Somerset Coronavirus Update

All our help and information is now available in a single place on the SCC website https://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-latest-advice/  This page is refreshed through the day so please check in regularly to keep across developments and news.

Public Health dashboard: Detailed Public Health information dashboards are available on our website www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus just scroll down to ‘Covid-19 dashboard’. These are updated daily.

Somerset preparing for mass Covid vaccinations
Plans are fully underway in Somerset to prepare for a mass Covid-19 vaccination roll out now the Government has authorised the Pfizer vaccination for use across the UK, starting from next week.  Somerset County Council is working closely with health colleagues to support the vaccination programme.  This includes having hundreds of Council staff on standby ready to be redeployed to assist the programme and identifying vaccination locations.

We’re working with the NHS on a plan to make the vaccine available to the people of Somerset in a planned way and in line with national guidance – so watch this space for more information shortly.

The Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations will shortly publish its final advice for the priority groups to receive the vaccine, including care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and the clinically extremely vulnerable.

For more information about today’s announcement, check out https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-authorises-pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine

Somerset moves into Tier 2
Somerset is now in Tier 2 following the end of the national lockdown.  The Tier covers all four districts – Mendip, Sedgemoor, South Somerset and Somerset West and Taunton – the area covered by Somerset County Council.

Headline rules include:
Meeting friends and family: no mixing of households indoors, apart from support bubbles. Maximum of six outdoors.
Bars, pubs and restaurants: pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals. Venues must stop taking orders at 10pm and must close by 11pm.
Retail: open.
Work and business: everyone who can work from home should do so.
Education: early years settings, schools, colleges and universities open. Childcare, other supervised activities for children, and childcare bubbles permitted.
Indoor leisure: open.
Accommodation: open.
Personal care: open.
Overnight stays: permitted with household or support bubble.
Weddings and funerals: 15 guests for weddings, civil partnerships, wedding receptions and wakes; 30 for funerals.
Entertainment: open.
Places of worship: open, but cannot interact with anyone outside household or support bubble.
Travelling: reduce the number of journeys you make and walk or cycle if possible. Avoid busy times and routes on public transport. Avoid car sharing with those outside of your household or support bubble. Avoid travelling outside your area, or entering a tier 3 area, other than where necessary such as for work or education. Further exemptions apply.
Exercise: classes and organised adult sport can take place outdoors, but cannot take place indoors if there is any interaction between people from different households. Organised activities for elite athletes, under18s and disabled people can continue.
Residential care: covid-secure arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, and window visits. Outdoor/airtight visits only (rollout of rapid testing will enable indoor visits including contact).
Large events: sport, live performances and business meetings limited to 50% capacity or 2000 people outdoors (whichever is lower) and 50% capacity or 1000 people indoors (whichever is lower).

Full details can be read here: Tier 2 restrictions

Guidance for the Christmas period
Guidance for Christmas in England has been updated. From 2nd December to 23rd December, local restrictions in the tier in which you are staying should be followed – for Somerset that is Tier 2.

From 23rd December to 27th December, you may choose to form a Christmas bubble which allows you to spend time together in private homes, to attend places of worship, or meet in a public outdoor place. From 28th December, you must follow the guidance for the tier in your area and Christmas bubbles will no longer apply:  Christmas period guidance

Opening hours extended for Christmas
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP announced this week that retailers will be able to extend their daily opening hours from Monday to Saturday in the run up to Christmas and through January.

From today, as England returns to a system of tiered restrictions, all non-essential retail across England will be able to reopen, and rules limiting opening hours will be eased to allow shops to be open for longer Monday to Saturday: Opening hours

Browse for books again in Somerset Libraries
Somerset Libraries are delighted to reinstate browsing of shelves for books, talking books and DVDs from today.  Once again, anyone with a library card can come to their local library and choose from thousands of titles and borrow up to 20 items at a time: Somerset libraries

New guide to show coronavirus timeline
We have published a new, at-a-glance guide on checking the incubation period for coronavirus. It shows how important it is to be aware that you can be contagious while showing no symptoms.  It sits alongside our new isolation checker. This sets out what needs to be done if someone in your household shows coronavirus symptoms. You can find it here – scroll down to Covid-19 self-isolation graphic and Covid-19 incubation timeline graphic: Coronavirus – Getting tested (somerset.gov.uk)

Give problem parking a festive break
Waste bosses and fire chiefs are asking Somerset motorists to put the brakes on problem parking this festive season.  The COVID-driven rise in home working has meant more access issues for collection trucks and fire engines as space on residential streets is at a premium.  As they did during the first lockdown, Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) and Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) are urging people to park considerately.

Guidance on moving home during the pandemic
The Government has updated guidance for people moving into homes in England, whether as owner-occupiers or as private or social renters, in line with the local restriction tier system that will be in place in England from 2 December:  Moving to or renting a new house