Here’s a podcast from The Guardian about wearing masks.
Since the start of the pandemic, face coverings and their ability to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 have been under constant scrutiny by scientists, politicians and the public. More than a year and a half in, what do – and don’t – we know?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to Prof Cath Noakes about how effective different face coverings are, how best to use them, and when we should be masking-up
Councillors have confirmed the Active Neighbourhood scheme will have a new public consultation and nothing is confirmed yet.
A meeting attended by over 60 residents, including Levenshulme Community Association Secretary Jeremy Hoad, was at times tense but has brought some welcome clarity to the current status of the Levenshulme and Burnage Active Neighbourhood.
“Following the end of this trial, and reviews of feedback, all 14 filters will be made permanent.“
Manchester City Council statement, 13 September 2021
Councillors say this statement by Manchester City Council about the Levenshulme and Burnage Active Neighbourhood scheme was made “out of context” and this is only a partial explanation of the current situation. The current road blocks / “modal filters” will only be made permanent if a full plan for the Active Neighbourhood is approved for implementation following a public consultation.
The next stage designs will provide a full plan for interventions well beyond the current trial of 14 road blocks / “modal filters” in Levenshulme. This is the first time our community will be provided with comprehensive proposals and and a plan for the Active Neighbourhood, three years after the project started. It is understood the plans will include measures for both Levenshulme and Burnage.
The statement went on to say that:
“This month [August 2021] the Highways Service presented the initial outline designs for the proposed next stage of the Active Travel Neighbourhood scheme to ward councillors in both areas. These were agreed in principle, with the plans also submitted to Transport for Greater Manchester for their review and comment.”
Manchester City Council statement, 13 September 2021
A New Public Consultation
The new plans will be released soon and go to a public consultation. Councillors did not provide details of the consultation but accepted that previous consultations and the scheme as a whole had been “…a complete mess from the beginning…” and that it had “…gone wrong…”. They stated they had been “…working behind the scenes…” to improve the plans and had rejected previous drafts before accepting the current proposals.
Councillor Hussain stated that so far the project had spent £800,000 and that the budget had been reduced for the whole scheme. The original budget was up to £700,000 for development work and to undertake a trial with a further £1.8m available dependent on a successful business case proposal to TfGM for full implementation.
When pressed by residents councillors clarified that if residents were not happy with all the proposals then the scheme would not go ahead and everything – including the current road blocks / “modal filters” – would be removed.
It was also stated by councillors that the road blocks / “modal filters” would not be retained or made permanent until or unless problems on all roads were addressed, something councillors had insisted on for the scheme to progress. No scheme would be approved before that. However, councillors were confident that the community would welcome the final plans when they saw the designs.
Where’s the Data?
Councillors were also asked “Where’s the data?” as the whole scheme was claimed to be evidence based and data driven as well as community led. Councillors explained that the filters had been left in place so that the project could gather more data after the trial had finished [in June 2021] as Covid19 restrictions were lifted. Monitoring, managed by Manchester Urban Observatory (based at the University of Manchester) had taken place throughout the trial. Doubts were raised by residents about how accurate, useful or comprehensive this data was as well as the placement of monitoring equipment.
What will the final plans look like?
More comprehensive, inclusive and balanced, it seems. Reference was made to traffic calming, chicanes, crossings, pavement improvements and speed tables (large raised flat areas on the road). These are the sorts of measures residents, businesses and community groups (including Levenshulme Community Association) have been calling for throughout the project.
Unfortunately the attitude previously of the Project Team (with Sustrans and Levenshulme Bee Network before they were removed from the project in 2020) was dismissive of this more balanced approach and focussed primarily on installing road blocks / “modal filters” to create a “Low Traffic Neighbourhood”.
Residents also raised concerns about a number of related issues: dangerous driving in the area which was getting worse; problems with HGVs; speeding; anti-social behaviour around the road blocks; ongoing issues with emergency services and problems for carers and other service providers needing to easily meet residents’ needs. These reflected concerns that had consistently been raised by the LCA, residents and businesses that the approach throughout the project had been limited and did not focus on solving the problems we faced as a community or prioritise the aims of the project to actually make our roads safer and encourage walking and cycling.
Councillors stressed that the scheme was “…not about cycling…” but about “…Active Travel, creating shared space and provision for walking, cycling and drivers getting around.”
What happens next?
The final Active Neighbourhood plans should be made public in the next few weeks. The council has already indicated there will be a public engagement meeting in late September / early October.
Serious concerns were raised about how the consultation would be run. Residents made clear that they were dissatisfied with previous consultation and engagement and councillors accepted this had not been done well. Residents at the meeting highlighted the exclusive, biased and insecure nature of the online Commonplace system and the limited and ineffective information available.
As yet it is unclear what changes will be made to the consultation process, when it will start or how long it will run for. It is also unclear how decisions will be made, what criteria will be used and what attempts will be made to ensure the whole community can get involved and have their voices heard effectively.
Councillors Sheikh and Hussain were thanked for their attendance at the meeting and it was made clear by residents that this ongoing discussion was very welcome. Thanks also to Mark at the Bluebell for hosting the meeting.
Levenshulme Community Association will continue to provide updates and announcements as they are available to enable residents and businesses to be fully involved in this next stage of what has so far been a frustrating and difficult experience for many people.
The rate for Manchester as a whole is now 544. On 17 May the rate was 43.
Levenshulme was designated a High Risk Area on 20 May and the Director of Public Health said action was needed to avoid rates getting to 300 as they were in Bolton at that point. There was a two to three week window of opportunity with it being a “race against time” to prevent a rise in infection rates.
Since then the government also designated Greater Manchester and much of the North West of England an Enhanced Response Area on 8 June with people told to get tested twice a week. An update on ERA status is available HERE.
As of 1 July 61.2% of adults have had one vaccination and 39.4% have had two vaccinations in Manchester.
You can read the full government announcement from 5 July 2021 HERE
Manchester will be the same as all of England on 19 July with pretty much all restrictions and rules used to protect people removed.
Protect Yourself and others
Please get vaccinated for your own protection and for the protection of our community.
Protective measures such as face masks and social distancing may not be compulsory from 19 July but it is advisable to remain cautious during this third wave of infections.
Check the Manchester City Council website for updates including pop-up vaccination centres HERE
The closest pop-up vaccination centre is currently at Belle Vue with a free shuttle bus running through Levenshulme with a pick up point on Matthews Lane.
Over a month after Manchester City Council designated eight areas of Manchester – including Levenshulme – as “High Risk” for Covid-19 infections with low vaccination take-up rates a series of new vaccination centres have been launched. These are walk-in facilities for anyone over the age of 18.
The LCA has been trying for the last four weeks to find out what action was being taken in Levenshulme. Unfortunately no Levenshulme councillors have been able to respond to any phone messages or requests for information in that time. David Regan, the Director of Public Health for Manchester said on 20 May that the city was in a “race against time” in the High Risk areas to prevent infection rates reaching around 300 with urgent action required in 2-3 weeks. We are now a month after this was stated and it is too late to prevent infection rates for Manchester rising from around 43 on 17 May to 328 on 13 June. Hopefully the new vaccination centres can now begin to reduce infection rates.
You can find a list of Manchester vaccination centres HERE
Pop-up vaccination clinics are listed HERE and below. Please note these centres are subject to change so check the link for the latest information.
Greater Manchester has been designated an “Enhanced Response Area” for Covid-19 by the government. This follows Manchester City Council classifying Levenshulme as a “High Risk Area” on 20 May apparently because of low vaccination take up and the high incidence of infections.
David Regan, Director of Public Health for Manchester released a briefing note on 9 June which stated: “ERA work – which is like to start from the end of this week – will give us further support with the plans and strategies we already have in place, along with all the fantastic work that you and our communities are already doing.” You can read and download the full briefing note below.
One of those plans was to prevent infection rates increasing in High Risk areas like Levenshulme although it has been impossible to find out clear information of what this plan was or what measures were taken from 20 May. The intention was to prevent infection rates rising to around 300 as happened in Bolton. This was said to be “…a race against time” with “…a two to three week window” by David Regan. Infection rates for Manchester were around 45 on 17 May and 285 on 12 June.
Thanks to Joanna Midgley, Manchester City Council Executive member with responsibility for health for talking to Jeremy Hoad, LCA Secretary and providing the community briefing note. Unfortunately no Levenshulme councillors have been available over the past month to discuss these matters.
The government is proposing to share more data gathered from patients at GPs. This is called the General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR).
This GPDPR was originally going to start on 1 July but has now been postponed to 1 September 2021 to allow further consultation to take place. This scheme has not been widely advertised and no letters have been sent to patients informing them of this change.
You can opt out of this scheme if you do not wish your data to be shared. Note that your data will be shared from 1 September unless you opt out. If you opt out after that date all your data up to that point will be shared but no data after you opt out will be included.
The government says all data will be anonymised wherever possible and unless specific exemptions apply. The government also states that data will never be shared for marketing or insurance purposes.
You can find out more information on the NHS Digital website HERE.
You can also watch a simple video explaining GPDPR below but you should look at the NHS Digital website for more detailed information.
Talk About It Mate is a peer-support community interest organisation, promoting positive mental health and wellbeing.
They are currently running FREE sessions for men on Thursday evenings, 19.00 at Levenshulme Old Library on Cromwell Grove. The evenings provide a friendly, open and non-judgemental space to talk/listen/connect.
Covid-19 vaccination invitations are being sent out to adults aged over 18 in Levenshulme, Longsight, Cheetham, Crumpsall, Moss Side, Whalley Range, Rusholme, and Ardwick, with new walk-in vaccination centres also expected to open from 22 May 2021.
These neighbourhoods are deemed at ‘high risk’ of being particularly hard hit by the Indian Covid variant’s spread and have been identified because they have: struggled most with persistent rates of Covid during the pandemic; have high-risk ethnic minority populations; and have seen lower vaccine take-up than elsewhere.
Vaccinations will continue to move down the age brackets in the normal way elsewhere in the city, however, with health officials emphasising there is enough supply to keep the usual programme moving in parallel.
Further information and support
You can find the planned COVID-19 pop-up / walk-in vaccination centres HERE
A full list of COVID-19 vaccination centres in Manchester is available HERE
If you need help and support with food, medical supplies or other COVID-related support they can call Manchester’s Community Response Hub (MON-FRI 9am-5pm):
Please share this message with South Asian Communities. You can download this briefing in Arabic, English, Gujarati, Indian Punjabi and Urdu (see below)
Briefing for South Asian Community Groups and Organisations
VOC-21-APR-02 is the technical term for the new variant of concern that was first identified in India. This variant is thought to be driving the increase in Covid cases being seen in younger adults across the North West, particularly in Bolton and Blackburn.
It is normal for any virus to change over time. Coronavirus is the same – and our vaccines are very effective in preventing serious illness against the strains. It’s also very normal – as with the flu vaccine – to tweak the vaccines or give boosters against new strains as they develop.
We are briefing community organisations and leaders for South Asian communities because the increase in cases has been particularly high, especially among the Pakistani and Indian population. It is important that we take steps to protect ourselves, our families and communities.
The public health team in Manchester has advised that:
– evidence that is being analysed suggests that this variant is more transmissible – or easier to spread.
– it has spread very quickly in other areas and so could spread very quickly among Manchester residents
– people who have not been vaccinated are more likely to catch the new variant and spread it to others
– we need to be cautious as the Covid restrictions in order to protect our communities- especially older family members who may not have been vaccinated and would be more vulnerable to severe disease
The public health team are also looking at providing vaccination, in line with JCVI guidance, to younger people in some parts of the city where the risk of the variant of concern spreading quickly is higher – as they are doing in Blacburn- they will keep us up to date with plans for this and how people can access the vaccine when it is available. As per national recommendations, any vaccine that is offered to people under 40 will either be Pfizer or Moderna.
What should we do now?
It’s really important that everyone who has symptoms, goes for a Covid test – that way we can monitor and pick up any new cases or strains very quickly and take the right action.
In addition, if you don’t have symptoms, Lateral flow or “rapid antigen” tests are free and you can get them and test twice a week.
Stay cautious, even though the rules are changing it is still important to – limit the number of different people and households you mix with – meet outdoors wherever possible – keep washing hands, wiping surfaces, wearing masks or face coverings when needed, – keeping rooms ventilated and social distancing – get your vaccine as soon as it is offered to you
If anyone needs help and support with food, medical supplies or other COVID-related support they can call Manchester’s Community Response Hub (MON-FRI 9am-5pm) on:
The Cook and Collect takeaway service launched on Thursday 14th January. If you would like a free, nutritious cooked meal, you can go and collect one every Thursday between 7:30pm – 8:30pm.
How to Volunteer
You can also volunteer to help. There are opportunities for people to cook, host guests and be involved in collecting the surplus food donations from local suppliers.
“You don’t need to have any previous cooking experience, although if you do that is just as welcome! We want as many local volunteers as possible and everyone is welcome to be a part of FoodCycle Manchester.”
Sign up online to volunteer at FoodCycle ManchesterHERE
The Jain Centre (667/669 Stockport Road, Manchester, M12 4QE, beside Crowcroft Park) is scheduled to open as a covid19 vaccination centre on Saturday 16 January 2021.
If you are eligible for a vaccination at this point you will be contacted by your GP and will be invited to attend one of 7 sites across the city to receive the vaccine – most likely the one closest to where you live.
Information on how to volunteer as a covid19 marshall at the new covid19 vaccination centres is provided below.
Manchester Community Central (Macc) and Volunteer Centre Manchester are supporting Manchester Health and Care Commissioning (MHCC) with its recruitment to support Manchester’s Covid-19 vaccination programme at community-based sites across the city.
How to get involved
At present, the majority of vaccination sites urgently need *Volunteer Marshalsto safely direct patients on site when they; arrive, receive their vaccination and exit, along with supporting car park traffic and handing out PPE and information.
To express your interest in supporting at the vaccine sites, choose from the locations below and follow the instructions to register. Your details will be passed on to the team in charge, and they will contact you if they require your help.
If you can travel to help out in more than one of the areas that is listed below, choose ‘I can help anywhere’.
If you require any further information about this role, please contact the MHCC Engagement Team by telephone on 0161 213 1756 or email email@example.com.
Further information on who is eligible to volunteer and other volunteering opportunities is available on the Macc website HERE.
We are now in another lockdown introduced by the government to attempt to reduce Covid19 infection rates. This is particularly in response to the rapid spread of the new variant of the virus which is much easier to catch. The Health Secretary and Prime Minister have both stated that the virus is currently out of control. These rules became law on Monday 4 January and have subsequently been ratified on Wednesday 6 January in a retrospective debate and vote in Parliament.
Higher Education provision will remain online until mid February for all except future critical worker courses.
If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local – unless it is necessary to go further, for example to go to work. Stay local means stay in the village, town, or part of the city where you live.
From 19.00 you can join the online World AIDS Day Vigil as we remember people lost to HIV, show our solidarity with people living with HIV around the world and commit ourselves to challenging HIV stigma and discrimination.
The Vigil is organised by the Passionate about Sexual Health (PaSH) Partnership, a collaboration between BHA for Equality, George House Trust and LGBT Foundation.
Suzy Prince, co-owner of Bopcap Books in the Antiques Village, has an article in the Guardian reflecting on the pandemic and a trend and determination of people to shop locally.
“In Greater Manchester, there’s… anger about recent events, and for some people, overtly buying from independent businesses has become an act of defiance, of sorts.”
“…it seems clear that people want change and are prepared to go out of their way to achieve it. A world with far fewer cafes, bars and independent shops in it would be a considerably duller place. Let’s hope the will that has emerged over the last few months to keep our high streets alive lasts far beyond the pandemic. Amid all the gloom, I think the signs are strong.”
Arcadia have resumed their swimming lessons, for details visit the centre or access the link below. To ensure members of the public and children’s safety whilst learning to swim, safety procedures implemented in line with government guidance. Please also see the video below.
Please note: At present swimming lessons are only for children.
MCR Active says:
Swimming lessons in Manchester are back! We’re pleased to let you know, that in line with the re-start of the academic year, we will be welcoming back children between the ages of 5 and 16 to our Swimming Lessons across Manchester.
Lessons will take place at community pools available to the public. A decision, given the comprehensive Government guidance, we have carefully considered. We will ensure we reopen safely, prioritising all our customers and staff, in the knowledge that our pools can carefully help the city get active again. See the full list below to check when your nearest available pool will be offering swimming lessons.
IMPORTANT: All swimming lessons must be booked in advance online or via the app before your visit.
EDIT: A note has now been added to the Greater Manchester local lockdown rules page on the government website to say that the local lockdown rules will be replaced by the new Tier 2 (High) rules from tomorrow. This means in effect that the government is relaxing the rules across Greater Manchester.
The government has placed Manchester in its new “Tier 2 (High)” category and the Manchester local lockdown rules have been updated. The two sets of rules say different things
The Tier 2 (High) restrictions allow people to meet other people outdoors in their gardens in groups of up to six people. The Manchester local lockdown rules do not allow this.
Basically we still can NOT meet people in our homes or gardens unless they are in our “support bubble”.
The Tier 2 (High) rules come into force on Wednesday 14 October at 00.01. Maybe the local lockdown rules will be changed again then but currently the Tier 2 and Manchester Local Lockdown rules contradict each other. There is no mention on the government’s website for the local lockdown rules that they will change when the Tier 2 rules come into force tomorrow.
What do the Manchester local lockdown rules say?
Read the Greater Manchester Local Lockdown rules in full HERE
“Social contact restrictions
If you live in one of the affected areas, in order to help prevent the spread of coronavirus you must not:
host people you do not live with in your home or garden, unless they’re in your support or childcare bubble
meet people you do not live with in their home or garden, whether inside or outside the affected local areas, unless they’re in your support or childcare bubble
Your household is defined as the people you live with and any support or childcare bubble.
A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household. Households within a bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together.
A childcare bubble is where someone in one household can provide informal (meaning unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household. This must occur on an exclusive basis – always the same two households.“
“You may continue to see friends and family you do not live with (or have not formed a support bubble with) outside, including in a garden or other outdoor space. When you do so, you must not meet in a group of more than 6. This limit of 6 includes children of any age.“
Please see below the statement to the House of Commons by the UK Prime Minister. This includes announcements on stricter measures following the recent surge in infections, hospitalisations and deaths. These measures are expected to last for six months.
There will be a further televised statement by PM Johnson tonight at 20.00 that will be added to this post.
Schools, colleges and universities will remain open.
Office workers who can work at home should do so.
Key public service and key workers who cannot work from home should continue to attend their workplaces.
From Thursday 24th September 2020 all pubs, bars and restaurants must operate a table service only except for takeaways.
All hospitality venues must close at 10pm with doors closed, not just last orders at 10pm.
Takeaways must also close at 10pm although deliveries can continue after 10pm.
Compulsory wearing of masks extended to taxis, private hire vehicles and all staff in retail.
Alll staff and customers in hospitality venues (except when seated at a table to eat or drink) must wear masks.
In retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors government covid secure guidelines will become legal obligations. Businesses will be fined and could be closed if they breach the rules.
From Monday 28th September a maximum of 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and wedding receptions.
Up to 30 people can still attend a funeral.
“Rule of Six” will be extended to all adult indoor team sports.
The “Rule of Six” (when meeting friends and family you do not live with – or have formed a support bubble with – you must not meet in a group of more than six) will now therefore apply in all circumstances apart from weddings (15 people), wedding receptions (15 people), funerals (30 people) and outdoor organised team sports (30 people).
Business conferences, events and large sporting events will not be permitted as was planned for 1st October 2020.
People who were previously shielding will not be advised to do so again for the time being.
These rules will be enforced by tighter penalties.
Fine of up to £10,000 for those who fail to self isolate already exist and these fines will now be applied to businesses who break these covid rules.
Fine for breaking the “Rule of Six” or not wearing a mask will double to £200 for a first offence.
There will be a greater police presence on our streets and extra funding will be provided to police to enforce these rules.
Military support will be called on where required to free up the police for other matters.
These measures apply in England. Devolved administrations are taking “similar” measures.
13 million people in England are living under further restrictions over and above these national measures [see HERE for the local lockdown measures that apply in Manchester].
“Fire power will be drawn upon” to deploy further measures if these measures do not work and people do not follow these rules.
These new restrictions should be assumed to remain in place “for perhaps SIX MONTHS”.
What are the differences between these new national rules and the extra local lockdown rules in Manchester?
Please note at the time of this announcement the rules for the Greater Manchester local lockdown have not been updated to reflect the new national rules that apply variously with immediate effect, from Thursday 24th September and from Monday 29th September 2020 as outlined above.
The rules across Greater manchester vary between different areas. This is outlined in the link above. Key differences to the new national rules that currently apply in Manchester are outlined below.
Key differences in Manchester:
You MUST NOT:
host people you do not live with in your home or garden, unless they’re in your support bubble*. (A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household. Households within a bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together.)
meet people you do not live with in their home or garden, whether inside or outside of the affected areas unless they’re in your support bubble.
You are ADVISED to NOT:
socialise with people you do not live with, unless they’re in your support bubble, in any public venue. This applies to inside and outside of the affected areas. Examples of public venues include pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions and parks.
visit friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances.
You should follow all relevant transport guidance when making a journey into, within or out of the areas affected.
Organised dance and exercise classes can take place in groups of more than 6, where a risk assessment has been carried out, but you should limit your social interaction with other participants.
Friends or family who you do not live with should not visit your home to help with childcare unless they are part of your support bubble.
This information is provided in good faith as an accurate reflection of changing circumstances and the differences between the national and local restrictions and rules. Please follow the links for more detailed guidance and rules from the government.
Prime Minister’s Statement to the House of Commons, 22nd September 2020
Prime Minister’s broadcast to the nation, 22nd September 2020
Free NHS Health Checks are available for anyone aged 40-74 who is registered with a GP in Manchester and not on a disease register for a pre-existing health condition such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
By appointment only between 09.40-15.00 at Abbey Hey FC on Wednesday 30th September 2020.
Please see below the video from Professor Chris Whitty (Chief Medical Officer, England) and Sir Patrick Vallance (Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government) providing an update on the recent significant increases in infection rates across the country.
This is an announcement from The Owl and The Coconut based at The Nest at Levenshulme Old Library.
Sadly The Nest at Levenshulme won’t be reopening but all The Owl and The Coconut classes and courses will continue! They will be online for now.
We’ve absolutely loved running our wellness space The Nest from the Old Library over the past two years! From Gong Baths to Mindful Art and everything in between it’s been epic!
As the world has changed during the Covid pandemic our needs at The Owl and The Coconut have changed too. For now we’re moving all our classes and courses online, which means we need a much smaller space. So we are closing The Nest and leaving Levenshulme Old Library.
We’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone at Levenshulme Old Library. And to all of you who have joined us for wellness events at The Nest over the last two years. Thank you to everyone who we have worked with, all The Nest members and partner organisations, it’s been incredible!
Our meditation and mindful art classes and courses start up again online soon! Watch this space! To be first to here about them and keep up with all things Owl and Coconut follow us on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter or click HERE to join our mailing list.
Together let’s create pockets of peace for us all to rest in for a moment!
Big love from us all at The Owl and The Coconut xxx
Levenshulme Community Association is grateful to Manchester Urban Observatory for this article following contact with Dr Jen O’Brien and Prof. James Evans. We will continue to provide information and updates as they become available to help everyone understand the Active Neighbourhood proposals and be involved in the process to get the best we can for our community. This fits with several of the aims of the Levenshulme Community Manifesto.
Manchester Urban Observatory and the Levenshulme Active Neighbourhood – improving decision making with data
The Manchester Urban Observatory is part of a network of 6 Urban Observatories across England which are developing a new approach to the monitoring and understanding of cities. Our goal is to ensure future decision making is informed by a detailed appreciation of the consequences and complexity of urbanisation. The Manchester Urban Observatory is based at the University of Manchester, bringing together expertise from across the humanities, environmental sciences and health. Our role is to work with local partners to support the better planning and delivery of urban development. We operate entirely independent, with our funding secured through the UK Collaboratorium on Infrastructure and Cities.
The second stage of Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) opens for applications today.
Anyone whose self-employed business has been adversely affected by coronavirus since 14 July is eligible for the scheme and will now be able to receive a second and final grant worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, with the money set to land in their bank accounts within six working days of making a claim.
Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme HERE
Claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme HERE
We have updated our Coronavirus advice pages with a new dedicated section on advice in translation. The new page includes information in 60 different languages from Doctors of the World and information in British Sign Language from SignHealth.
The government announced around 21.30 on Thursday 30th July that new restrictions would be introduced at midnight. The announcement was made by four tweets and one interview from the Secretary of State for Health who then did not appear on any of the main news bulletins. Nobody from the government bothered to appear.
These new restrictions are now in force. See below for the news reports from Thursday 30th July and the new government rules and press announcement released on 31st July.
The main change is nobody can visit another household either indoors or outdoors.
An outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been identified in parts of Greater Manchester, East Lancashire, and West Yorkshire. The government and relevant local authorities are acting together to control the spread of the virus. From 31 July 2020, if you live in these parts of Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire, you should follow these rules when meeting people who you do not live with. Separate guidance advises on the similar rules imposed in Leicester.
Affected local areas
City of Manchester
Blackburn with Darwen
If you live in one of the affected areas, in order to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, you should not:
meet people you do not live with inside a private home or garden, except where you have formed a support bubble (or for other limited exemptions to be specified in law).
visit someone else’s home or garden even if they live outside of the affected areas.
socialise with people you do not live with in other indoor public venues – such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions. You may attend these venues with people you live with (or are in a support bubble with), but should avoid interaction with others. If you run such a business, you should take steps to ensure people do not interact with people they do not live with, in line with COVID-19 Secure guidance.
The government will pass new laws to enforce the changes to meeting people in private homes and gardens. The police will be able to take action against those that break these rules, including asking people to disperse and issuing fixed penalty notices (starting at £100 – halving to £50 if paid in the first 14 days – and doubling for subsequent offences).
In Blackburn with Darwen and Bradford, the following premises must remain closed by law:
indoor fitness and dance studios
indoor sports courts and facilities
indoor swimming pools, including indoor facilities at water parks
Changes in restrictions
Does my household include close family members?
Your household – as defined in law – is only the people you live with. If you have formed a support bubble (which must include a single adult household i.e. people who live alone or single parents with dependent children aged under 18) these can be treated as if they are members of your household.
What will be illegal?
It will be illegal for people who do not live together to meet in a private home or garden, except for limited exceptions to be set out in law. You should not host or visit people you do not live with, unless they are in your support bubble. If you live in the affected areas, you should not visit someone’s home or garden regardless of whether this is in or outside of the restricted area.
Can I still meet indoors with people in my support bubble?
Yes. Where people from single adult households (people who live alone or single parents with dependent children aged under 18) have formed a support bubble with another household, they can continue to visit each other, stay overnight, and visit other public places as if they were one household.
Can I still meet people outdoors?
In line with the national guidance, you can continue to meet in public outdoor spaces in groups of no more than six people, unless the group includes only people from two households. You cannot meet people you do not live within a private garden.
At all times, you should socially distance from people you do not live with – unless they are in your support bubble.
I live in this area. Can I still meet with my family and friends to celebrate Eid?
Due to higher rates of infection, if you live in this area you should not host or visit friends and family in each other’s homes or gardens. It will shortly be illegal to do so, unless specific exemptions apply. You also should not meet friends and family in other venues – including restaurants or cafes.
Up to two households, or six people from any number of households may meet outdoors (excluding people’s gardens) where there is a lower risk of infection. If you do so, you should still socially distance from those you do not live with, and avoid physical contact.
You may attend a mosque or other place or worship, where Covid-19 Secure guidance applies, but you must socially distance from people outside of your household. This means maintaining a distance of 2 metres, or 1 metre with mitigations (such as wearing face coverings). We recommend at this time that, if possible, prayer/religious services take place outdoors.
Can I still go to work in this area?
Yes. People living inside and outside of this area can continue to travel in and out for work. Workplaces must implement Covid-19 Secure guidance.
I live in this area. Can I still go to cafes, restaurants, the gym and other public places?
Yes. But you should only go with members of your own household – even if you are going outside of the restricted area.
I live in the area. Can people from outside of the lockdown area visit me at my house?
No. This will be illegal.
Do I still have to shield if I live in this area?
Clinically extremely vulnerable people will no longer have to follow the shielding guidance from the 1 August, unless they live in Blackburn with Darwen in the North West and other local affected areas across England where shielding continues.
Can I visit a care home?
You should not visit friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances. Care homes should restrict visits to these circumstances.
Can I still have my wedding if it’s in the lockdown area?
Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies in these areas can still go ahead. No more than 30 people should attend a marriage or civil partnership, where this can be safely accommodated with social distancing in a COVID-19 secure venue. Further guidance can be found here.
Large wedding receptions or parties should not currently be taking place and any celebration after the ceremony should follow the broader social distancing guidance of involving no more than two households in any location or, if outdoors, up to six people from different households.
Can I travel outside of the lockdown area to attend a wedding ceremony?
Can I travel into the lockdown area to attend a wedding ceremony?
Yes. Weddings should be limited to no more than 30 people and subject to COVID-19 Secure guidelines.
People living outside the lockdown areas may travel into the areas to attend a wedding, but should not go into a private home or garden.
Can I still visit a place of worship in the lockdown area?
Yes, but you must socially distance from people outside of your household. This means maintaining a distance of 2 metres, or 1 metre with mitigations (e.g. face coverings). We recommend at this time that if possible prayer/religious services take place outdoors.
Can funerals still take place in the lockdown areas?
Yes. Funerals should be limited to no more than 30 people and subject to COVID-19 Secure guidelines.
People living outside the lockdown areas may travel into the areas to attend a funeral.
Can I holiday in the lockdown area, or visit shops, leisure facilities, or cafes in it?
Yes. However, you must avoid socialising with people indoors when doing so.
Can I travel in a car with someone I do not live with?
You should try not to share a vehicle with those outside your household or social bubble. If you need to, try to:
share the transport with the same people each time
keep to small groups of people at any one time
open windows for ventilation
travel side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow face away from each other
consider seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle
clean your car between journeys using standard cleaning products – make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch
ask the driver and passengers to wear a face covering
The Department for Transport has provided specific guidance on using private vehicles. Please see their guidance on private cars and other vehicles for more information on car sharing and traveling with people outside your household group.
The Health Secretary Matt Hancock has this evening announced that new rules on social gatherings will be introduced in Northern England to stop the spread of COVID-19. These changes will also apply in Leicester city.
This is in response to an increasing trend in the number of cases per 100,000 people in the area, and data from PHE and the JBC which suggests transmission among households is a key infection pathway in the area.
The areas that these changes apply to are:
The Greater Manchester area
Blackburn with Darwen
It means people in these areas will not be permitted to mix with other households (apart from those in their support bubbles) in private homes or gardens.
Some exemptions will be put in place, including for the vulnerable.
The government will sign new regulations to make these changes legally enforceable.
The regulations will give local authorities and police forces the powers to enforce these restrictions and more details on these will be set out when the regulations are published.
Households may go to hospitality, for instance bars and pubs, but new guidance will make clear that two households should not go to hospitality together.
Meanwhile local leaders and government have today agreed a number of changes to local restrictions in other areas.
While social gathering restrictions remain in place in Leicester City, the area will benefit from the lifting of restrictions that took place on 4 July in England, and all local restrictions currently in place in the neighbouring borough of Oadby and Wigston will end.
It means from Monday 3 August restaurants, cafes, bars and hairdressers in Leicester City can get back to business but leisure centres, gyms and pools will remain closed. In addition, cinemas and museums will open and religious ceremonies will be able to take place.
And on Saturday 1 August, Luton will be brought in line with the rest of the country after significant progress has been made in controlling the virus.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:
We’re constantly looking at the latest data on the spread of coronavirus, and unfortunately we’ve seen an increasing rate of transmission in parts of Northern England.
We’ve been working with local leaders across the region, and today I chaired a meeting of the Local Action Gold Committee. Based on the data, we decided that in Greater Manchester, parts of West Yorkshire and East Lancashire we need to take immediate action to keep people safe.
The spread is largely due to households meeting and not abiding to social distancing. So from midnight tonight, people from different households will not be allowed to meet each other indoors in these areas.
We take this action with a heavy heart, but we can see increasing rates of coronavirus across Europe and are determined to do whatever is necessary to keep people safe.
The restrictions currently in place in Blackburn, announced last Friday, which saw indoor swimming pools, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor gyms and sports facilities remaining closed, will continue.
From Saturday, these leisure facilities will open in Luton, bringing it in line with the rest of the country.
We have been working closely with local leaders across Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and East Lancashire and have made the decision to bring in new restrictions on social gatherings for selected areas.
For those preparing to celebrate Eid Al Adha this weekend with friends and family these restrictions will come as a blow but everyone is being urged to follow the new rules and to protect the ones they love from catching coronavirus.
Mosques and other places of worship have reopened for prayer and communal worship, but in a different socially distanced and COVID-19 Secure way. This means that while mosques can remain open, many will not able to welcome as many worshippers as before.
Anyone with any symptoms must isolate immediately and get a test for free by going online or ringing 119. Everyone must continue to socially distance and regularly their wash hands to help bring this virus down further so all areas of Leicester can return to normal as soon as possible.
Arcadia Library and Leisure Centre has reopened to members on a limited basis from today (25th July 2020). The Centre will open to the public from 1st August with swimming available as well as gym facilities but the library will remain closed for the time being.
Full information on the staged reopening is available HERE
There is a short survey available on re-opening Arcadia Library and Leisure Centre.
“As we look towards the reopening of our centres, we would love to hear from you! Please use the link below to complete our short survey and feel free to share! What do you use most at the centre? What have you missed the most and are you looking forward to coming back.”
The latest service update from Better (operators of Arcadia) on 31 May says:
Reopening plans for our leisure centres will focus on ensuring we have safe, hygienic facilities that make the most of our unique indoor and outdoor spaces, ensuring we can give you plenty of space to use for your chosen exercise.
We are hopeful that some of our centres will be open from early July, but as you will appreciate the final timetable will be driven by the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and the government. We are also working with all other leisure centre and gym providers to develop safe, but customer friendly, systems of operation.
The government has also launched a new Covid Alert Level system administered by the newly created Joint Biosecurity Centre. There are five levels:
Level five (red) – a “material risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed” – extremely strict social distancing
Level four (orange) – a high or rising level of transmission – enforced social distancing
Level three (yellow) – the virus is in general circulation – social distancing relaxed
Level two (green) – the number of cases and transmission are low – minimal social distancing
Level one (green) – Covid-19 is no longer present in the UK – no social distancing
These alert levels currently only apply in England.
At the moment the government has not provided much more than some slides on this new alert system so please click HERE for a summary from the BBC.
As of today (June 1) the alert level remains at Level 4 although the government has confirmed that schools are re-opening to more pupils, shops and businesses are reopening, restrictions on the most vulnerable shielded people are being relaxed and sport is starting up again.
A Test and Trace system has been launched by NHS England. The new service:
ensures that anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus, and also includes targeted asymptomatic testing of NHS and social care staff and care home residents
helps trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for coronavirus and, if necessary, notifies them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus
This system applies in England. Equivalent systems have already been introduced or are being developed in the rest of the UK.
An NHS Phone App has been developed and was said to be the essential basis of the test and trace system but the system has now been launched before the app is ready.
A new test and trace system has been introduced in England (versions of this have been or are soon to be introduced across the UK).
The NHS test and trace service:
ensures that anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus, and also includes targeted asymptomatic testing of NHS and social care staff and care home residents
helps trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for coronavirus and, if necessary, notifies them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus
Please click HERE to find out about the government guidance.
If you show any symptoms of being infected with Covid19 you can get a test HERE.
Please note the NHS app that is being developed is not ready and has not yet been launched outside the trials being done.
What to do if you have a dental problem during the COVID-19 pandemic
If you have a dental issue during lockdown, it is important that you know how to access help when you need it. All high street dental and orthodontic practices can give advice, guidance and prescriptions, which you can collect from your local pharmacy.
If you are in pain or in need of support and need help or advice, please telephone your dental practice in the usual way. If you are not registered with a dentist you can go to https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-dentist or call the dental helpline:
Greater Manchester: 0333 332 3800
This may be because you have severe toothache or a dental infection, or you have noticed other changes inside your mouth such as a white orred patch, a lump or an ulcer that won’t heal. You will be assessed and given advice over the phone, which may result in a remote consultation with a dentist.
To support NHS services, it is important that you do not visit hospitals or doctors’ surgeries with dental problems.
Transport for Greater Manchester has released new travel advice.
“Coronavirus has affected all aspects of our lives, including how we travel.
This week government published a new guide to help people understand if and when they should travel – and how to do so safely during the coronavirus outbreak in England.
The guide gives advice for walking, cycling, driving and travelling on public transport.
The Government’s latest advice is that you should stay at home as much as possible, work from home if you can, stay local and only travel if it is necessary.
If you do have to travel, walk, cycle or drive if you can and continue to avoid public transport unless you have no other option – leave it for those with no alternative.
Increased walking and cycling will be essential to reduce pressure on our roads and public transport networks so please do consider this as one of your options.
If you have to use public transport, please help to keep yourself and others safe:
Wear a face covering when you travel
Keep a distance of 2 metres where possible on platforms, stops, stations and interchanges and while travelling on trams, trains and buses
Wash or sanitise your hands regularly – including before and after you travel – and carry a hand sanitiser with you if possible
Pay using contactless, apps or buy your tickets online if you can
Please be aware that a face covering is not the same as a surgical mask or respirator, these should be left for health and social care staff and other key workers who need them to protect against risks in their workplace.
A cloth face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably. You should wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on and after taking it off. Government has published an online guide on wearing and making a face covering.
Where possible people using public transport should also look to travel outside of peak times in the morning and evening and leave extra time for journeys. Also make sure you check timetables before you travel.
The UK government has released new guidance on its proposed “recovery strategy” described as a “roadmap for how and when the UK will adjust its response to the COVID-19 crisis”. The contents are listed below for reference.
The new guidance provides information on changes to the current restrictions in place since 23rd March 2020 and changes planned for the coming weeks and months.
Please note that although this is identified as guidance from the UK government it only applies in England. The devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have independent responsibility for their own approaches.
Click HERE to view the document on the government website.
The Royal College of Nursing has joined forces with the Royal College of Midwives and UNISON – collectively representing more than a million NHS and public service staff – to campaign for a moment of reflection at 11am on Tuesday 28 April.
The minute’s silence will be held on International Workers’ Memorial Day. It will allow the nation to pay respect to those whose work involved caring, saving lives, and keeping key services running and the rest of the country safe, while showing support for families who have lost a loved one.
RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said:
“We’ve become used to hearing a great roar on a Thursday night for key workers, but this respectful silence will be a poignant reminder of the risks they run to keep us safe. I hope the public gets behind this with the same affection they show when applauding our people.
“The silence is a simple show of respect for those who have paid the very highest price, but their loved ones must know the levels of gratitude we feel as a nation and take some comfort from that.”
The LGBT Foundation has launched a befriending service to help people during the covid19 lockdown.
“Our new telephone befriending programme Rainbow Brew Buddies aims to reduce loneliness for LGBT people across Greater Manchester who may have reduced opportunities to make social connections due to the recent coronavirus outbreak or other circumstances in their life.
Those who sign up for the service will be allocated a buddy, who will have received training from LGBT Foundation and have passed a DBS check. You will then “get-together” over the phone with them for a brew and a chat at least once a week for around 30 minutes.”
Full details are available on the LGBT Foundation website HERE
Government advice on leaving the house for exercise have been updated for people with autism or learning difficulties. The government advice now says:
“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.”
The limit for contactless payment has been raised from £30 to £45. Please remember to check when shopping to help avoid touching keypads. If you exceed the new £45 limit you can also ask for shopping to be put through in more than one payment to ensure you stay below the limit and can use contactless payment. The increase has been rolled out over the last week so should apply in most places.