our social media channels to keep up-to-date with the latest information.