Covid-19 Rules

Some answers to questions you may have about the new Coronavirus restrictions which have been announced for our community within Merseyside.

What are the new measures?


From Tuesday 22 September, regulations will lawfully ban the following:

  • Residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens
  • Hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service  only
  • Late night restriction of operating hours will be introduced, with leisure and entertainment venues required to close between 10pm to 5am.

Residents are also advised to adhere to the following guidance to further reduce rates of infection:

  • Only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work
  • Holidays should be taken only with people from your own household or support bubble
  • Not  attend amateur and semi-professional sporting events as  spectators.



Where are the measures being introduced in our area?


Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, St Helens, Halton and  Warrington.



Why are the measures being introduced?


These measures will help to address the significant rise in coronavirus cases in the region in recent weeks.


There is an increased risk of transmission the more people who gather together. Data shows an increased rate of transmission in homes, at parties, pubs and  restaurants.


We are doing everything we can to protect our most vulnerable, keep businesses open and children in school, which these measures will help with.



How long will it last?


It will be monitored closely and reviewed regularly. The next steps will depend on the impact the measures have.



What are the household changes?


You must not meet people who do not live with you or are not part of your support bubble, either indoors or outdoors, unless for the specific purposes mentioned below.


People should only come inside your home for specific purposes:

  • where everyone in the gathering lives together or is in the same support bubble
  • to attend a birth at the mother’s request
  • to visit a person who is dying (the visitor can be someone the dying person lives with, a close family member, friend or, if none of those is visiting, anyone else)
  • to fulfil a legal obligation
  • for work purposes, or for the provision of voluntary or charitable  services
  • for the purposes of education or training
  • for the purposes of childcare provided by a registered  provider
  • for the purposes of childcare for children under the age of 14 or vulnerable adults, when it is necessary for caring purposes
  • to provide emergency assistance
  • to enable one or more persons in the gathering to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm
  • to facilitate a house move
  • to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
  • to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children where the children do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents.



Do these measures affect childcare?


You can continue to use early years and childcare settings, including childminders  and providers offering before or after school clubs or other out-of-school settings for children. You can also continue to employ nannies, including those living outside of the region.


Children of parents who are separated can continue to move between  households.


UPDATE: On  Monday 21 September, the Government announced that formal and informal  arrangements for caring for children under 14 or vulnerable adults can continue.  An example would include where a grandparent looks after a child so a parent can  go out to work. Or taking them and picking them up from school. It does not allow for play dates and parties.



What is a support bubble?


A support bubble is a close support network between a household with only one adult in the home (known as a single-adult household) and one other household of  any size.


Once you’re in a support bubble, you can think of yourself as being in a single  household with people from the other household. It means you can have close  contact with that household as if they were members of your own household.


Once you make a support bubble, you should not change who is in your bubble.


You should not have multiple bubbles.



Do these measures affect access to education?


No.  Schools, colleges and universities remain open and are operating in a COVID-secure way. University students must follow the specific guidance and rules set by their university.



Does my child need to wear a face covering at school?


Unless exempt, in education settings where students in Year 7 and above are educated, including middle schools, face coverings should be worn by staff, visitors and students when moving around in corridors and communal areas.


Parents must wear a face covering when dropping off and picking up children at school, and socially distance from others.



Can I travel outside the area for work or school?


Yes, people living inside and outside of these areas can continue to travel for work or school. Workplaces and schools themselves should also be implementing  Covid-secure measures.


Can I go to someone’s house in an area not subject to the  restrictions?


You should not visit anyone’s home inside or outside of the restricted area (except  for your support bubble).



Can I go to a care home?


Garden/outside visits at care homes are allowed, although homes with active cases of COVID-19  will not be allowing visitors.


If you are planning to visit relatives in care homes outside the affected areas, then check with the care home prior to travelling to ensure that they are still  open to visits from family members.



What are the changes for the hospitality venues?


The following must close from 10pm to 5am:

  • Pubs
  • Bars and restaurants (including hotel dining rooms and members’  clubs)
  • Cafes including workplace canteens (but not including cafes or canteens at hospitals, care homes, prisons, establishments intended for the use of naval, military or air force purposes and for providing food or drink to the homeless)
  • Social clubs
  • Cinemas
  • Theatres
  • Casinos
  • Bingo halls and concert halls
  • Amusement arcades or other indoor leisure centres or facilities
  • Static/fixed funfairs (indoors or outdoors), theme parks, and adventure parks and  activities


During opening hours (5am to 10pm), there should be table service-only, including ordering drinks and food.


As elsewhere in the country, venues must also take details of customers for NHS Test and Trace.


Between 10pm and 5am each day hot food takeaways can only operate a delivery  service.

Travelling funfairs are also prohibited.



Can I  still go to a hospitality venue or public venues with people who don’t live with me?


Yes, as long as the size of the group does not exceed six – BUT you need to maintain social distance with people who do not live in your household or support bubble, continue with good hand hygiene and wear a face covering where appropriate. If  this is not possible you should only visit with members of your own household or support bubble. People are advised to only visit COVID-safe premises that are  visibly adhering to the guidelines.



Why can I visit the pub but not my relative’s house?


This is because the hospitality industry has enhanced measures, such as risk assessments and test and trace, which private homes don’t have.



Can my wedding go ahead?


Weddings can go ahead with a maximum of 30 people in attendance.


Anyone working at these ceremonies or events are not included as part of the person limit.


These events should comply with the COVID-19 secure guidance and venue capacity. See detailed guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships.



Can people living outside Merseyside come to my wedding?


People living outside of Merseyside can travel to these areas to attend a wedding, civil partnership ceremony or funeral, but they must not meet with another household in a private home or garden.



How many people can attend a funeral?


A maximum of 30 people should attend a funeral.


Anyone working at these ceremonies or events are not included as part of the person limit.


You cannot host a wake for anyone outside your own household or support bubble in your home or garden.



Can we have a wake in a public venue?


Gatherings in a hospitality setting are limited to 6 people and you must socially distance with those not from your household.



Do the restrictions apply to places of worship?


You may attend a mosque, church, synagogue, temple or other place or worship, but  you should socially distance from people outside of your household. This means maintaining a distance of 2 metres, or 1 metre with mitigations (such as wearing face coverings).


If possible, prayer or religious services should take place  outdoors.



What are the changes to playing sports?


Unless formally organised by a sports club or similar organisation, with guidance issued by a sports governing body, team sports should not take place at an  indoor or outdoor venue with people who you don’t live with.


You should not be a spectator at any amateur/semi-professional sports events, for example going to watch your child play football on a Saturday morning.



Can I travel to play sport outside of the areas with restrictions?


Yes.



Can I go to the gym, gym class or a swimming pool?


Yes, as long as these venues have the required Covid-secure risk assessments and guidelines in place. You should stay 2 metres away from other people.



Can I go to the park and other outdoor space with others?


You can go with members of your household and others as long as the total number of  people in the group does not exceed six and you follow social distancing rules with those not in your household.



Can I have someone in my house (or go into someone’s house) to do repairs or other work?


Official/registered tradespeople can go to other people’s homes for work purposes as long as you follow national guidance on how to work safely there.



Can I still go on holiday?


You can still go on holiday within the UK or abroad, but you should only do this with people you live with (or have formed a support bubble with). You need to follow any rules in the area you visit and be aware of the self-isolation rules  when travelling to and from certain countries.


People can visit the region on holiday but must comply with the local restrictions.



What about public transport and car sharing?


Residents are advised to only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work. Examples of essential travel include: travelling to work, getting essential food or medical supplies, supporting someone who is vulnerable, travelling to and from the homes of others in your support bubble, fulfilling legal obligations, going to an early years or educational setting, or  travelling to medical care to avoid illness, injury or harm.


Face coverings must be worn unless exempt. You are advised not to share a car with  those outside your household or support bubble, and to use public transport for essential journeys instead.


Please note that private hire taxis and hackney cabs are not classed as public transport. 



Are the airport, train stations and ports still open?


Yes



Can I move home?


Yes



What about people who were previously shielding?


People with health conditions and those who were asked to shield are still particularly vulnerable and need to take special care during this worrying period and to be extra cautious and follow the new guidance.



What support is available for vulnerable residents?


Wirral Borough Council has established a website to help people who have been asked to self-isolate and have NO means of support from friends, family, or neighbours, to remain at home. Get in touch if you need help with:

  • Shopping
  • Emergency Foodbanks
  • Collecting Prescriptions
  • Or just having a friendly voice just to speak to


Find the website and get the helpline number at www.wirralinfobank.co.uk



Support for people on low incomes who are self-isolating (from 28  September)


People in Wirral who are working or self-employed and on a low income, who must self-isolate due to Covid-19 and cannot work from home, will soon be able to  claim a £500 lump-sum payment from the government.


From Monday 28 September, people with Covid-19 symptoms will be required to self-isolate by law. To help those who on low incomes who are unable to work from home, the government has  announced it will be providing the £500 ‘Test and Trace Support’  payment.


The scheme will be expected to be up and running by Monday 12 October.  Anyone self-isolating from Monday 28 September onwards will receive a back-dated payment.


You have to be in work or self-employed, but unable to work and, for the mandatory scheme,  in receipt of a means tested benefit.



What do I do if I see someone breaking the rules?


If an individual is breaching restrictions, you can report it to Merseyside Police by calling 101 or find the Merseyside Police Contact Centre on Facebook and message them. The police will assess the circumstances to determine the appropriate action.


Once the legislation is in place, the police or the local authority will be able to take action against those who break these rules, including asking people to disperse and issuing fixed penalty notices starting at £100 for those who participate in illegal gatherings.


People aged 18 or over will be able to be fined:

  • £100 for the first offence, lowered to £50 if paid within 14 days
  • £200 for the second offence, then doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of £3,200.