UK Government statement
This is the full statement the government issued on Monday 23 March 2020.
For full guidance on staying at home and away from others (social distancing) please see: https://bit.ly/StayHome1
New rules on staying at home and away from others
The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.
When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government is now (23 March 2020) introducing three new measures.
- Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
- Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
- Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public
Every citizen must comply with these new measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
These measures are effective immediately. The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.
Staying at home
You should only leave the house for one of four reasons.
- Shopping for basic necessities , for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
- One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household
- Any medical need , or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- Travelling to and from work , but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.
These four reasons are exceptions - even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.
These measures must be followed by everyone. Separate advice is available for individuals or households who are isolating, and for the most vulnerable who need to be shielded.
If you work in a critical sector outlined in this guidance, or your child has been identified as vulnerable, you can continue to take your children to school. Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes.
Closing non-essential shops and public spaces
Last week, the Government ordered certain businesses - including pubs, cinemas and theatres - to close.
The Government is now extending this requirement to a further set of businesses and other venues,
- all non-essential retail stores - this will include clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail alons; and outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets
- libraries, community centres, and youth centres
- indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities
- communal places within parks , such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms
- places of worship, except for funerals attended by immediate families
- hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use (excluding permanent residents and key workers).
More detailed information can be found here, including a full list of those businesses and other venues that must close. Businesses and other venues not on this list may remain open.
Stopping public gatherings
To make sure people are staying at home and apart from each other, the Government is also stopping all
public gatherings of more than two people.
There are only two exceptions to this rule:
- where the gathering is of a group of people who live togethe r - this means that a parent can, for example, take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home
- where the gathering is essential for work purposes - but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.
In addition, the Government is stopping social events, including weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies. This will exclude funerals, which can be attended by immediate family.
Delivering these new measures
These measures will reduce our day to day contact with other people. They are a vital part of our efforts to reduce the rate of transmission of coronavirus.
Every citizen is instructed to comply with these new measures.
The Government will therefore be ensuring the police and other relevant authorities have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings where people do not comply.
They will initially last for the three weeks from 23 March, at which point the Government will look at them again and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.
Five things you can do...
A Surrey-wide campaign, led by the county council and supported by all the Surrey borough and district councils, health care providers, police and other relevant public service agencies has been launched. For more information please visit: www.surreycc.gov.uk/coronavirus
The five things are:
- Keeping up to date and following the official advice at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
- Sharing only official information and guidance from trusted sources – not spreading rumour or panic
- Staying sensible – washing hands regularly, keeping physical distance from each other
- Thinking about what help you need or how you can help
- And making sure we’re keeping in touch with each other and keep our minds healthy
In addition a new community helpline has been established to direct you to services that can help during the coronavirus pandemic.
Community Helpline number: 0300 200 1008 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).
This community phone line is here for two things:
- To help direct residents who need support, such as picking up shopping, prescription collections or having someone who can be a telephone friend, to services who can help.
- To provide advice on where to register your offer of help to support your community.
It is not a medical helpline. For any medical enquiries you need to visit https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/.
We are very aware of the increased need to support vulnerable people across our communities, and the enormous response from people wanting to help in any way they can.
With many people self-isolating or reducing social contact, particularly those who are over 70, it can be a challenge for them to get to their local supermarkets or even have a conversation with someone outside of their home.
Reach out to family, friends and neighbours
Check in regularly on friends and family.
If you know someone who is self-isolating, contact them via phone and text and check that they are ok. By its very nature, self-isolation is a solitary experience and their wellbeing will likely be improved by talking to someone. They may also need assistance in obtaining groceries or medication.
Please be mindful with your comments and actions, so as not to cause undue concern or anxiety.
Public Health England has advised people who are self-isolating to do what they can to avoid visitors to their home and any deliveries of groceries, medications or other shopping to be left at the door so please ensure that when you are providing support this advice is followed.
For those who have been diagnosed with Covid-19, it’s likely to be an anxious time. Due to patient confidentiality, their details will not be publicly confirmed, so please do what you can to respect and protect their privacy, and do not speculate on social media.
If the person you know agrees they need additional help, please contact the community helpline which will direct you to the relevant services
Community Helpline number: 0300 200 1008 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
Epsom and Ewell is renowned for its generosity and its incredible community groups. The role of volunteers at this time is invaluable.
We are working with our trusted partner, Central Surrey Voluntary Action (CSVA) who are registering a pool of potential volunteers who may be able to assist voluntary organisations across Epsom and Ewell during the current pandemic.
Please see - https://www.centralsurreyvoluntaryaction.co.uk/volunteer
Telephone 01372 722911
Social distancing in our open spaces
One of the exceptions of the stay at home rule for those without the Covid-19 symptoms, is that one form of exercise is permitted outside your home each day.
We recognise that our parks and open spaces are excellent places to exercise and to get fresh air, and they are great for physical and mental wellbeing. However, we will have to close them if people do not follow the government’s social distancing instructions.
Unfortunately, due to people not following government instruction and in consultation with the police, we have now had to close our parks to vehicular access.
To ensure that everyone can continue to use our parks and open spaces safely, you must follow all government social distancing instructions.
Some simple rules which you should follow are:
- You must keep two metres distance from people not in your household
- Do not take part in group fitness activities or group dog walks
- Plan ahead, as many amenities, including playgrounds, toilets and cafes are closed
- Stay local
- Epsom Downs is used to train racehorses every morning from 6am to 12 noon. To allow the training to take place safely, do not visit Epsom Downs before 12 noon and please try to avoid the area if you can entirely
- Take your litter home. Our staff are being diverted to deliver critical services, and we need you to take your rubbish home with you rather than using litter bins or littering
- If you arrive and there are crowds return another day or time
- Observe the social distancing rules at ALL times.
Can we also highlight that the cemetery in Ashley Road is an inappropriate location to undertake physical activity (or sun bathing) especially if a funeral is taking place.
We will be monitoring visitor capacity at our parks and open spaces. If necessary we may need to take immediate action to ensure the government’s instructions are followed.
Recycling and waste update
We are doing all we can to maintain our service to collect and process your household rubbish and recycling. Please help us by putting the right thing in the right bin.
Our employees and those of our partners who work in this sector are facing the same pressures we all are over childcare, supporting vulnerable members of their families and self-isolation if they or their families develop symptoms. We have therefore been forced to run the service with reduced staff.
There are inevitably going to be changes to the service, the first of which has been to temporarily suspend the garden waste and bulky items collections.
Surrey County Council has also closed all the community recycling centres (including the one in Blenheim road) to meet government social distancing requirements.
While we will try and maintain collections on the days you are used to, the times we visit may change, So please put your bins out as early as possible and don’t be surprised if we don’t arrive at the normal time – we could be later or earlier (and yes, you do still need to take your bins to the edge of your property, even if self-isolating, just remember to keep two meter minimum distance from others).
Our staff are wearing gloves but are touching a lot of bins, so when you have returned yours to where you store them, make sure you thoroughly wash your hands.
We know that, with a lot of people forced to stay indoors, they may use the opportunity to have a good clear out. Please hold onto your additional rubbish until the normal service resumes, the waste and recycling system will not be able to cope in the present circumstances if inundated.
If anyone within your household has symptoms, the government has said that that personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin. Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.
And finally, please recycle correctly. Last week, the recycling of around 1,200 households in our borough was rejected by the recycling companies because of contamination (food waste, nappies and sanitary waste) placed in the wrong bin by just a few households.
Changes to our services will be highlighted on our website
Changes to the Surrey County Council community recycling centres will be highlighted on their website
Community support hub
We are rapidly setting up a new Community Support Hub to provide support and advice to our most vulnerable residents in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
We have seen a huge increase in the need for the services we provide for the most vulnerable within our community, especially those requiring Meals at Home and our Community Alarm. These services will be run out of the new hub.
In addition, the intention is for the hub to provide the co-ordination and distribution of supplies to those extremely vulnerable residents which the government has identified should be ‘shielded’. The NHS is currently contacting those residents and once we have the relevant guidance from the government we will be able to provide further information to those residents..
Goverment business support
A range of measures have been made available to support businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The measures available to business announced recently by the Chancellor are:
- A Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where small and large employers will be eligible to apply for a government grant of 80% of workers’ salaries up to £2,500 a month. The scheme will be backdated to March 1 and available for at least three months, with first grants to be paid within weeks.
- A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be delivered by the British Business Bank. It will enable businesses to apply for a loan of up to £5 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. Businesses can access the first six months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first six months of interest payments.
- For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide two million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.
- A dedicated helpline to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to coronavirus, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
- A £10,000 cash grant to for the smallest businesses, delivered by local authorities. Small businesses that pay little or no business rates and are eligible for small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief will be contacted by their local authority – you do not need to apply. The funding will be provided to local authorities in early April. Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.
- A business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020/21 tax year A £25,000 grant will also be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
- For further information and updates on these schemes, please visit https://bit.ly/BizSupportSite
For the latest Government guidance on businesses and premises to remain open and close see: https://bit.ly/BizClose
For the new FAQ section on the business support website, see: https://bit.ly/FAQsStayHome
For the latest government guidance regarding support for those that are self-employed see: https://bit.ly/SelfEmployedSupport
For FAQs relating to the scheme, please see: https://bit.ly/SelfEmployedFAQs