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Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee - Wednesday 3 June 2020 10.00 am
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COVID-19 frequently asked questions

As you can imagine we’re being asked a lot of questions at the moment. To make it easier for everyone we’ve pulled together a list of what we’re being asked the most so you can hopefully find what you’re looking for with ease.

Testing

You can apply to get a test if you’re in one of the following groups:

  • all essential workers including NHS and social care workers with symptoms (see the full list of essential workers)
  • people over 65 with symptoms
  • people with symptoms going to work who cannot work from home (for example, construction workers, shop workers, emergency plumbers and delivery drivers)
  • anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus and lives with any of those identified above

Additionally, testing is available to:

  • social care workers and residents in care homes, with or without symptoms, both to investigate outbreaks and, following successful pilots, as part of a rolling programme to test all care homes (see the guidance for care home residents and workers in England)
  • NHS workers and patients without symptoms, in line with NHS England guidance

This means anyone in one of these groups can find out whether they have the virus. Testing is most effective within 3 days of symptoms developing.

These lists apply to England only. ScotlandWales and Northern Ireland have their own lists and criteria.

Apply for a coronavirus test

You can select a regional test site drive-through appointment or home test kit.

Home test kit availability is limited but more will become available.

There is a network of drive-through regional testing sites, along with mobile testing units which travel around the UK to increase access to coronavirus testing.

Watch a video explaining the process for drive-through testing:

Coronavirus tests for essential workers

The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat, which can be done by the person themselves (self-administered) or by someone else (assisted).

Help for people and their communities

At times like this we all need to support each other to cope with the changes to our lifestyles that we have had to make so we can delay the spread of Covid-19.

That’s why the county council has helped set up Gloucestershire’s community help hub to match local people who need help, with others who can provide the help they need.

This hub is a collaboration between all local councils, the police and health services.

You can register online here

If you do not have access online you can now register with the county's community help hub by calling 01452 583519 Monday to Friday between 8.30 am and 5 pm.

You can register to join Gloucestershire’s community help hub

If you do not have access online you can call 01452 583519 Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 5pm and Saturday - Sunday 9 am - 4 pm.

Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) services

The county council is doing everything possible to maintain vital services for the people of Gloucestershire. So that we can continue to focus on the county’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and ensure our staff and the community stay as safe as possible, we have changed the way we run some of our services. We know we can’t do everything so we need to prioritise and we have closed some of our services to prevent unnecessary public contact in line with the latest government advice. You can find the latest information about our services online.

General Updates

General NHS advice on Covid-19 can be found on the NHS Coronavirus pages

If you need medical help for any reason, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. If you have symptoms of coronavirus (high temperature or a new, continuous cough), use the 111 coronavirus service.

Gov.uk advice including employment advice, education, business, healthcare workers, travel and public services can be found online here: Government advice

All six of our local district councils have set up Covid-19 advice pages:-

If you have been identified as Extremely Vulnerable and you require a priority online shopping slot you must register on the Gov.uk website and answer No to the question Do you have a way of getting essential supplies delivered at the moment?

This information will then be shared with the supermarkets and you will be able to access the priority delivery slots.

You will also receive the weekly government essential food parcel. If you do not require the food parcel you can refuse to accept it when it is delivered and go back onto the Gov.uk website and change your answer to Yes.
This will stop the food parcel and will not affect the supermarket priority status.

It is important that you answer No in the first instance to obtain your supermarket priority status.

Here is some information from some of the main power suppliers;

Businesses

Government information on support for businesses can be found on their Business Support web site.

Locally, the GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership is compiling support advice for businesses which can be found online on the fiirstLEP web site

The Government is providing additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

Gloucestershire’s district councils are responsible for the local distribution of the government’s Small Business Grant Funding. Find out more about the range of business support available from the government's Business Support site.

Government guidance on the closure of all retailers that sell non-essential goods and other non-essential premises can be found on WWW.GOV.UK

The government has announced protection for businesses during this time which can be found on WWW.GOV.UK

You can find out more information for employees, employers and businesses on WWW.GOV.UK

Schools

We have produced a list of frequently asked questions about the re-opening of schools which can be found on our Community Help Hub.

If you can't find the answer in our schools FAQs a dedicated phone line and email address have been set up to help parents with all school-related enquiries, including questions relating to free school meals

You can find out more information about key workers and childcare arrangements on WWW.GOV.UK

Guidance on how to access free school meals can be found on our Community Help Hub

Parents should contact their school in the first instance. Schools are currently working on the best way to get FSM vouchers for free school meals to families who need them. More information will be available soon. The government announcement about free school meals can be found on WWW.GOV.UK

 

Parking

Hospital car parks are managed and run by the local NHS trust rather than the county council. Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has waived its normal staff parking permit fees.

Gloucestershire County Council has designated some free on-street parking to support health and social care workers as they provide vital services to communities during the Covid-19 outbreak. The bays are located in Bath Road, College Road and Keynsham Road, Cheltenham and are clearly signed, a free valid permit will need to be obtained via MiPermit. The NHS also runs a free shuttle bus service for staff working at the county’s two main hospitals.

The council’s parking officers will continue to be out and about to ensure certain safety measures are being adhered to, including yellow lines (single and double), loading bays, taxi ranks, bus stops and blue badge bays in urban areas.

Parking officers will continue to enforce these restrictions in the normal way, to ensure emergency services are not stopped from gaining access to those who need their help, as well as allowing public transport and the vulnerable to access town centres. Officers will be following the guidelines on social distancing.

For general information please visit our parking webpage.

Public services and local government

For urgent decisions, the usual rules will apply as set out in the constitution. The chair of the relevant scrutiny committee must agree that the decision needs to be made urgently, and a notice will be published giving the reasons for urgency. Where such decisions are outside the council’s policy framework or budget, the constitution requires prior consultation with group leaders.

For routine decisions that were scheduled to be taken by the Cabinet, they will now be taken as Cabinet Member decisions. The usual requirements around publication of forthcoming executive decisions, decision reports and decision statements will continue to apply. We will aim for decisions to be taken on the date of the planned cabinet meeting. Understandably implementation of some of these decisions may be delayed or deferred in light of the current situation. 

The NHS in Gloucestershire is taking responsible steps to plan ahead and respond to the unfolding Covid-19 situation. The latest information from the NHS locally can be found on the NHS Gloucestershire CCG web site.

You will find this information on Gloucestershire Constabulary’s website

Advice has been issued by the Local Government Association (LGA) which explains that local elections, mayoral elections and police and crime commissioner elections have been postponed until 2021. No other elections, by-elections or referenda should be held. Further legal advice on local elections and on handling casual vacancies on councils is expected and will be shared by the LGA.

No. All councillors will follow the government guidance in place at any given time on avoiding unnecessary contact.

Employment

Up to date government guidance for employees, employers and businesses can be found on WWW.GOV.UK.

Citizens Advice has some useful information online about COVID-19 and work-related issues on their web site

You can find out more information about key workers and childcare arrangements on WWW.GOV.UK.

Social distancing/Isolation

Government guidance on ‘self-isolation’ can be found on WWW.GOV.UK

Government guidance on social distancing can be found on WWW.GOV.UK

Government advice for people at high risk on WWW.GOV.UK

The government have published answers to the most commonly asked questions, for example, when are you allowed to leave your house, can you walk your dog and can you see your friends. All have been answered on the government website so you know what you can and cannot do.

Visiting people

Prisons in England and Wales are closed to visitors from 24 March. This is to ensure the safe and secure functioning of our prisons while enforcing social distancing.

Find out more on WWW.GOV.UK

You can find the most recent guidance and updates on social distancing on WWW.GOV.UK.

The government have issued advice on home moving which you can find on WWW.GOV.UK.

Registration services

Following the government announcement on 10 May, Gloucestershire Registration Services are currently unable to undertake any ceremonies until current restrictions have been lifted. Find out more on our Registration pages

We are currently unable to offer any services relating to the production of copy certificates until further notice.

We are currently unable to undertake any birth registrations in line with the Prime Minister’s announcement on the 23 March 2020. Birth registration appointments will now be deferred until we are through the current pandemic period.

A claim for child benefit or universal credit can be made prior to the birth being registered, where you have not been able to do so because of the measures currently in place.

If your baby isn’t registered with a GP but needs to see one, you can receive emergency treatment from any GP surgery. Most GP surgeries will be able to register your baby as a patient online or over the phone.

Due to the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation, no face to face death registration appointments are being offered in our offices. All deaths will now be registered via a telephone appointment. When booking an appointment, please ensure you are in a position to take a phone call that is likely to last approximately 45 minutes.

Please contact 01452 425060 to book an appointment and ensure you confirm the most appropriate contact number.

If you have not been advised that a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death has been emailed to Registration please do not book an appointment. We are unable to Register a Death without this.

Please monitor our Registration page for any further updates.

We are sorry for your loss. Public Health England has published new guidance on WWW.GOV.UK to ensure funerals are conducted safely, consistent with social distancing principles.

Council Tax/legislation

Council tax helps fund essential services which people rely on now more than ever, therefore your council will not be suspending payments at this time.

Please contact the local district council who collects your council tax – you can find information online by following the links below:

More information about this legislation and its impacts is available on the government website WWW.GOV.UK

Transport, roads and travel

In light of the Covid-19 crisis and following the Government’s advice to limit non-essential travel, temporary changes to bus services were introduced from Monday 30 March. More details can be found in our latest news.

Travel time restrictions on concessionary travel passes have been lifted – you can read more in our latest news

Emergency highways repairs are our priority at the moment. Crews will be moved away from less urgent scheduled work to focus resources on these emergency repairs helping to maintain a safe network.

Potholes are still being fixed. Please continue to report any highways issues online through Highways Report-It so our emergency crews can take a look.

The government has issued advice to British travellers asking them to return to the UK if they are able to. View the advice on the WWW,GOV.UK news pages. Further guidance is available on the main WWW.GOV.UK site.

Support for those not online/no internet access

Many providers and voluntary organisations are transferring their support to phone services. For example, Age UK, GL11 in Dursley and Cotswold Friends in the North Cotswolds have set up telephone services in place of face to face meetings.

The community hub has been set up to match people who need assistance with others who can help. Please read more on the community hub pages.

If you are unable to use the online forms we have a phone line available, please call 01452 583519. This is a priority telephone line for people who need help or are volunteering, please do not use it for reporting other issues.

The lines are open Monday – Friday 8 am – 8 pm and Saturday - Sunday 9 am - 4 pm

Household waste and recycling

From Tuesday 26 May, the HRC at Pyke Quarry, Horsley will re-open with Oak Quarry near Coleford opening on Wednesday 27 May.
Hempsted and Wingmoor Farm Household Recycling Centres reopened on 11th May & Fosse Cross on 18 May 2020.

Visitors to all Household Recycling centres are required to prebook their visit in order to gain access to the sites. Social distancing will be required on-site, and in order to minimise queues and waiting times the number of booking slots available will be limited.

Status of Household Recycling Centres and booking information

Service updates will be posted on gloucestershirerecycles.com

Yes, your local council is working hard to maintain your kerbside collection services, but this is subject to change - check your local council website for up to date details about bin collections.

Please report fly-tipping to your local district council so they can investigate.

 

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