Coronavirus Update

Help stop the spread of Covid-19

Stay home covid

Cases of Covid-19 are rising in this area.

At the start of December the rate was 82 per 100,000 in our district and as of 8 January it was 396 per 100,000.

You can now see the daily Covid-19 figures for yourself on the Worcestershire County Council dashboard.

Our local NHS is currently under significant pressure. That’s why we need you to take action now to help us get on top of the virus by staying at home and following the national lockdown rules for England.

Read the national lockdown rules

Download the national lockdown rules on a page poster

Download our Covid-19 advice leaflet

Kath cobain covidDr Kathryn Cobain, Director of Public Health for Worcestershire, said: “I am concerned about this level of spread, and the risk it poses to our health and the lives of our vulnerable and elderly residents. We need to act now to protect one another, prevent the virus spreading further and reduce the demand on our hospitals.”

Read Dr Cobain’s message to Worcestershire residents in full.

Bradley ThomasCllr Bradley Thomas, Leader of Wychavon District Council, added: “I know it’s tough being separated from loved ones and it is devastating for businesses forced to close, but if we don’t get back on top of this virus there is a very real risk our NHS is overwhelmed, we can’t rebuild our economy and normality will slip further away.”

Read Cllr Thomas’ message to residents in full.

The good news is the Covid-19 vaccine has begun to be rolled out to people in our district which offers us all hope for the future. Please do not contact your local GP or NHS hospital asking when you will receive the vaccine. You will be contacted when it is your turn.

Read more about the Covid-19 vaccine.

The use of a third Covid-19 vaccine in the UK has also been approved.

The police are also warning about fraudsters targeting people eligible for the vaccine by trying to trick them into handing over their bank details.

It starts with a text message asking people to click a link to fill in a form to claim the vaccine. It then asks for bank details. This should set alarm bells ringing as the vaccine is free. In another version of the scam, people are cold called and asked for money.

Read more about fraudsters and the Covid-19 vaccine.

Advice for the clinically extremely vulnerable

The Government has asked people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to start to shield again. If this applies to you, you should have received a letter, or will receive one shortly, telling you what you need to do.

Read the guidance for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

Help accessing food and essential supplies

If you need help getting food, medicines or essential supplies then please visit www.wychavon.gov.uk/coronavirus to find out how to access help and support.

Advice on self-isolating

If you have symptoms of Covid-19, even though we need to stay at home now, it is still really important you self-isolate immediately and get a test by calling 119 or going online. Self-isolating is different to staying at home.

Read advice on how to self-isolate.

Impact on our services

Our public toilets and playgrounds are open.

Parking is free in all Wychavon pay and display car parks until further notice. On-street parking restrictions and waiting limits remain in place and will be enforced.

We have a plan in place to maintain essential services, like waste and recycling collections, but some disruption is possible. We will let you know if any changes to services have to be made.

You can also find the latest information at www.wychavon.gov.uk/coronavirus

Financial support

Visit www.wychavon.gov.uk/moneyadvice for help and support managing your money during this challenging period.

Looking after your physical and mental health

Better health covid

Even though times are tough at the moment, it is really important you continue to look after your mental and physical health and wellbeing.

Every Mind Matters has various tools to help you support your mental wellbeing.

If you are dealing with difficult feelings about the pandemic then the charity Mind has help and support available.

The Government has also published a guide to looking after your mental wellbeing during the pandemic on its website.

If you are looking to lose weight and get active then the NHS Better Health website has links to a range of workouts and other tools to help you.

Remember, despite the severe pressure the NHS is under, you should still contact them if you need them and not just for Covid-19 related conditions. You can speak to your pharmacist, use the NHS 111 service or contact your GP. In a life-threatening emergency you should call 999.

Things to do at home

Some suggestions of things you can do while you are staying at home.

Here to help covid

Coronavirus update

Cases have risen rapidly across our district since the end of the second Lockdown at the start of December. Worryingly, the impact of Christmas mixing is still to filter through into the figures.

The expectation is we will continue to see cases rise for the next 7 to 10 days. This will lead to further hospitalisations and inevitably deaths. This will add to the already significant pressure our NHS locally, and nationally, is under.

We cannot stress enough how serious the situation is and we ask you all to continue to play your part in encouraging our residents to stay at home and follow the rules and thank you for your efforts so far.

Infection rates are now reported daily on the Worcestershire County Council website and they are also broken down by local area. We will use this data to target communications in areas where we see cases remaining higher than elsewhere in the district.

Coronavirus dashboard

Dr Kathryn Cobain, Director of Public Health for Worcestershire, has issued a message to the public encouraging them to play their part, which you can share on your own channels – Message from Dr Kathryn Cobain

Our Council Leader Cllr Bradley Thomas has also released a message which you can view here and are again encouraged to share and a video message has been prepared and will be released shortly on social media.

People in need of help

As always, if people need help accessing food or other essentials then please ask them to contactwww.worcestershire.gov.uk/here2help. They will then direct them to support locally.

Impact on services

We are keeping our public toilets and playgrounds open in-line with government guidance. We intend to maintain key services, as we have done throughout this pandemic, and have plans in place to redeploy staff to support that ambition if needed.

Parking in all of our car parks is now free until further notice. On-street parking restrictions and time limits in waiting bays remain in place and will be enforced.

We are, for the time being, no longer offering face to face pre-booked appointments in our reception but remain available by email or phone.

Libraries are offering limited services and Household Recycling Centres remain open.

Lateral flow testing – can you help?

Worcestershire public health is urgently looking for places to undertake rapid result Lateral Flow Testing of asymptomatic people.

In order for them to be able to do this they need your help.  Please could you let them know if you have any indoor space available such as a community centre, village hall or sports hall, that could be used to support their extended testing programme.  In order to enable their testing teams to use the indoor space you have it needs to:

  • Have toilets
  • Be accessible to wheelchair users
  • Have heating
  • Have parking or be near facilities where parking is available
  • Be available for use until the end of March 2021

If you think you have a space that might be suitable please let their logistics team know on :CV19PropertyFacilities@worcestershire.gov.uk

They can then discuss it with you and decide if the property is suitable. There would be no obligation to use it if you or your organisation did not want to once you know more details.

Please pass this on to any contacts you may have locally that could help.

Vaccination info

The Covid-19 vaccine has begun to be given to people in this area in accordance with the nationally set priority list.

If you find people are asking you about when they may receive the vaccine, the message is that the NHS will contact people in priority groups when it is their turn to receive the vaccine and they should not contact their GP practice, or local hospital, directly asking for an appointment.

Below is a table setting out the order of prioritisation and a statement explaining how this has been reached.

Statement on prioritisation of Covid-19 vaccine.

Covid-19 vaccine scam

The police have made us aware of a scam relating to the vaccine.

People due to receive the vaccine have received a text messages, claiming to be from the NHS, telling them they need to complete a form for their first vaccine and providing a link to a very official looking site. They are then asked to fill in an official looking online form looks and after completing it, they are then asked for their bank details.

This is a scam, and a despicable one at that. In other versions of the scam people are being cold called and being asked to pay a charge for the vaccine.

You do not need to provide your bank details to receive the vaccine and there is no charge. The NHS will not ask you to send a text or push a button on a keypad to confirm you want the vaccine.

A message from the Director for Public Health in Worcestershire

Dear Residents,

I know that the news of a new lockdown for England, will be frustrating and upsetting for many people. Worcestershire has tried very hard to keep Covid-19 cases down, and many of you have made sacrifices to protect yourselves and others. We have all had to make changes to the way we live our lives in recent months, and that included over Christmas, when so many were not able to spend time with loved ones.

But some stark realities remain for us all. Worcestershire’s infection rates are at the highest we have ever seen. In the past 7 days alone, the county has 1,888 positive Covid-19 cases, which is more than all positive cases seen during May, June, July, August and September 2020 combined. I am concerned about this level of spread, and the risk it poses to our health and the lives of our vulnerable and elderly residents. We need to act now to protect one another, prevent the virus spreading further and reduce the demand on our hospitals.

The pandemic continues to dominate our daily lives, cases are rising nationally and we know the new variant of Covid-19 spreads very quickly. Our NHS is also facing considerable pressure on its services. All of these factors have led to the government’s announcement of a new lockdown across England. This means once again, we are facing tough restrictions on our way of life. I know this is hard, but by doing as we are asked, we are saving lives. The restrictions have been brought in to protect every one of us.

Please now stay at home, don’t go out unless you need to, for example to buy food or collect medicines. The Government has set out the clear limitations of the lockdown and I ask you to read the restrictions and follow the rules. You can read a full explanation of all the restrictions on the government’s website; https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home

Once again, Worcestershire County Council’s Here2Help service is available to anyone who needs support or is clinically extremely vulnerable (shielding). If you have no-one to turn to for help, our service can respond and provide help such as collecting medicines and getting shopping. You can reach the service online; https://www.worcestershire.gov.uk/here2help

If you are on the Government’s shielding list, you will be receiving guidance about what to do now. It is key that you socially distance, and you reduce your physical contact with others. The governments webpages are updated regularly and you can read detailed guidance at; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

While we are all at home, please do remember to check on vulnerable or isolated residents. Just a phone call or a text message can provide a vital link to the outside world, and can ensure those who need comfort or help, have someone to turn to.

You will know that a programme of vaccination has begun nationally, and we are already seeing Worcestershire residents receiving the first doses. This process is being co-ordinated by central Government, and following a strict order for administering the doses. Worcestershire County Council is supporting NHS colleagues to ensure the roll-out is progressing. The vaccines are safe, and if you are called forward to receive one, I strongly urge you to do so. In the meantime, please keep following the rules, wear face coverings, wash your hands, keep your distance. These simple measures help reduce the spread of the virus.

We are all in this together. Throughout the pandemic, you have shown your resilience, kindness and compassion for others. We have seen many examples of people supporting one another, lending a hand or going the extra mile. The situation has demonstrated how working together, we are able to support one another and get through. I am asking you to do this once again. The single most important thing you can do for everyone, is to stay home. Please do this for yourself and for others. We all want to protect people who are precious to us, our family and friends. Let’s take care of each other, and work together.

Thank you for doing this. Our actions now will hopefully bring brighter days for us all in 2021.

Best wishes
Dr. Kathryn Cobain

Coronavirus: Worcestershire to move into Tier 3

sa

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

Coronavirus

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

Financial

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

Homeless

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 www.streetlink.org.uk, 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  info@business-central.co.uk.

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 jane.dobson@wychavon.gov.uk 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 shawn.riley@wychavon.gov.uk.

Vale Business Park


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

www.gov.uk/coronavirus


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 Rachely@chickenshed.org.uk for more details.

Information: https://www.chickenshed.org.uk/living-letters-four-week-project

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 www.wychavon.gov.uk/keepitlocal 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 www.streetlink.org.uk.

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.

Tier Two restrictions for Worcestershire

Today, the Government announced Worcestershire will go into Tier Two category of restrictions, once the current lockdown finishes on December 2nd.

Worcestershire has worked very hard during the lockdown to reduce the number of cases of Covid-19 in the county.

We have seen some good progress, which has resulted in the county avoiding tier 3 restrictions. We now need to continue the good work and bring the number of Covid-19 cases down further.

From Wednesday 2nd December, everyone in Worcestershire will need to observe Tier Two restrictions.

Tier Two restrictions include:

  • you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’.
  • businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs.
  • pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals.

The full list of restrictions are available on the dedicated pages of the Government’s website.

These restrictions are considered necessary because the infection rate remains too high. The virus doesn’t stay in a single area but spreads where people are mixing. It is very important that we all now follow these new rules, to reduce the number of Covid-19 cases and stop the virus spreading further.

Dr Kathryn Cobain, Director for Public Health for Worcestershire said:  

“I would like to thank you all for your continued hard work in helping to stop the spread of Covid-19. During these recent restrictions, we have seen some positive signs that Covid-19 cases are starting to stabilise in the county.

The tier we will be in from December 2nd, will be reviewed every two weeks so it is important that we keep these figures heading in the right direction. Therefore, we need to continue to follow the measures in place to protect us all. We need to keep following the rules and keep building on the hard work we have done so far.

This is a real opportunity, to take control of the virus, get our figures down and reduce the risk of transmission, especially with Christmas around the corner.

It is up to us all now to keep going with the good work, by social distancing, by wearing a face covering, by washing our hands regularly and limiting our contacts.”

Councillor John Smith, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing and Chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Board added: “These new measures represent a renewed opportunity to get our numbers down even more. If we keep working together to follow the rules, we will keep the people of Worcestershire safe and reduce the transmission of the virus.”

For the latest information on the restrictions and what you can do over the Christmas period visit the dedicated pages of the County Council’s website.