A more comprehensive national ‘lockdown’ begins in England from Thursday 5 November for at least a month.
This will require the closure of a whole range of non-essential shops, businesses and services that had otherwise been operating with Covid-secure measures since the summer.
Until the new national restrictions take effect, Wirral will continue to be regulated under the conditions of the Liverpool City Region Tier 3 ‘very high risk’ alert status.
And while the renewed ‘lockdown’ will impact people in many ways, some services which were forced to close earlier in the year during the first wave of the pandemic - notably schools – will remain open for the time being.
Apart from ordering certain businesses and venues to close, the new measures will require everyone to stay at home not gather with people from outside of their immediate household, except for specific purposes.
These circumstances include:
- For education;
- For work, if you cannot work from home;
- For exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household, support bubble or on your own with one person from another household;
- For all medical reasons, appointments and to escape injury or harm;
- To shop for food and essentials;
- To provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer
Single-adult households will still be able to form an exclusive support bubble with one other household and children can continue to move between homes if their parents are separated.
Full details of the new guidelines, restrictions and regulations will be confirmed and published on the Gov.uk website. Information on Wirral Council services or other information specific to Wirral will be published on wirral.gov.uk
Other details already confirmed about Thursday’s ‘lockdown’ include:-
- Non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will be closed. Click and collect services can continue and essential shops, including supermarkets, will remain open.
- Pubs, bars, restaurants must close, except for takeaway and delivery services.
- People should work from home wherever possible. Workplaces should stay open where people cannot work from home – for example, in the construction or manufacturing sectors.
- Early years settings, schools, colleges and universities will all remain open. Parents and carers should make sure their children keep attending school. However, universities and adult learning providers should consider increasing online provision where possible.
- Parents will still be able to access registered childcare and other childcare activities where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work. Parents are also able to form a childcare bubble with another household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under.
- Playgrounds will remain open.
- Shielding as practised in the spring will not currently be reintroduced. The clinically vulnerable, or those over the age of 60, should be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise contacts with others. Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable should not only minimise their contacts with others, but also not go to work if they are unable to work from home.
- People cannot travel internationally or within the UK, unless for work, education or other legally permitted exemptions. Overnight stays away from primary residences will not be allowed, except for specific exceptions including for work.
- Inbound international travel will continue to be governed by the travel corridor approach, and those currently on a domestic holiday will be allowed to finish their holidays, but are still subject to the requirements in England not to go out without a reasonable excuse.
- Public services, such as job centres, courts, and civil registration offices will remain open.
- Communal worship in places of worship - except funerals and individual prayer - organised team sports and children’s activities must not take place.
- Elite sport will be allowed to continue behind closed doors as currently.
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, known as the furlough scheme, will remain open until December, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. The cost for employers of retaining workers will be reduced compared to the current scheme, which ends today.
- Non-Covid healthcare needs should continue to be met. Unless clinicians tell patients otherwise, they should continue to use the NHS, get scans and other tests, turn up for all appointments and collect medicines and treatments.
- People should continue to practice the basics of regular handwashing, wearing a face covering when appropriate and social distancing – staying at least two metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or one metre with extra precautions in place, such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors.
Officers across Wirral Council are working hard to apply the details of the new restrictions to their individual area of work and the service they provide to Wirral residents.
Wirral Infobank is a great online resource for information about local support and services including, help to get shopping and medication, employment and training advice, social supermarkets (offering cut price food) and volunteering opportunities.
Help with food, including:
- Priority supermarket delivery slots for people who are vulnerable or self-isolating
- Shopping delivery services by local charities for people who are vulnerable or self-isolating
- Crisis food support and emergency food parcels for people who cannot pay for the food they need from Wirral Foodbank
- Financial help for specific food needs for people with a health condition and/or religious or cultural requirement who cannot afford to pay for their food is available from Wirral’s Coronavirus Helpline on 0151 666 5050 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm) or online at the Council website
Advice and Support
- Benefits, debt advice and housing advice is available from Citizen’s Advice ‘Ask Us Wirral’ on 0300 33 00 11
- Unemployed or self-employed people who are struggling to deal with changes to their income can access ‘Help to Claim’ advice from Citizen’s Advice on 0800 144 8444
- Emotional and wellbeing support for older people is available from Age UK Wirral on 0151 482 3456 or request support online at www.ageuk.org.uk/wirral
- Children and young people can get confidential advice and support from a team of professionals on freephone 0808 196 4147 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)
Test & Trace Support Payment: People who have been advised by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate are entitled to a £500 support payment if they meet all the following conditions:
- they comply with the NHS Test and Trace notification to self-isolate
- they are employed or self-employed
- they are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
- they are in receipt of Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income-based Employment and Support Allowance, Income based Job Seeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.
Applicants on a low income who meet the criteria but are not in receipt of one of the stated benefits may be eligible for a discretionary payment. Visit the Wirral Council website to complete an application or call 0151 666 5050.
Wirral Council’s website contains a range of information and offers the facility for residents to report many things using online forms that go direct to the relevant teams. If you need to speak to someone, however, the phone numbers are as follows:-
- Council Tax, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support and Business Rates: 0151 606 2002. Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
- Roads, pavements, bins and your neighbourhood: 0151 606 2004, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Emergencies and out of hours, 0151 647 7810
- Adult and children’s social care: Adults 0151 514 2222 (option 3). Children 0151 606 2008. Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Emergencies and out of hours, 0151 677 6557
- Other services, including pest control and anti-social behaviour: 0151 606 2004, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
- Automated payment line: 0151 606 2345, open 24 hours.
- Council Switchboard, for all other enquiries: 0151 606 2000. Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Kerbside bin collections
At present, there are no planned changes to how bins are collected. Residents are advised to continue to leave the appropriate bin for collection by 7am on the scheduled day. If the situation changes, this will be communicated to residents on the council website and social media channels.
Household Waste Recycling Centres
As in the rest of the Merseyside, the 'tips' in Wirral are operated by Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA). MRWA have confirmed that it plans to keep all 14 of its Household Waste Recycling Centres open and operational through the next national lockdown period. All of the centres will operate in line with winter opening times 8am - 5pm. There are booking systems in place for all vans at all site, and for cars at the Sefton Meadows, Formby and Rainhill sites only. Please book an appointment online at www.merseysidewda.gov.uk
These arrangements will be kept under constant review depending upon developing local and national guidance, and any changes in coronavirus legislation. Access restrictions will remain in place to control visitor numbers on site at any time and to ensure appropriate social distancing for members of the public and staff. Members of the public are asked to only visit one of the centres if absolutely essential at this time. MRWA will keep its website regularly updated and further information regarding opening at each of the 'tips' can be found at www.merseysidewda.gov.uk and via their social media channels @MerseysideRWA
Council-run sports facilities
All Wirral leisure services will temporarily close their doors again from 9pm on Wednesday 4 November 2020.
The latest restrictions will result in the closure of Wirral Council Leisure Centres including gyms, pools and indoor and outdoor exercise classes at West Kirby, Europa Pools and Guinea Gap Leisure Centres and outdoor football pitches at Bidston Tennis Centre, Leasowe Leisure Centre and Guinea Gap Leisure Centre.
All four municipal golf courses (Hoylake, Arrowe Park, Brackenwood and The Warren) and Wirral Sailing Centre and West Kirby Marine Lake will also be closing.
Swimming lessons will no longer be able to resume as planned. All customers who have recently booked onto the new programme of swimming lessons or who have a block booking on the outdoor football pitches will be guaranteed their booking when facilities reopen and activities recommence.
All subscriptions that have been reinstated during the past six months, including Invigor8 memberships and Swim Wirral lessons, will automatically be frozen from Thursday 5 November meaning that no further direct debit payments will be taken. Cash subscriptions, including annual memberships and three-month licenses, will be extended in line with the closure period. This process is automatic and there is no need for customers to contact the council for this process to be completed. Customers will be notified when facilities are able to reopen and will be provided with details of how to reinstate.
A wide range of free online exercise classes will continue to be available through the Invigor8 Facebook page with over 30 classes each week to choose from including HIIT, Body Conditioning, Revolutions and Yoga. A weekly timetable of online classes is available on the Wirral Leisure website . Classes are live recorded by the councils fully qualified Invigor8 Fitness Team and are saved and available to view in the video library on the page at any time.
Facilities will be closed initially for four-weeks with a review date set by the Government for Wednesday 2 December 2020.
Business as usual. All direct and contracted services, reactive and programmed, will continue.
Marriage and civil partnership ceremonies will be suspended, other than in exceptional circumstances. The register office will remain open for the registration of births and marriages by appointment only and subject to Covid-secure conditions. Call 0151 606 2020 to book, Monday to Friday 9am-4pm. Deaths will be registered by telephone on that number. Certificates can be requested online.
Funerals will continue to take place, attended by a maximum of 30 people. It is advised that only close friends and family attend. Linked ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people in attendance. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble. Attendance limits do not include those working.
Libraries / One Stop Shops
All sites are closed. The ‘click and collect’ service being provided at two of Wirral’s libraries will continue unless otherwise advised.
The government has made education an exemption to the new ‘lockdown’ instructions and stated that early years settings, schools, colleges and universities will all remain open.
Childcare and support bubbles
The government has stated, so far, that parents are still able to form a childcare bubble with another household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under. Children can move between homes if their parents are separated. Support bubbles are also still allowed. Households in that support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit outdoor public places together.
All face-to-face and online classes will go ahead as planned as per the Government advice that education can continue during lockdown provided sufficient safety measures are in place to make sure all learners are as safe as possible. COVID safety measures are in place in all classroom venues and will be constantly reviewed. Specific details will be provided by tutors before and during your classes. Face coverings must be worn in all communal areas (unless exempt) but are not mandatory in the classroom. If you have any further questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
At present, it will be business as usual for services such as ERIC (bulky waste collections), emptying of litter bins, fly-tipping clean-ups and investigations and graffiti removal.
Regulatory services - Licensing, Environmental Health and Trading Standards
Officers will continue to enforce all regulations, including those set out in the COVID-19 legislation.
Theatres and museums
The Floral Pavilion will temporarily close its doors in line with the latest restrictions. The venue will be fully closed, including the outdoor gym, public toilets and cafe and the latter will not be offering a takeaway or delivery service. Williamson Art Gallery and Museum and the Priory both remain closed.
Those public conveniences that have been able to be open since Summer will continue to remain open.
Whilst parks remain open for residents to enjoy fresh air and exercise, certain elements of our parks will be closed including skate parks and tennis courts.
Volunteer activities by our Friends Groups and supporting volunteers will also be suspended whilst the country is in national lockdown.
Birkenhead Park visitor centre
Will remain closed for the duration of the current lockdown, but work will continue behind the scenes to allow it to reopen once restrictions are eased.
Essential retail will continue to remain open, but non-essential will have to close unless they are providing a collection or delivery service to customers who pre-order items.
The information here continues to be subject to change in line with updated local and national guidance and regulations.