Coronavirus: Worcestershire to move into Tier 3


The Government announced Worcestershire will move into Tier 3 (very high risk) of national restrictions from 31 December 2020.

The rules for a Tier 3 area include:

  • No mixing of households, apart from support bubbles, indoors or in private gardens apart from support bubbles. Maximum of six can meet outdoors in some outdoor public spaces.
  • Hospitality settings, such as bars, pubs, cafes, restaurants, and social clubs must close except for takeaway, delivery and click and collect services.
  • Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, holiday lets and guest houses must close.
  • Entertainment venues must close.
  • You should stay local and avoid travelling outside of your local area.

Read the full list of coronavirus restrictions in a Tier 3 area.

Read an update from Dr Kathryn Cobain, Director for Public Health for Worcestershire.

Coronavirus Christmas update

Changes to Christmas bubbles


The Prime Minister has announced changes to the rules on forming Christmas bubbles. This is in response to rising case numbers and the discovery of a new variation of the Covid-19 virus which is more easily spread.

You are now only allowed to form a Christmas bubble, with up to two other households, on Christmas Day.

This should be considered a maximum and not a target to aim for.

Read the new rules on forming Christmas support bubbles.

At all other times you must follow the rules for Tier 2.

Read more about what you can and cannot do in Tier 2.

Dr Kathryn Cobain, Worcestershire’s Director of Public Health, has issued a Christmas message explaining more about the mutation of the virus and top tips to help you and others stay safe.

Read Dr Cobain’s Christmas message.

One in three cases of coronavirus are transmitted by people who do not have symptoms. That’s why you are urged to act as if you do have the infection and to make sure you follow the rules and do the basics – wash your hands regularly, wear face coverings and keep a safe distance from others.

We know how hard this is for everyone. We thank you for playing your part in helping to keep the infection rate down in our district and protecting others.

Things to do at Christmas

Here are some ideas to help you celebrate with friends and family safely this Christmas.

Take our Spirit of Christmas Trail – a free, fun, activity you can do outdoors

Virtual party games

Worcestershire Quiz questions

Pictures to colour in and fun activities

Support for you

Here to help covid


Unemployment is increasing across our district as a result of the pandemic. We know this is pushing many people into hardship.

If you are struggling financially then the earlier you seek help, the sooner action can be taken to support you.

You can find advice and links to organisations you can contact on our money advice page.

Food, medicines and other support for the vulnerable

If you are a vulnerable person and need help accessing food, medicines or other support then please visit the Worcestershire Here 2 Help website.

We are also working with other organisations to support families in need during the school holidays.

Read more about how we are tackling holiday hunger.

Help for your mental wellbeing

The announcement about changes to Christmas bubbles was a major disappointment for many of us and may have caused upset and difficult feelings.

If you are struggling with your mental health, especially at this time of year, then the mental health charity Mind has some tips and advice to help.

Read Mind’s Christmas and coronavirus mental wellbeing tips

Read government guidance on looking after your health and wellbeing during the pandemic

Worcestershire Healthy Minds supports people aged 16 and over, who are experiencing problems such as stress, anxiety, low mood and depression.

You can also contact your GP for support if you need to.

Help for your physical health

If you are thinking of making 2021 the year you will be more active and get into shape then the NHS Better Health website has lots of support to help you achieve your goal.

Start by taking the how are you quiz and get your free personal health score which will point you in the right direction.

Our leisure centres are open and our leisure operator has gone to great lengths to make sure they are Covid-19 secure so you can get active safely.

Find out more about classes and services offered by leisure centres in our district.

Shop locally and safely with free parking on offer

If you still have last minute gifts to buy then please support your local traders as much as possible.

They have made a massive effort to make their businesses Covid-19 Secure so you can shop safely and with confidence.

If you are not comfortable heading out to your local high street then you can take advantage of their online, click and collect and delivery services.

Read our list of local businesses offering online, delivery and click and collect services.

If you are shopping in person then read our top tips to keep you safe.

Parking is also free in all Wychavon District Council pay and display car parks until 3 January 2021.

Christmas and New Year bin collection changes

We are making changes to our waste and recycling collections over the festive period.

We have also produced some top tips to help you recycle right at Christmas and reduce your waste.

Read more about waste and recycling collection changes over Christmas and New Year. 

Help us support rough sleepers


We need your help to support rough sleepers this Christmas by remembering  see, say, support.

See – if you spot someone sleeping rough.

Say – tell StreetLink what they look like and where they are online at, on the app or call 0300 500 0914.

Support – StreetLink will pass the details to our housing team or outreach service who will go and find the individual and begin working with them to offer help and support.

We have helped 36 people to get off the streets since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sadly, a few people have chosen not to take up the help offered. We continue to work with them and to offer support.

Emergency shelters will be opened on cold nights to make sure people who have chosen to continue to sleep rough have somewhere to go when temperatures fall.

If you want to do more then you are encouraged to donate to local registered charities for the homeless or offer to volunteer your time with them.

If you see a person collapsed on the street you should call the emergency services immediately.

Bird flu outbreak

Public Health England has confirmed an outbreak of bird flu among wild birds in Worcestershire. The risk to public health is low but please do not touch dead or sick birds. If you keep poultry or captive birds, even as pets in your back garden, then you need to take action.

Read more about the bird flu outbreak.

Coronavirus Tier 2 Grant Information

Well this year really has been a ‘perfect storm’ for business with COVID-19, Brexit uncertainty and all the usual business difficulties that can exist. However, it has been heartening to see the great determination and endless creativity of our businesses. I would also like to thank the efforts of our own Economic Regeneration team and Civica in their speedy and efficient support with business grants which I know have been a lifeline for many businesses.

We are desperately aware of how difficult these times are for many and encourage you to attend our business breakfast event on 20 January and maintain dialogue with us and let us know how we can support you. You know, if we can, we will!  It will be through effectively working and supporting each other that we will get through this.

May I wish you as good a Christmas as you can manage, and I really do hope 2021 brings that change and certainty for the best that we all need.

Cllr. Richard Morris.

Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for economic growth and tourism.

Have you applied for the correct grant linked to the recent lockdown and subsequent ‘Tier 2’ status?

There are four different grant schemes.

  1. The Local Restrictions Support Grant. This grant is for businesses who were ordered to close in the November lockdown, and who have a business rates account. Grants are either £1334, £2000 or £3000 and are based on your rateable value.   Please note that you don’t have to pay business rates, but simply have an account. In fact, most small businesses won’t pay business rates because they will be in receipt of small business rates relief.
  2. Tier 2 Local Coronavirus Restrictions Support funding. This is for businesses affected by the Tier 2 status.  There are two grants within this overall category – a ‘closed’ grant, and an ‘open’ one.

The ‘closed’ grant is for a business that has been ordered to close because of Tier 2 status.  This will mainly affect a bar or a pub that doesn’t serve food – sometimes known as a ‘wet’ pub.

The ‘open grant is for a pub, hotel, restaurant, café or other business that has been affected by the Tier 2 rules, but nonetheless can stay open and run the business.  It is anticipated that most businesses meeting these rules will have a business rates account.

  1. Christmas support for ‘wet’ pubs. This is a one off payment of £1000 for pubs that have been ordered to close because of the Tier 2 status.
  2. Additional Restrictions Grant. This grant is for businesses not ordered to close in the November lockdown but nonetheless severely impacted by a loss of custom, and either with or without a business rates account; and those ordered to close, and without a business rates account. Grants are currently based on turnover and are the same level as the Local Restrictions Support Grant, £1334, £2000 or £3000.

All three grant schemes are open for applications until further notice. You may have read that the Additional Restrictions Support Grant deadline is the 20th December.  This has been put back until the end of January.

Applications for each of these three grants can be made here.

So far, Wychavon District Council has made 897 grants from the Local Restrictions Support Grant amounting to £1.35 million, and 167 grants amounting to £283, 000 on the Additional Restrictions Grant. It is hoped that as many Tier 2 and ‘wet’ pub payments as possible will be made before Christmas.

Other business support available

Please check the Government’s website for information about support for business during COVID-19.

Worcestershire Business Central are there to advise local businesses on grant funding and support helping you restart and recover. Please see their website, call them on 01905 677 888 or email

Please also see the Chamber of Commerce Herefordshire and Worcestershire Coronavirus information hub.

Business ratepayers’ breakfast economic recovery and growth

Our business ratepayers’ breakfast is going online in January next year. This important annual business networking meeting will take place via ZOOM on Wednesday 20 January between 8.00 and 9.30 a.m.

The focus will be on how we are helping businesses and our town centres to survive the impact of COVID-19 and grow in 2021.  Hear what grants and support are available to help your business.  Presentations will include updates on business rates for the new financial year, the Council’s budget and our priorities for economic recovery and growth.  Please make a note in your diary and join us on the day.  We’re very sorry that our usual delicious breakfast won’t be available this time, but you’re welcome to bring your own!

To register your attendance please click here.  There is an opportunity for you to submit a question before the event.

EU Exit Business Support Hub

EU Exit Business Support Hub

With only days to go before the December 31 deadline, when the UK stops following EU trading rules, businesses must prepare for the changes ahead. There will be implications for cross-border trade and as such companies need to understand how EU-Exit will affect them.

The Chamber of Commerce Herefordshire and Worcestershire has partnered with Worcestershire County Council to provide a hub of advice and support from a team of international trade experts to help businesses prepare.

Find out about the free programme of EU exit training, one to one advisory sessions, advice on export documentation and customs declarations. Visit the  EU Exit Hub for information on the whole range of EU exit support.

Our new business centre

We promised to build small business units for rent and create a Wychavon business hub to provide support to businesses at key stages of their development, and the project is well under way.

Construction work on five offices on the ground floor of the Civic Centre at Pershore will start in January 2021.  It is anticipated that the centre will be open in April on completion of a twelve-week construction programme. Five high spec offices will be available to rent on flexible terms in a self-contained centre which includes two meeting rooms, a breakout area and kitchenette.

Businesses will have access to the bespoke business advice and grant funding they need to help them during the early stages of their development.

Please contact for more information.

Business units going fast

Ten small business units under construction at Vale Business Park are attracting a lot of interest from potential occupiers.

Steels are up and roofs are being installed on ten new units ranging in size from 2,100 sq. ft. to 5,000 sq. ft. The units which are being constructed in two terraces can be combined, if required, for larger occupiers. The units are due to reach practical completion in April 2021 and are available on either a freehold or leasehold basis. The units, targeted at SME’s, are the first phase of a wider planning consent that includes two further units of 22,500 sq. ft. and 28,200 sq. ft. respectively. For more details and to reserve your unit please click here.

This is one of a number commercial development sites across Wychavon  If you have growth plans and would like advice on development activity please contact Shawn Riley, Inward Investment Manager, Wychavon District Council on 07968 863531 or email

Vale Business Park

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

The information available to businesses is changing regularly. We will continue to provide information as soon as we receive it. If you know of any businesses that would benefit from receiving these updates, please let them know they can sign up to our e-newsletter.

Public Health partners urge people not to touch sick or dead birds

Public Health England (PHE) Midlands and Worcestershire County Council public health colleagues are urging people, including members of voluntary wildlife organisations, not to touch sick or dead wild birds.

The call comes as PHE and the local authority work together after confirmed avian influenza A(H5N8) diagnosed in a number of swans in Evesham and following reports of a growing number of sick and dead swans around the Diglis area of Worcester.

With an increasing number of cases of the infection being seen across the country, on 11 November Defra declared the whole of England as an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ), to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading to poultry and captive birds. This means it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures and from 14 December all poultry and captive birds will need to be housed.

The A(H5N8) strain is highly pathogenic to other birds, however there have been no human cases of infection reported. While the risk to human health is considered very low, it is still vital that people do not touch sick live birds or bird carcasses, and infection control measures may be necessary if they do.

Dr James Chipwete, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control with PHE in the West Midlands, and lead consultant for flu, said: “During the last week there have been confirmed cases of avian influenza A(H5N8) in swans in Evesham, and we are receiving an increasing number of reports of sick and dead swans in the Diglis area of Worcester. We are awaiting results of investigations currently being undertaken by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

“We know that people are concerned for the welfare of the swans, especially ensuring they are fed in these colder months, however it is important that people avoid contact with these sick or dead birds. Even though no cases of human infection have been associated with this strain of avian flu, as a precaution, anyone who was not wearing appropriate PPE while in contact with the droppings or birds in an area where the infection has been confirmed, will require close monitoring and a course of antiviral medication for 10 days from last contact with infected birds.

“We have seen a number of avian flu cases in poultry and captive birds across the country – with confirmed cases of A(H5N8) in Herefordshire last month, and suspected cases now in Warwickshire. People must avoid touching potentially infected birds at all costs, and if you do see any sick or dead birds by waterways or on your private land, please leave them and call the Defra helpline on 03459 335577. In areas where the infection has been confirmed, anyone who has been in contact with sick or dead birds or their droppings, while not wearing the correct PPE, should make sure any footwear is properly cleaned and thoroughly wash their hands in soap and water. They should then notify Public Health England’s Health Protection Team on 0344 225 3560 to arrange for antiviral medication and active surveillance of their condition. If someone handled infected birds while wearing adequate PPE, they must still undergo active surveillance.”

Dr Kathryn Cobain, Director of Public Health for Worcestershire, said: “We’re continuing to work Public Health England Midlands to monitor this outbreak of avian influenza. It’s really important that we do all we can to protect both humans and birds throughout this outbreak of avian influenza in wild birds and keep the case numbers as low as we can in Worcestershire. The bigger risk is to birds rather than people. The risk of transmission to people is low and there is guidance that all keepers must follow to help keep both themselves and their birds safe.”

For more information contact PHE West Midlands press office on 0121 232 9223/4. Out Of Hours 07834 311 393

Scheme to prevent loneliness during the coronavirus outbreak

Living Letters is a project that connects people and develops intergenerational friendships to help prevent loneliness during the coronavirus pandemic. The Chickenshed charity has volunteers aged from 18-21 who want to connect with senior members of communities.

If you have care homes or group settings that may benefit from this scheme to help prevent lockdown loneliness please contact for more details.


Latest Coronavirus update

Let’s keep going – Tier 2 restrictions explained

The good news is the national lockdown had a positive impact on infection rates which have fallen across our area. The risk is as we now start to mix socially again that we end up allowing the virus to surge once more.

Worcestershire is now in Tier 2 of the local coronavirus restrictions.

Read more about what you can and cannot do in Tier 2.

Dr Kathryn Cobain, Director of Public Health for Worcestershire, has held a Q&A to answer your queries about Tier 2 restrictions.

View the Tier 2 Q&A session with Dr Kathryn Cobain.

We also had the good news this week that the first Covid-19 vaccine had been approved and is ready for use.

The independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have decided the priority order for who will get the vaccine first.

The message from the NHS is you will be contacted when it is your turn to have the vaccine. Please do not seek to get the vaccine before you are contacted.

When you are called for vaccination please act on your invitation and attend your appointments.

Read more about the prioritisation of the Covid-19 vaccine. 

Thank you from the Council Leader

A message from Cllr Bradley Thomas, Leader of Wychavon District Council.

“Residents and businesses across Wychavon have sacrificed so much already to get our infection rate down and I thank everyone for their efforts. We’re doing everything we can to support people through this challenging time.

“There is hope on the horizon with mass vaccination set to start in the new year. Let’s not throw away the progress we have made and allow the virus to resurge now when we are close to the end of this pandemic. If we stick together, all play our part by following the rules, we will get through this and we will come back stronger.”

Forming a Christmas bubble

Between 23 and 27 December you may choose to form a Christmas bubble of up to three households.

Read more about forming a Christmas bubble.

We know how important it is to meet up with family at this time of year but please consider the rules carefully and what you do as a result of them.

It is still advisable to avoid a large family gathering indoors as the virus spreads more easily. Consider using virtual games and technology to connect with each other or meet up outside and go for a Christmas walk.

Here is a list of virtual Christmas activity ideas for you to consider.

There are also many festive themed outdoor attractions for you to enjoy. Try searching online.

You can start by taking on our Christmas Shop Window Trails which will be launching next week. Visit for more information.

Shop locally and safely with free parking on offer

Our local traders have been through a lot this year. They have made a massive effort to make their businesses Covid-19 Secure so you can shop safely and with confidence. Now they need the gift of your custom this Christmas.

If you are not comfortable heading out to your local high street then you can take advantage of their online, click and collect and delivery services.

Read our list of local businesses offering online, delivery and click and collect services.

If you are shopping in person then here are some top tips to help keep you safe:

  • Shop local – supporting your local traders means you can avoid travelling into an area where the virus is spreading more rapidly.
  • Respect the rules on household mixing.
  • Shop at different times – if possible, try and avoid the peak times and days when shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes are likely to be busy. If you get somewhere and it is too crowded, then go somewhere else and come back later. We are allowing shops to open as long as they like Monday to Saturday without permission.
  • Wear a face covering – wear a face covering in shops and other indoor spaces to help protect you and others.
  • Keep your distance – keep a safe distance from anyone outside your household or support bubble. This includes when queuing on the street. If you cannot imagine a bath or sofa between you and the other person, then you are probably too close.
  • Sanitise and wash your hands regularly – businesses have hand sanitiser available and we have put public hand sanitiser points in our town centres. Our public toilets are open.
  • Pay by contactless if you can – this will help reduce the potential for the virus to spread by surface contact. Businesses are still happy to accept money if you need to pay that way.

Parking is also free in all Wychavon District Council pay and display car parks until 3 January 2021.

Christmas and New Year bin collection changes

We are having to make changes to our waste and recycling collections over the festive period.

We have also produced some top tips to help you recycle right at Christmas and reduce your waste.

Read more about waste and recycling collection changes over Christmas and New Year. 

Help us to help them

We have helped many people off the streets since the start of this pandemic. But sadly, we still have people who are sleeping rough.

We are doing everything we can to support them but their needs are often complex and sometimes they do not want to accept our help to start with. We never give up and will continue to reach out to people until they are ready to accept support.

You can help by telling us when you see someone sleeping rough.

You can let us know by telling our partner Street Link by using their online alert service at

This allows you to tell us if you believe someone is sleeping rough, to upload a description and to pin point where you saw them on a map. There is also an app you can download to your smartphone or device

When an alert is received someone will go out as soon as possible to try and find the person and begin to work with them.

The sooner we know, the sooner we can start to help.

Help carry out the Census 2021

On 21 March next year households across the district will be asked to take part in the nationwide survey of housing and the population. It has been carried out every decade since 1801, with the exception of 1941.

For the first time the Census will be carried out mainly online.

Information from the digital-first Census will help decide how services are planned and funded in your local area. This could mean things like doctors’ surgeries, housing or new bus routes.

Households will receive a letter with a unique access code in the post, allowing them to complete their questionnaire online. Paper questionnaires will be available on request.

A number of temporary jobs are available to help carry out the Census.

Find out more about Census jobs and apply.