West Berkshire Council

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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Find information about community support and our services during the coronavirus pandemic, on our information for residents pages, our information for businesses pages, and our community support hub page which has guidance to help coordinate community organisations.

See a summary of our Local Outbreak Control Plan and read our frequently asked questions. 

COVID: National Lockdown again as cases continue to rise

England has been placed into another National Lockdown as the Prime Minister addressed the nation on Monday 4 January 2021.

stay at home Jan 2021

This means residents and businesses in West Berkshire face another change in restrictions immediately that are similar to the first lockdown we had back in March 2020.

The national lockdown has been implemented due to continued rising levels of COVID infections over the Christmas and New Year period which will see our NHS become overwhelmed in the next 21 days.

With around 1 in 3 people having no symptoms, more people are spreading the virus without realising. Now, more than ever, we need to stay home and save lives.

This is what you can and cannot do under the national restrictions, which will become law on Wednesday 6 January 2021: 

  • You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
  • You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:
    • Shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person.
    • Go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home.
    • Exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
    • Meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one.
    • Seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse).
    • Attend education or childcare - for those eligible.
  • Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. Early Years settings remain open.
  • 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 in the village, town, or part of the city where you live. You may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.
  • If you are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) you are being asked to shield again and should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work.
  • You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).
  • You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.
  • You should not meet other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.

The full guidance is available on the government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home and you can also stay up-to-date on restrictions where you live by using the postcode finder.

As well as the specific restrictions outlined above, residents should continue to follow the "hands, face, space" advice to help reduce the transmission of COVID.

West Berkshire Council will continue to provide support to residents and businesses who are affected by the new national lockdown restrictions that have been put in place: 

  • People in financial hardship due to the pandemic may be eligible for financial support through the COVID Winter Grant Scheme.
  • People on a low income, unable to work from home and losing income because they are required to self-isolate, may be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment
  • Grant funding is available to businesses that have been directly affected or forced to close by COVID restrictions, and some funding is available for businesses who are experiencing particular hardship due to restrictions.

The Public Protection Partnership provides advice for businesses in relation to COVID guidelines and regulations. For more information visit: https://publicprotectionpartnership.org.uk/covid-19.

Cllr Lynne Doherty, Leader of West Berkshire Council, said:

"The announcement last night was a difficult but necessary decision and I know how upsetting this news will be to residents and businesses across West Berkshire.

"The stakes have never been higher in our bid to keep people safe and ensure our health services stay up and running effectively. The hospital admission rates have been rising across the district and across the region, with the past week seeing higher numbers than experienced at any other point during the pandemic in a very short space of time.

"On the plus side we know that there is now a vaccine that will mean this situation will change over the coming months, but in the meantime this is about individual and collective responsibility and I urge our residents to take a moment to stop and think about their behaviour as it is vital that everyone continues to follow the guidance.  Once again our incredible communities need to pull together to ensure we play our part in adhering to the rules to get us through this and slow down the rate of transmission.

"We know many residents have been affected by COVID and will need extra support during this period. I would encourage residents to contact our Community Support Hub using their online form in the first instance and for businesses to visit our website for applications to the business grants available.

"As always, we continue to deliver the vital Council services to our community during these challenging times as best as we can."

 

Residents can find out more information about the latest advice in West Berkshire, and information about local COVID cases, on the Public Health for Berkshire website.

  • The Community Support Hub is open during office hours between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Thursday, or between 8.30am and 4.30pm on Friday.