New restrictions in response to a rise in Covid-19 cases

The Government this week introduced new restrictions in England to help tackle the rise in Covid-19 cases across the country.

They include:

  • workers should work from home where possible
  • all pubs, bars and restaurants must be table service only and must close at 10pm from Thursday 24 September
  • the requirement to wear a face covering has now extended to staff in retail, staff in hospitality and passengers in taxis
  • weddings are now limited to 15 people, funerals remain at a limit of 30 people

Changes have also been made to the exemptions list for the rule of 6.

You can find full details of the changes using the links below:

New restrictions announced on 22 September 2020

Meeting with others safely

Coronavirus FAQs: What you can and cannot do

In Worcestershire we are now starting to see the increasing number of cases of Covid-19 lead to a rise in hospital admissions.

Please do everything you can to play your part in reducing the spread of this virus.

Cllr Bradley Thomas, Leader of Wychavon District Council, made an appeal this week to residents on our social media channels.

Watch Cllr Thomas’ appeal to residents

Protect your loved ones with the NHS Covid-19 app

The NHS Covid-19 app is now available to anyone aged 16 or over who lives in England or Wales.

It is the fastest way to find out if you are at risk of the virus, so you can take action to protect you and your loved ones.

The app has several features:

  • Trace: find out when you’ve been near other app users who have tested positive for coronavirus.
  • Alert: lets you know the level of coronavirus risk in your postcode district.
  • Check-in: get alerted if you’ve visited a venue where you may have come into contact with coronavirus, using a simple QR code scanner. No more form filling.
  • Symptoms: check if you have coronavirus symptoms and see if you need to order a test.
  • Test: helps you order a test if you need to.
  • Isolate: keep track of your self-isolation countdown and access relevant advice.

If someone you have been near to tests positive for Covid-19, NHS doctors and scientists will use an algorithm to work out how close you need to be to someone to be at risk of the virus. A random unique ID will then be used to alert other app users so they can self-isolate immediately and get a test.

The app will help the NHS understand if the virus is spreading in a particular area, so local authorities can respond quickly to stop it spreading further and save lives.

The app does this while protecting a user’s anonymity. Nobody, including the government, will know who or where someone is.

Everyone you love is on your phone. Now your phone can help protect them.

Use the links below to find out more about the app and download it from the App Store and Google Play. Some older devices may not be able to run the app.

Watch the NHS Covid-19 app explainer video

Introducing the NHS Covid-19 app

NHS Covid-19 app privacy FAQs

Factsheet for parents and carers

£500 self-isolation support payment

From 28 September, it will be a legal requirement to self-isolate if you are told to do so by NHS Test and Trace. The Government has introduced a £500 support payment to help people on low incomes who have to self-isolate. We will be responsible for administering these.

To qualify for the payment, you will need to meet all of the criteria below:

  • you have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
  • you are employed or self-employed
  • you cannot work from home and will lose income as a result
  • you are claiming at least one of the following benefits: Universal Credit, Working Tax Credits, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit

Although people will be eligible for payments from 28 September, we are still awaiting the full guidance from the Government on how to implement the scheme. We have until 12 October to get the scheme fully up and running. People will be eligible for a back-dated payment.

We are temporarily asking anyone who believes they may qualify for the new payment to give us their contact details using a simple form on our website. We will then call you back to ask you to provide your supporting evidence and arrange to make payment.

This form will be available from Monday, 28 September 2020 at

Advice on self-isolating

It is really important if you develop symptoms of Covid-19 that you self-isolate and get a test. Even if your symptoms are mild and you feel okay, you must self-isolate.

There are other circumstances when you may be told to self-isolate even if you don’t have symptoms.

The links below provide advice on when and how to self-isolate.

If you need help getting food or medicines while self-isolating, then the Worcestershire Here 2 Help service is available to you.

You can register for help on the Worcestershire Here 2 Help website.

If you have to self-isolate and can work from home, then please talk to your employer about this.

If you have to self-isolate and cannot work from home, you may qualify for the new £500 support payment.

If you don’t qualify for that, then you may be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay, Universal Credit or other benefits.

See financial support if you cannot work because of coronavirus for more information.

Access to testing

We know there are difficulties getting access to a test currently. This is a national issue and the Government is working on increasing capacity.

If you need a test, our advice is to please keep trying as slots do become free throughout the day. You can book a test online.

Remember, you only need to get tested if you have symptoms of Covid-19. These are:

a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Please do not get a test if you do not have symptoms of Covid-19, unless you are officially told to do so.

Boots has produced a useful chart to help you recognise the difference between symptoms of a cold, flu and Covid-19.

New Job Support Scheme announced

The Government has announced a new Job Support scheme to help protect viable jobs in businesses facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19.

The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for six months.

Under the scheme, your company will continue to pay you for the time you work. The cost of hours not worked, will be split between your employer, the Government (through wage support) and you, by way of a wage reduction.

Find out more about the Job Support Scheme.

New employment support guide

Worcestershire County Council has launched a new Entry to Employment Services guide, to help those who have lost their job during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The guide showcases the support that is available across the county for those who have experienced a major career change over the last few months. There are 33 services included in the guide, and the Skills 4 Worcestershire webpage has been re-designed to try and make taking that next step as easy as possible.

Download the Entry to Employment Services guide.

Great British Week of Sport

This week is the first ever Great British Week of Sport, an initiative set up by UK active, to inspire the nation to celebrate the power that sport, and activity has on our mental, physical and social wellbeing.

We also know that losing weight and being active can help protect you against Covid-19.

Support to help you get active:

Download the Couch 2 5K or active 10 apps 

Use the activity finder to find weekly sporting activities near you

Workout from the comfort of your own home using the NHS online fitness studio

You can find all this and more on the Better Health website.

Also, check out what’s on offer from our leisure centre operator Wychavon Leisure.

New campaign to support mental health of your young loved ones

The past few months have been hard on everyone, including children and young people. But there are lots of things we can do to support them at this time.

Better Health – Every Mind Matters will help you find what’s right for your children or young loved ones – whether it’s listening to them talk about the challenges they’re facing or helping them develop skills to cope with their emotions.

Find out more on the Every Mind Matters website

Is your business ready for the new NHS Covid-19 app?

From Thursday (24 September 2020) the NHS Covid-19 contract tracing app will be launched. This is part of the test and trace service and will be important in helping control the spread of coronavirus and protecting each other.

All businesses in the following sectors must by law display a QR code poster from 24 September:

  • Hospitality
  • Leisure and tourism
  • Close contact services
  • Places of worship
  • Local authority venues

Businesses in these sectors are also legally required to hold a log of customers visiting their premises, for those who do not want to check in using the QR code or do not have access to a smartphone or the app.

If your business operates across more than one venue, you will need to download more than one QR code poster. Please do not share the same QR code between different venues.

If your business isn’t legally required to display a poster, but there is an area where people may gather close together for 15 minutes or more, it is advised you should display a poster.

If you have a large venue, you may wish to consider putting up the same QR poster in different areas or even different QR code posters for different parts of your venue.

Community organisations with a physical location open to the public, and anyone holding an event in a physical location, should also download a QR poster.

Businesses found breaking the law face a fine of up to £1,000 and up to £4,000 for repeat offenders.

Getting a QR code for your venue is quick and easy from the Government’s website.

Get a QR code for your business or venue

Further information

A guide to creating a QR code for your venue

Tips for displaying your QR poster

An overview of how the NHS Covid-19 app works

Latest Announcement by the Prime Minister

The PM announced yesterday that where possible people should work from home.

From Thursday (24 September) pubs and other hospitality businesses should provide table service only and will be required to close by 10pm along with Takeaway counters.

Face Coverings should be worn by staff working in retail, taxis and inside hospitality businesses.

From Monday there will be a limit of 15 people at weddings although 30 may attend funerals and the rule of six will apply to adult indoor team sports.

The PM also said that they would be unable to reopen conferences and large sporting events from 1st October as originally hoped and they would seek to support businesses affected by this.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do

The information available to businesses is changing regularly. We will continue to actively provide a regular information service as soon as we receive information.

Businesses can receive these updates by signing up to our business e-newsletter

Act now, coronavirus cases are rising

Coronavirus cases are rising

Cases of Coronavirus are rising across Wychavon, as well as other parts of Worcestershire.

Although we are still some way off the point where full local lockdown restrictions are needed, Worcestershire Public Health is monitoring the situation. An outbreak control plan is in place and action will be taken, if necessary, to protect residents.

It is really important we all keep playing our part to protect ourselves and each other.

Please make sure you are following social distancing guidelines at all times and remember:

Hands – wash them regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser

Face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet

Space – Stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)

If you have symptoms you should self-isolate immediately and book a free test online or call 119.

You should also self-isolate if you are asked to do so by NHS Test and Trace.

Read the guidance on how to self-isolate with a possible coronavirus infection

Read the Coronavirus FAQs to find out what you currently can and cannot do

Care homes across Wychavon closed to visitors

Care homes across Wychavon have been closed to all but essential visitors.

This is a precaution to protect vulnerable residents following a rise in Covid-19 cases across Wychavon.

Dr Kathryn Cobain, Director for Public Health for Worcestershire said: “The decision to stop care home visits is not one we have taken lightly. I appreciate this will cause upset and frustration for some of our residents and I recognise this is very difficult for families.

“Looking at the rising numbers of cases in the district, we are concerned about the welfare of our most vulnerable and the wider community. I need to protect those at risk and prevent the further spread of Covid-19.

“We will review this on a daily basis and will lift these restrictions when we see numbers falling again. This is a sensible precautionary measure, it is better to act now than later.”

Read the full announcement on the closure of care homes to visitors

Remember the rule of 6

From Monday, 14 September in England, you cannot meet socially, indoors or outdoors, in groups of more than six people.

Read the full guidance on changes to social distancing rules