COVID-19 Advice for Constituents

The coronavirus outbreak is the biggest public health emergency in a generation. These are unprecedented times for everyone, so to help, I will update this page with the latest advice from the Government and NHS.

Should you have any questions, or if I can help then please do get in touch. My office continues to support and assist constituents with all enquiries and casework, and I am carrying out daily phone surgeries for the most urgent cases.

If you have any questions please contact me on laura.trott.mp@parliament.uk , or by calling us on 020 7219 4964.

 

WHAT IS THE CURRENT GUIDANCE?

The most important thing every one of us must do is remember the basics; wash our hands, wear face coverings, keep two metres apart (or one metre with extra precautions) and get a test in response to symptoms. It is vital people do not slip back into old habits. 

FROM MONDAY 14th SEPTEMBER:

  • People in England must no longer meet socially in groups of more than six. If they do, they will be breaking the law.
  • This will apply in any setting, indoors or outdoors, at home or in the pub. 
  • The ban will be set out in law and enforced by the police; anyone breaking the rules risks being dispersed, fined and possibly arrested. 
  • This measure replaces both the previous ban on gathering of more than 30, and the guidance which allowed 2 households to meet indoors.
  • There will be some limited exemptions; for example, if a single household or support bubble is larger than 6, they can still gather. 
  • COVID-19 Secure venues like places of worship, gyms, restaurants and hospitality venues can still hold more than six people in total, however within those venues, there must not be individual groups larger than six, and groups must not mix socially or form larger groups. 
  • Education and work settings and unaffected. 
  • COVID-19 Secure weddings and funerals can go ahead, up to a limit of 30 people, and organised sport will still be able to proceed. 

 

FACE COVERINGS

Face coverings are mandatory on public transport, NHS settings, and shops and supermarkets.

Children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt.

The liability for wearing a face covering lies with the individual.

Should an individual without an exemption refuse to wear a face covering, a shop can refuse them entry and can call the police if people refuse to comply, the police have the formal enforcement powers and can issue a fine of up to £100.

Guidance for those making face coverings at home can be viewed here.

A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used as part of personal protective equipment by healthcare and other workers; these should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace such as health and care workers and those in industrial settings like those exposed to dust hazards.

 

WHAT BUSINESS ARE ABLE TO REOPEN?

Many businesses and venues are now permitted to reopen and are expected to follow COVID-19 Secure guidelines, including:

  • hotels, hostels, bed and breakfast accommodation, holiday apartments or homes, cottages or bungalows, campsites, caravan parks or boarding houses
  • places of worship
  • libraries
  • community centres
  • restaurants, cafes, workplace canteens, bars, pubs that are self-contained and can be accessed from the outside
  • hair salons and barbers, including mobile businesses
  • cinemas
  • theatres and concert halls
  • funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities such as go-karting, laser tag and paintballing
  • outdoor gyms and playgrounds
  • museums and galleries
  • bingo halls
  • outdoor skating rinks
  • amusement arcades and other entertainment centres, such as snooker halls
  • model villages
  • social clubs
  • indoor attractions at aquariums, zoos, safari parks, farms, wildlife centres and any place where animals are exhibited to the public as an attraction
  • indoor and outdoor areas of visitor attractions including, gardens, heritage sites, film studios and landmarks
  • outdoor swimming pools
  • outdoor water parks
  • nail bars and salons
  • tanning booths and salons
  • spas, and beauty salons
  • massage parlours
  • tattoo parlours
  • body piercing services
  • bowling, skating rinks and casinos will be 
  • Close contact services such as eyebrow threading or make-up application,
  • Indoor performances to a live audience, subject to the success of pilots;
  • Small wedding receptions - sit-down meals for no more than 30 people, subject to COVID-19 Secure guidelines;

High risk activities and settings such as nightclubs are to remain shut, as Government have assessed that they cannot yet be made sufficiently COVID-19 Secure. See a full list of businesses that will need to remain closed.

 

SCHOOLS

All children and young people, in all year groups, have now returned to school and college full time.

The prevalence of coronavirus (COVID-19) has decreased since schools and colleges restricted their opening to most pupils in March. The NHS Test and Trace system is up and running and we understand more about the measures that need to be in place to create safer environments.

The scientific evidence shows that coronavirus (COVID-19) presents a much lower risk to children than adults of becoming severely ill. There is no evidence that children transmit the disease any more than adults. However, there will still be risks while coronavirus (COVID-19) remains in the community.

To manage the risks, things will be a bit different in the new term. We have asked nurseries, childminders, schools and colleges to put in place a range of protective measures to help reduce the risks.

Your child’s nursery, childminder, school or college will be able to give you more information about the changes they have made.

Local authorities and schools have a range of legal powers to enforce attendance if a child or young person misses school without a valid reason.

There is not a corresponding legal duty for post-16 education but if a young person fails to attend, their college may believe they have left the course.

If you have concerns about your child returning to school or college because you consider they may have other risk factors, you should discuss these with your school or college. They should be able to explain ways they are changing things to reduce risks. There are resources to support you with these conversations, including this leaflet on returning to school after a period of absence.

 

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Anybody may use public transport, however please remember to follow the social distancing guidelines, and use alternatives (such as walking and cycling) where possible.

You should not travel at all if you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, are self-isolating as a result of coronavirus symptoms or sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms, are clinically extremely vulnerable and cannot shield during your journey or have been advised by the NHS test and trace service that you should self-isolate.

It is a legal requirement to wear a face covering on public transport. This is helping to ensure that transport is as safe as possible as more people begin to return to work and go shopping. Transport operators will enforce this requirement, and the police can also do so. This will mean you can be refused travel if you don’t comply and could be fined. You should also be prepared to remove your face covering if asked to do so by police officers and staff for the purposes of identification.

 

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

Coronavirus regulations mean that you must self-isolate for 14 days when you arrive in the UK.

This applies to UK residents and visitors to the UK.

You may not have to self-isolate when you arrive in England, if you are travelling from one of the countries, territories or regions listed. That is because these are either:

  • covered by the travel corridor exemption
  • within the common travel area - Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man
  • British overseas territories

You will need to self-isolate if you visited or made a transit stop in a country or territory that is not on the travel corridor list in the 14 days before you arrive in England.

This applies to all travel to England, by train, ferry, coach, air or any other route.

Travellers should always check the latest FCO travel advice. Travel advice includes information on any health measures in place for visitors to the country or territory. These can include a requirement to self-isolate, quarantine, or undergo testing for COVID-19, or even restrictions on entry.

If the country you are visiting is not on the above list, when you arrive in the UK, you will not be allowed to leave the place you’re staying for the first 14 days you’re in the UK (known as ‘self-isolating’). This is because it can take up to 14 days for coronavirus symptoms to appear. You should follow separate advice if you will self-isolate in:

Before you travel, you should provide your journey, contact details and the address where you will self-isolate. You will be able to complete the public health passenger locator form 48 hours before you arrive. You must present these details on your arrival in England.

You may be refused permission to enter the UK (if you are not a British citizen), or fined if you do not to provide your contact details or do not self-isolate when you arrive in the UK.

In England, if you do not self-isolate, you can be fined £1,000. If you do not provide an accurate contact detail declaration – or do not update your contact detail form in the limited circumstances where you need to move to another place to self-isolate – you can be fined up to £3,200.

 

HELPFUL LINKS

Latest Government guidance on the COVID-19 response can be found in in full here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Please visit the below link for a helpful Q&A: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

For the latest NHS guidance visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/check-if-you-have-coronavirus-symptoms/

There is a Government Business Support Helpline for any queries: 0300 456 3565

Sevenoaks District Council, Kent County Council, Kent & Medway Growth Hub and other local authorities have also launched a dedicated business support line for Coronavirus-related issues, which is available Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 6pm. If you have any questions please call 03333 602 300.