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National lockdown: Stay at Home
Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country.
Find out what you can and cannot do below:
The Latest Guidance and Advice, announced Monday 4th January 2021.https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
Announced on November 23rd, the UK Government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan presents a programme for suppressing the virus, protecting the NHS and the vulnerable, keeping education and the economy going and providing a route back to normality. The plan sets out the Government’s approach to ending the national restrictions on 2 December.
On 2 December, across all of England, regardless of tier:
- The stay at home requirement will end, with travel being permitted again subject to guidance in each tier.
- Shops, personal care, gyms and the wider leisure sector will reopen.
- Collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume.
- People will no longer be limited to seeing only one other person in outdoor public spaces – the rule of 6 will now apply outdoors as it did in the previous set of tiers.
However, the virus is still present and if we aren’t careful it could quickly get out of control again before vaccines and community testing can have an effect. That would put in jeopardy the progress the country has made and once again risk intolerable pressure on the NHS and squeezing out non-Covid patients from vital operations.
This is why, on 2 December, England will move back into a regional, tiered approach see here for details…
It is so important to look after your mental and physical health and overall wellbeing during these difficult times.
For other guidance on how to protect yourself and others, and actions to take if you think you may have contracted the virus, see the guidance here.
This guidance will be updated in line with the changing situation.
We are fortunate here in our commuinity because spending time in ‘green spaces’ can benefit both our mental and physical wellbeing, however it is not always accessible to us all. Below is a list of activities you can consider to help mental health and wellbeing.
What can help your mental health and wellbeing
Think about your new daily routine. Life is changing for us all for a while and you will have experienced some disruption to your normal routine. Think about how you can adapt and create positive new routines – try to engage in useful activities (such as cleaning, cooking or exercise) or meaningful activities (such as reading or being in touch with friends). You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or week.
Consider how to connect with others. Maintaining relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. If you can’t meet in person, think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family via telephone, video calls or social media instead – whether it’s people you normally see often or connecting with old friends.
Help and support others. Think about how you could help those around you – it could make a big difference to them and can make you feel better too. It is important to listen to and accept other people’s concerns, worries or behaviours. Could you message a friend or family member nearby? Are there community groups that you could join to support others locally? Remember it’s important to do this in line with guidance on COVID-19 to keep yourself and everyone safe.
Talk about your worries. It is quite common to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Remember that this is a difficult time for everyone and sharing with family and friends how you are feeling and the things you are doing to cope can help them too. If you don’t feel able to do that, there are people you can speak to via NHS recommended helplines.
Look after your physical wellbeing. Your physical health has a big impact on how you are feeling emotionally and mentally. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which, in turn, can make you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals and drink enough water. One You has a lot of advice and ideas for healthy meals you can cook at home.
Where possible, exercise at home and/or outside as often as you wish. If you can’t exercise outside, you can find free, easy 10-minute workouts from Public Health England (PHE) or other exercise videos to try at home on the NHS Fitness Studio. Sport England also has good tips for keeping active at home.
If you are able to go outside, there are lots of easy ways to get moving like walking or gardening. You can also exercise and use outdoor sports courts or facilities, such as a tennis or basketball court or golf course.
Seek advice and support if you smoke or use drugs or alcohol. Smoking or using drugs or alcohol to cope in times of stress and disruption can make things worse, including your mental health. NHS Smokefree provides information and advice on quitting smoking and One You has resources to help with cutting back on alcohol. You can also call Drinkline for free on 0300 123 1110 for advice and support and Down Your Drink provides interactive web-based support to help people to drink more safely. If you are concerned about drugs use, FRANK offers information and advice, including where to get help, and has a free advice line – 0300 123 6600. You can also reach Marijuana Anonymous and participate in their weekly online meetings to receive support from other peers.
Look after your sleep. Feeling anxious or worried can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically, so it’s important to get enough.
Try to maintain regular sleeping patterns and keep good sleep hygiene practices, including avoiding screens before bed, cutting back on caffeine and creating a restful environment. The Every Mind Matters sleep page provides practical advice on how to improve your sleep.
Try to manage difficult feelings. Many people find the news about COVID-19 concerning. However, some people may experience such intense anxiety that it becomes a problem. Try to focus on the things you can control, such as managing your media and information intake – 24-hour news and constant social media updates can make you more worried. If it is affecting you, try to limit the time you spend watching, reading, or listening to media coverage of the outbreak. It may help to only check the news at set times or limiting yourself to checking a couple of times a day.
It is okay to acknowledge some things that are outside of your control right now. The Every Mind Matters page on anxiety and NHS mental wellbeing audio guides provide further information on how to manage anxiety.
Get the facts. Gather high-quality information that will help you to accurately determine your own or other people’s risk of contracting COVID-19 so that you can take reasonable precautions. Find a credible source you can trust such as GOV.UK, or the NHS website, and fact-check information you get from newsfeeds, social media or other people.
Think about how inaccurate information could affect others too. Try not to share information without fact-checking with credible sources.
Do things you enjoy. When you are anxious, lonely or low, you may do things that you usually enjoy less often or not at all. Focusing on your favourite hobby, learning something new or simply taking time to relax indoors or outdoors (in line with the guidance) should give you some relief from anxious thoughts and feelings and can boost your mood.
If you can’t do the things you normally enjoy because you are staying at home, try to think about how you could adapt them, or try something new. There are lots of free tutorials and courses online and people are coming up with innovative online solutions, such as online pub quizzes and streamed live music concerts.
Set goals. Setting goals and achieving them gives a sense of control and purpose. Think about things you want or need to do that you can still do at home, such as watching a film, reading a book or learning something online.
Keep your mind active. This can help you feel in control and less low or worried. Read, write, play games, do crossword puzzles, sudokus, jigsaws or drawing and painting, whatever works best for you.
Take time to relax and focus on the present. This can help with difficult emotions, worries about the future and generally make you feel better. Relaxation techniques can also help some people to deal with feelings of anxiety. For useful resources, see Every Mind Matters and the NHS mindfulness page.
If you can, get outside. If you can’t, bring nature in. Spending time in green spaces can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. You can spend time outside for recreation or travel to outdoor publicly accessible open spaces, irrespective of distance. You can also sit and rest outside if you want to. If you can’t go outside, you can try to still get these positive effects by spending time with the windows open to let in fresh air, arranging space to sit and see a nice view (if possible) and get some natural sunlight, or get out into the garden if you can.
As winter approaches, we’ll be spending more time indoors. This will increase the risk of coronavirus spreading.
The following reconstructions of everyday environments show why washing hands regularly, wearing a face covering and keeping at least 2m apart is vital in controlling the spread.
Coronavirus can live for more than 24 hours indoors.
You could pick up or pass on the virus by touching a contaminated surface.
Washing your hands with soap and water, or using hand sanitiser, regularly throughout the day will reduce the risk of catching or passing it on.
Coronavirus can be found in tiny droplets coming out of your nose and mouth.
Wearing a face covering over your nose and mouth reduces the spread of droplets carrying the virus. This means if you have it, you’re less likely to pass it on to others.
Larger droplets can land on other people or on surfaces they touch. Spreading the virus through droplets is most likely to happen when you are less than 2m apart.
Smaller droplets called aerosols can stay in the air for some time, especially if there is no ventilation.
So when you are with people not from your household, you must keep at least 2m apart.
The risk of spreading the virus through smaller droplets is much less outdoors, where there is more ventilation.
Wash your hands, cover your face, make space. These are the three most effective ways we can all control the spread of the virus.
Remember if you have any coronavirus symptoms; high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change in your sense of taste or smell, get a free test by calling 119 or visiting NHS.uk.
Together, we will control the virus and stop the spread.
Don’t forget, Hands, Face, Space.
The new NHS COVID-19 app, now available to download for free in England and Wales, is the fastest way to see if you’re at risk from coronavirus. The faster you know, the quicker you can alert and protect your loved ones and community.
The app has a number of tools to protect you, including contact tracing, local area alerts and venue check-in. It uses proven technology from Apple and Google, designed to protect every user’s privacy. Read more about how we protect your data and privacy.
Catching Up with the main news storiestoday as we approach a critical week ahead.
Following the announcement from the Deputy Chief Medical Officer on October 11th the announncements of the week ahead may have an impact on our friends and family.
Keep up to date with these news sites and the Gov.uk News and Communications web pages, which you can access here.
Wearing a face covering will become mandatory in shops and supermarkets in England from 24 July.
Coronavirus: A user’s guide to wearing a face mask to the shops
The BBC have made a simple guide to how this effects you. Click on the link here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-53395513?SThisFB
Coronavirus: What are the rules for face masks or face coverings?
This next BBC article explains how this effects you. Soon there will be almost no excuse for not wearing a face mask while out shopping in England – covering your face will be as essential as remembering your cash or bank card.
Click on the link here to access the complete article from the BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51205344
Face coverings: when to wear one and how to make your own
This official Gov.uk link explains what face coverings are, their role in reducing the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19), the settings in which they are recommended, and how they should be safely used and stored. This information is based on current scientific evidence (as at 14 July 2020) and is subject to change.
This information relates to the use of face coverings in public spaces where social distancing is not always possible. It is important to follow all the other government advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) including staying safe outside your home.
The evidence is clear that people should wear masks to reduce virus transmission and protect themselves, with most countries recommending the public to wear them.Oxford COVID-19 study: face masks and coverings work – act now
Click on the image or link below to access a simple guide to making a face covering.
If you would like more detailed information on how to make a face covering and to discover local initiatives which you might like to get involved in then please visit the Big Community Sew website whcih is packed with useful and inpirational information, including instructions, patterns and help, plus detailed videos and help guides.
‘The NHS in Dorset would like to thank you for everything you are doing to support our staff during the global coronavirus pandemic. We are incredibly proud of all that our amazing NHS staff have achieved with the help and support of other key workers’Thank you from your local NHS in Dorset
In the letter from NHS in Dorset (which you can download by clicking on the button below). They share with us an update on the way they’re having to deliver local health services, explaining that it will need to continue to be different and that returning services quickly to how they ran before this pandemic is not possible.
It will take time, and as we know coronavirus is likely to be with us for a while.
Download the letter.
1. When am I allowed to leave the house?
You should only leave the house for very limited purposes:
- shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
- one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
- any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home
2. Can I go to the dentist, my GP or another medical appointment?
You can leave home for medical appointments.
GP practices may postpone non-urgent health checks or routine appointments.
You should go to the doctor if there is an essential medical need.
3. Can I walk my dog / look after my horse?
Yes – provided it is alone or with members of your household.
People must stay at home as much as possible to reduce the spread of the virus. But you can also still go outside once a day for a walk, run, cycle. When doing this you must minimise the time you are out of your home and stay at least two metres away from anyone else that isn’t from your household.
4. Should I stay at home or go to work?
You may travel for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.
Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if they operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front line services such as train and bus drivers.
Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.
5. I’m not a critical worker and I can’t work from home. What should I do?
If you cannot work from home then you can still travel to work. This is consistent with the Chief Medical Officer’s advice.
Critical workers are those who can still take their children to school or childcare. This critical worker definition does not affect whether or not you can travel to work – if you are not a critical worker, you may still travel to work provided you cannot work from home.
Anyone who has symptoms, or is in a household where someone has symptoms, should not leave their house to go to work, and should self-isolate.
You may be able to get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from your employer for the full period of isolation. To find out if you qualify for SSP, you should talk to your employer, or visit the SSP page for more information.
6. How can I find out if my work is essential or not?
The government is not saying only people doing “essential” work can go to work. Anyone who cannot work from home can still go to work.
Separately, there is a list of critical workers who can still take their children to school or childcare. Provision has been prioritised for these workers.
Every worker – whether critical or not – should work from home if they can but may otherwise travel to work.
We have also asked certain businesses where people gather, such as pubs and most shops, to close. Separate guidance has been published on this.
7. Can I see my friends?
We must all stay away from each other to stop spreading the virus, and that means you should not be meeting friends unless you live in the same household.
Instead, you could keep in touch with your friends using phone or video calls.
8. Can I visit elderly relatives?
No, you should not be visiting family members who do not live in your home.
You should keep in touch with them using phone or video calls.
Where your relatives are elderly or vulnerable, you may leave your house to help them, for example by dropping shopping or medication at their door. You can also help them to order online.
9. Can I go out to help a vulnerable person?
You can only provide support to vulnerable people if you fulfil all of the conditions below:
- you are well and have no symptoms like a cough or high temperature and nobody in your household does
- you are under 70
- you are not pregnant
- you do not have any long-term health conditions that make you vulnerable to coronavirus
If the answer is yes to everything above, you may leave your house to provide care or to help a vulnerable person, following the advice set out here.
When outside the home, you should stay at least two metres away from others wherever possible.
We have seen an incredible effort across the country already, and we’re hugely grateful to those who support the vulnerable in their communities by volunteering day-to-day.
10. My boss is forcing me to go to work but I’m scared of coronavirus. What should I do?
Employers must make all efforts to help people to work from home where possible, as this will help limit the spread of the virus by reducing the amount of contact between people.
In some circumstances this may be impossible – this would apply to those working for a business or organisation that we have not asked to close and requires them to travel and be at work, such as train or bus drivers, construction workers, restaurant workers handling deliveries or those on the frontline like NHS workers.
For these workers who need to be at work, do not have symptoms or live with anyone who has symptoms, and are not vulnerable people, we have outlined clear guidance for employers to help protect workers.
11. I can’t go to work because I need to look after my child, but my boss is threatening to sack me if I don’t. What should I do?
We would urge employers to take socially responsible decisions and listen to the concerns of their workforce – particularly when they have childcare responsibilities.
Employers and employees should come to an agreement about these arrangements.
If individuals need advice they should approach ACAS where they can get impartial advice about in-work disputes.
12. Can I move house?
Homebuyers and renters should, where possible, delay moving to a new house while measures are in place to fight coronavirus.
If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and the parties are unable to reach an agreement to delay, people must follow advice on staying away from others to minimise the spread of the virus.
13. Can I go to the park?
You can still go to the park for outdoor exercise once a day but only alone or with members of your household, not in groups.
Communal places within parks such as sports courts, playgrounds and outdoor gyms have been closed to protect everyone’s health.
We ask that households use parks responsibly and keep 2 metres apart from others at all times.
Unless you are with members of your household, gatherings of more than two people in parks and other public spaces have been banned. The police have the powers to disperse gatherings and issue fines if necessary.
14. Can I drive to a national park or other green space to walk?
We advise you to stay local and use open spaces near to your home where possible – do not travel unnecessarily.
You can still go to the park for outdoor exercise once a day but only by yourself or within your household, not in groups.
We ask you to keep 2 metres apart from others outside your household at all times when outdoors.
15. Can I exercise more than once a day if I need to due to a significant health condition?
You can leave your home for medical need. If you (or a person in your care) have a specific health condition that requires you to leave the home to maintain your health – including if that involves travel beyond your local area – then you can do so. This could, for example, include where individuals with learning disabilities or autism require specific exercise in an open space two or three times each day – ideally in line with a care plan agreed with a medical professional.
Even in such cases, in order to reduce the spread of infection and protect those exercising, travel outside of the home should be limited, as close to your local area as possible, and you should remain at least 2 metres apart from anyone who is not a member of your household or a carer at all times.
16. What will happen to me if I break the rules?
We appreciate all the effort people are putting into containing the spread of coronavirus which will help protect our NHS and save lives.
However, if you leave your home or gather in public for any reason other than those specified, the police may:
- instruct you to go home, leave an area or disperse
- instruct you to take steps to stop your children breaking these rules if they have already done so
- take you home – or arrest you – if you do not follow their instructions or where they deem it necessary
- issue a fine (fixed penalty notice) of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days.
- issue a fine (fixed penalty notice) of £120 for second time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence
Individuals who do not pay their fine could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.