New Local Testing Site Opened In Epsom

A new walk-through coronavirus testing facility has opened for those with symptoms to book appointments at the Upper High Street Car Park (KT17 4DU) in Epsom, as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to continue to improve the accessibility of coronavirus testing for local communities.

Testing at this site is only available for those with coronavirus symptoms – a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. Anyone with one or more of these symptoms should book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. The government is committed to continue expanding the capacity of the network of UK test sites and laboratories to make it even easier to get tested and reduce the time it takes to receive test results.

The new site is situated so it is easily accessible without a car. Those being tested will be required to follow public health measures, including social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practicing good personal hygiene and wearing a face covering throughout, including while travelling to and from the testing centre. 

Anyone attending an appointment at a walk-through test site will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the test site safely, with additional support for vulnerable groups and people with disabilities.

Testing at the new site started on Tuesday, 16th February, with appointments made available each day.

The site is part of the largest network of diagnostic testing facilities created in British history which has the capacity to process more than 700,000 tests a day and includes more than 800 sites across the UK, including 88 drive-through sites, 493 walk-through sites, six Lighthouse laboratories, home testing and satellite kits, and a large number of mobile units.

Anyone testing positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them trace their contacts. This will help to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.

Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, asking them to stay at home for ten days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book a test if they develop symptoms.

Health Minister, Lord Bethell, said: To respond to the coronavirus, we have built a major testing and tracing system from scratch. We are constantly working to expand and improve it with new technologies and innovations so everyone with symptoms can get a test.

“New walk-in sites like this one makes it even easier to get a test no matter where you live. If you have symptoms of coronavirus, I urge you to book a test today and follow the advice of NHS Test and Trace if you are contacted to protect others and stop the spread of the virus.”

Baroness Dido Harding, Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said: “Walk-through sites offer communities better access to coronavirus testing, so everyone with symptoms can get a test. This new site is part of our ongoing work to expand our testing network across the UK which now has the capacity to process more than 700,000 tests a day. We will continue to expand capacity to improve test turnaround times and push forward testing innovations to make sure anyone who needs a test can get one.

 “Please book a test if you have coronavirus symptoms: a new continuous cough, a high temperature and a loss or change in sense of smell or taste, and follow the advice of NHS Test and Trace if you are contacted.”

 The testing centre is being operated in partnership with Serco and will offer self-administered tests.

 Jonathan Brasher, Serco’s Director for Testing Centres, said: “We are pleased to be supporting the Government, in their work to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, as one of the providers managing testing centres, including this new local test centre in Epsom.

“I would like to thank all my colleagues within Serco who work extremely quickly and professionally to set up these testing centres, alongside the other organisations involved. I know that they are proud to be playing their part to help deliver this vital programme.”

Asymptomatic Coronavirus Test Centre

Normally at this time of year Bourne Hall is getting ready to host Herald of Spring with What’s On In Epsom Spring Craft Fair but like most events since March 2020 this will not be taking place this year. Today in the fight against Covid a new Asymptomatic Coronavirus test centre has opened at Bourne Hall for those essential workers who are not tested in the workplace and show no signs of any symptoms. I went along to get tested and to show you what to expect.

To get a test you must book via Surrey County Council website CLICK HERE The site also has information on who can have the test.

The first thing to note is that the Car Park at Bourne Hall is still pay and display so you will need to allow for this on your arrival. If you have Ring Go on your phone you can pay via the app. 

Entrance to the test centre is to the left of the main entrance, the main entrance is for click and collect from the library,  At the entrance to the site you are met and shown to the Registration area. 

Here you will need to show proof of your address, tests are for residents of Surrey, and your test booking. Staff are on hand to sign you in. Once completed you will be shown to one of the 10 bays for your test.

Here you will be explained the test procedure and you start by blowing your nose. Once you are happy to start you will be handed a swab. Holding the swab in your hand, you open your mouth wide and gently rub the swab’s fabric tip over both tonsils at the back of the throat for 10 seconds, I must say I don’t like this bit at all, Once completed you put the same end of the swab gently into one of your nostril until you feel some resistance. Rotate the swab for 10 to 15 seconds and slowly remove it. 

You then place the swab in the tube provided and break off the tip of the swab and hand back to the member of staff. The test is now complete and you are shown the way out at the other end of the hall turning left down the corridor and back out into the car park near the Way Out gate of Bourne Hall.

I did noticed on my way out that the bays are cleaned thoroughly after each person has been tested and from the time you enter the building till the time you leave you are required to wear a face mask.

I was in and out in no time at all with the result texted to my phone after 30 mins. I must say the staff are very helpful, friendly and understanding.

As well as Bourne Hall you can also have your test done at Nima Pharmacy in Stoneleigh

For More Information or To Book A Test CLICK HERE

A big thank you to Ben and the team at Bourne Hall and to  Surrey County Council for allowing us to visit and take photos.

Oh and by the way I tested negative…..

Statement From Surrey Heartlands NHS

As cases of Covid-19 continue to rise across the South-East, including Surrey, our hospitals are very busy and we expect that to continue over the coming weeks.  As a result, the local NHS has been working as a system to put measures in place that will enable us to prioritise how we provide care, focusing on those patients who are critically ill.

Dr Claire Fuller, Senior Responsible Officer for Surrey Heartlands explains more:

“Due to the unprecedented impact of Covid-19 on local NHS services, we are doing all we can as a health and care system, to increase capacity. This includes opening more beds and redeploying staff to support our Covid-19 response, wherever we can.

However, to ensure we keep vital NHS services running we recognise that this isn’t enough and we now need to prioritise how we provide some care services to our community. This is not a decision we have taken lightly but we must focus our efforts on those who are critically ill and need the most urgent care. This means we have now postponed many routine and non-urgent elective procedures and operations to focus on urgent and cancer care, including caring for those with Covid-19.”

These new measures include:

  • Opening up additional beds within our acute and community hospitals to help create additional capacity for people who need to be admitted. This includes plans to open additional beds at the NHS Seacole Centre.
  • Prioritising urgent and cancer care over non-urgent care. This has meant postponing some routine planned elective procedures and non-urgent operations to help create additional bed capacity and free up staff to support our Covid-19 response.
  • Moving to virtual (telephone and online) appointments for many outpatient services to reduce the number of people travelling to hospitals and other sites to reduce transmission.
  • Working together as a system, across health and social care, to discharge people from hospitals as soon as they are well enough to leave, with the right support and the right package of care.
  • Working with our independent sector partners (such as private hospitals) to identify any additional bed capacity and any clinical staff that could be deployed to other sites if needed.
  • Temporarily suspending home birth services due to ongoing pressures on the ambulance service which means SECAMB are unable to guarantee a timely ambulance response to those women choosing to plan their birth at home or in a stand-alone midwifery unit should they experience an emergency.

Importantly, patients who have booked appointments should still attend; if we need to reschedule an appointment patients will be contacted directly. 

Dr Fuller continues:  “I would like to thank all our staff and partners across Surrey Heartlands, for everything they are doing at what remains a challenging and exceptionally busy time.  The measures we have put in place will allow us to care for those who need the most urgent help over the next few weeks; we will of course keep the situation under constant review so we can restore these non-urgent services as soon as possible.  In the meantime, NHS services are available if you really need us; spotting problems early is vital, especially cancers, and GPs continue to refer patients who need urgent treatment to hospitals as normal.  And if you do have a booked appointment it’s really important that you attend.

Finally, we would like to thank the public for their support and to remind people to follow the national guidance to reduce the spread of Covid-19; this is critical in helping to protect our families, keep frontline services running and save lives. The pressure will stay on the NHS as long as the infection rates stay high.”

Ahead of the New Year bank holiday, Dr John De Vos, Consultant and Clinical Lead for Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust’s Covid isolation unit added:

 “Everyone please stay safe and please, please follow the rules they are there for a reason. We are seeing this increase in numbers and we need to all work together to try and get that number down and prevent the spread of Covid further. Together we can do this. It’s been a very, very tough year but we’ll get through this and we’re continuing to be here for you.”

He went on to explain how people can support their local NHS at this time, saying: “If you feel unwell and you feel like you maybe need to come to hospital please contact NHS 111 (online via www.nhs.uk or by calling 111) they can give you the right advice. This will help us from overcrowding our Emergency Department and the hospital. Of course, if you feel acutely unwell you should continue to attend the hospital or ring 999.”

As a reminder, if you or someone in your household show symptoms of the virus, or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace, please self-isolate straight away. If you have symptoms of Covid-19 you can book a test by calling 119.  NHS services are still available if you need us. Spotting problems early is vital, especially cancers. GPs are continuing to refer patients who need treatment to hospitals as normal.

Tier 4

The Prime Minister has announced as from 00:01 am on Sunday 20th Dec London and South East , those already in Tier 3, will move into a new Tier 4 due to the increase of new covid-19 cases.

So what does this mean? Here are the official rules plus how to get financial help if your business has been affected

Stay at home

You must not leave or be outside of your home except for where you have a specific purpose, or a ‘reasonable excuse’. A reasonable excuse includes:

Work and volunteering

You can leave home for work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home (including if your job involves working in other people’s homes).

Essential activities

You can leave home to buy things at shops which are permitted to open in your area, but you should stay local. For instance you can leave home to buy food or medicine, or to collect any items – including food or drink – ordered through click-and-collect or as a takeaway, to obtain or deposit money (e.g. from a bank or post office), or to access critical public services (see section below).

You may also leave home to fulfil legal obligations, or to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property, or vote in certain elections taking place overseas.

Education and childcare

You can leave home for education (formal provision, rather than extracurricular classes such as music or drama tuition, or out of school settings) or training, registered childcare and supervised activities for children that are necessary to allow parents/carers to work, seek work, undertake education or training, or attend a medical appointment. Parents can still take their children to school, and people can continue existing arrangements for contact between parents and children where they live apart. This includes childcare bubbles.

Meeting others and care

1 in 3 people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and will be spreading it without realising it.

You can leave home to visit people in your support bubble, or to provide informal childcare for children aged 13 and under as part of a childcare bubble, to provide care for vulnerable people, to provide emergency assistance, attend a support group (of up to 15 people), or for respite care where that care is being provided to a vulnerable person or a person with a disability, or is a short break in respect of a looked after child.

Exercise and recreation

People can also exercise outdoors or visit some public outdoor places, such as parks, the countryside, public gardens or outdoor sports facilities. You can continue to do unlimited exercise alone, or in a public outdoor place with your household, support bubble, or one other person.

Medical reasons, harm and compassionate visits

You can leave home for any medical reason, including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies, to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse),or for animal welfare reasons – such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment.

You can also leave home to visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home (if permitted under care home guidance), hospice, or hospital, or to accompany them to a medical appointment.

Communal worship and life events

You can leave home to attend a place of worship for communal worship, a funeral or a related event for someone who has died, or to visit a burial ground or a remembrance garden, or to attend a wedding – but funerals, linked events and weddings are all subject to limits on the numbers that can attend (see below).

Meeting others safely

In general, you must not meet with another person socially or undertake any activities with another person. However, you can exercise or meet in a public outdoor place with people you live with, your support bubble (or as part of a childcare bubble), or with one other person.

You should minimise time spent outside your home. When around other people, stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household – meaning the people you live with – or your support bubble. Where this is not possible, stay 1 metre apart with extra precautions (e.g. wearing a face covering).

You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble.

You can exercise or visit a public outdoor place

  • by yourself
  • with the people you live with,
  • with your support bubble,
  • or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household.

Children under 5, and up to two carers for a person with a disability who needs continuous care are not counted towards the outdoors gatherings limit.

Public outdoor places include:

  • parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
  • public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
  • allotments
  • the grounds of a heritage site
  • outdoor sports courts and facilities
  • playgrounds

You cannot meet people in a private garden, unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them.

You must wear a face covering in many indoor settings, such as shops or places of worship where these remain open, and on public transport, unless you are exempt. This is the law. Read guidance on face coverings.

Support and childcare bubbles

There is separate guidance for support bubbles and childcare bubbles across all tiers. You can form a support bubble with another household if any of the following apply to you:

  • you are the only adult in your household (any other members of the household having been under 18 on 12 June 2020), or are an under 18 year old living without any adults
  • you live with someone with a disability who requires continuous care and there is no other adult living in the household
  • you live with a child under 1, or who was under 1 on 2 December 2020
  • you live with a child under 5, or who was under 5 on 2 December 2020, with a disability

You may need to change your support bubble if your circumstances change. Find out more about changing your support bubble.

Where and when you can meet in larger groups

There are still circumstances in which you are allowed to meet others from outside your household or support bubble in larger groups, but this should not be for socialising and only for permitted purposes. A full list of these circumstances will be included in the regulations, and includes:

  • for work, or providing voluntary or charitable services. This includes picketing outside workplaces. This can include work in other people’s homes where necessary – for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople. See guidance on working safely in other people’s homes). Where a work meeting does not need to take place in a private home or garden, it should not – for example, although you can meet a personal trainer, you should do so in a public outdoor public place.
  • in a childcare bubble(for the purposes of childcare only)
  • for registered childcare, or for supervised activities for children where this enables a parent to work, seek work, attend education or training, or for respite care
  • education or training – meaning education related to a formal curriculum or training that relates to work or obtaining work
  • for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
  • to allow contact between birth parents and children in care, as well as between siblings in care
  • for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
  • for birth partners
  • to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
  • to see someone who is dying
  • to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
  • for gatherings within criminal justice accommodation or immigration detention centres
  • to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable, or to provide respite for a carer
  • for a wedding or equivalent ceremony in exceptional circumstances, as set out below.
  • for funerals – up to a maximum of 30 people. Wakes and other linked ceremonial events can continue in a group of up to 6.
  • to visit someone at home who is dying, or to visit someone receiving treatment in a hospital, hospice or care home, or to accompany a family member or friend to a medical appointment
  • for elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) to compete and train
  • to facilitate a house move

Support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support – but they must take place at a premises other than a private home. This includes, but is not limited to, support to victims of crime, people in drug and alcohol recovery, new parents and guardians, people caring for those with long-term or terminal illnesses, or who are vulnerable, people facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, those who have suffered bereavement, and vulnerable young people, including for them to meet youth workers.

Parent and child groups can continue where they provide support to parent and/or child, and children under 5 will not be counted within the 15 person limit – meaning parents and carers can attend such groups in larger numbers. These cannot take place in private dwellings.

Where a group includes someone covered by an exception (for example, someone who is working or volunteering), they are not generally counted as part of the gatherings limit. This means, for example, a tradesperson can go into a household without breaching the limit, if they are there for work, and the officiant at a wedding would not count towards the limit.

If you break the rules

The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups. This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty notices).

You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.

Keeping you and your friends and family safe

When meeting friends and family you should also:

Protecting people more at risk from coronavirus

If you are clinically vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. You:

  • should be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contacts with others
  • should continue to wash your hands carefully and more frequently than usual and maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in your home and/or workspace

Clinically vulnerable people are those who are:

  • aged 70 or over (regardless of medical conditions)
  • under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (that is, anyone instructed to get a flu jab each year on medical grounds):
    • chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
    • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
    • chronic kidney disease
    • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
    • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy
    • diabetes
    • problems with the spleen
    • a weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions or medicines they are taking (such as steroid tablets)
    • being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
  • pregnant

There is a further group of people who are defined, also on medical grounds, as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus – that is, people with specific serious health conditions. Over this period, we are advising the clinically extremely vulnerable to work from home. If you cannot work from home, you are advised not to go to work and may be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit. We are advising clinically extremely vulnerable people to stay at home as much as possible, except to go outdoors for exercise or to attend health appointments. You may wish to meet up with one other person from outside your household or support bubble, for example, to exercise in an outdoor public place, but we suggest that you always try to do so as safely as possible. Please follow the guidance set out in the shielding section of the CEV guidance.

Travel

Travelling within a tier 4 area

If you live in a tier 4 area, you must stay at home. You must not leave your home to travel unless for work, education or other legally permitted reasons. If you need to travel you should stay local – meaning avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live – and look to reduce the number of journeys you make overall. The list of reasons you can leave your home and area include, but are not limited to:

  • work, where you cannot work from home
  • accessing education and for caring responsibilities
  • visiting those in your support bubble – or your childcare bubble for childcare
  • visiting hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
  • buying goods or services from premises that are open in Tier 4 areas, including essential retail, but these should be within your local area wherever possible
  • spending time or exercising outdoors. This should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel a short distance within your Tier 4 area to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space)
  • attending the care and exercise of a pet, or veterinary services

If you need to travel, walk or cycle where possible, and plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel.

Avoid car sharing with anyone from outside your household or your support bubble. See the guidance on car sharing.

If you need to use public transport, you should follow the safer travel guidance.

Travelling out of a tier 4 area

You must stay at home and not leave your Tier 4 area, other than for legally permitted reasons such as:

  • travel to work where you cannot work from home
  • travel to education and for caring responsibilities
  • visit those in your support bubble – or your childcare bubble for childcare
  • attend hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health

The full list of exceptions will be published in the Regulations.

Travelling to a tier 4 area from a tier 1, 2 or 3 area

You should not travel into a Tier 4 area from another part of the UK, other than for reasons such as:

  • travel to work where you cannot work from home
  • travel to education and for caring responsibilities
  • to visit those in your support bubble – or your childcare bubble for childcare
  • to attend hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health

You should continue to practise safe behaviours on public transport:

  • plan ahead, check for disruption before you leave, and avoid the busiest routes, as well as busy times
  • avoid making unnecessary stops during your journey
  • avoid sharing a car with people not in your household
  • keep your distance from other people when you travel, where possible
  • wash or sanitise your hands regularly

International travel to or from a tier 4 area

If you are in Tier 4, you should not be travelling abroad unless it is permitted. In addition, you should consider the public health advice in the country you are visiting.

If you live outside a tier 4 area you may still transit into or through a tier 4 area to travel abroad if you need to, but you should carefully consider whether you need to do so. In addition, you should follow the public health advice in the country you’re visiting.

If you do need to travel overseas from a tier 4 area (and are legally permitted to do so, for example, because it is for work), even if you are returning to a place you’ve visited before, you should look at the rules in place at your destination and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice.

UK residents currently abroad do not need to return home immediately. However, you should check with your airline or travel operator on arrangements for returning.

Staying away from home overnight

You cannot leave home for holidays or stays overnight away from your main home unless permitted by law. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed. This includes staying in a second home or caravan, or staying with anyone you do not live with or are in a support bubble with.

You are allowed to stay overnight away from your home if you:

  • are unable to return to your main residence
  • need accommodation while moving house
  • need accommodation to attend a funeral or related commemorative event
  • require accommodation for work purposes or to provide voluntary services
  • are a child requiring accommodation for school or care
  • are homeless, seeking asylum or a vulnerable person seeking refuge
  • are an elite athlete or their support staff or parent, if the athlete is under 18 and it is necessary to be outside of the home for training or competition

If you are already on holiday in a Tier 4 area, you should return to your home as soon as practical

Guest accommodation providers such as hotels, B&Bs and caravan parks may remain open for the specific reasons set out in law, including where guests are unable to return to their main residence, use that guest accommodation as their main residence, need accommodation while moving house, are self-isolating as required by law, or would otherwise be made homeless as a result of the accommodation closing. Accommodation providers are also encouraged to work cooperatively with Local Authorities to provide accommodation to vulnerable groups including the homeless in tier 4 areas.

Businesses and venues

Businesses and venues which must close

To reduce social contact, the regulations require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services. These include:

  • non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, and market stalls selling non-essential goods – these venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services
  • hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and drink for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery
  • accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for homeless people, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
  • leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and indoor gyms, indoor swimming pools, indoor tennis and basketball courts, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor climbing walls
  • entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, zoos and other animal attractions, water parks and theme parks
  • indoor attractions at botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open
  • personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. It is also prohibited to provide these services in other people’s homes
  • community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities, as set out below. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services – for example for people who do not have it at home – and for click-and-collect services

These businesses and places will also be permitted to be open for a small number of exempt activities, including:

  • education and training – for schools to use sports, leisure and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision
  • childcare purposes and supervised activities for children
  • hosting blood donation sessions and food banks
  • to provide medical treatment
  • for elite sports persons to train and compete (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), and professional dancers and choreographers to work (in fitness and dance studios)
  • for training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls)
  • for the purposes of professional film and TV filming

Businesses and venues which can remain open

Other businesses and venues are permitted to stay open, following COVID-19 Secure guidelines. This includes those providing essential goods and services, including:

  • essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres and Christmas tree retailers, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
  • market stalls selling essential retail may also stay open
  • businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services
  • petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses
  • banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
  • funeral directors
  • laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • medical and dental services
  • vets and pet shops
  • animal rescue centres, boarding facilities, and animal groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather than aesthetic purposes)
  • agricultural supplies shops
  • mobility and disability support shops
  • storage and distribution facilities
  • car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
  • outdoor playgrounds
  • outdoor gym, pools, sports courts and facilities
  • golf courses
  • archery/driving/shooting ranges (outdoors)
  • outdoor riding centres

Public services

The majority of public services will continue and you will be able to leave home to visit them. These include:

  • the NHS and medical services like GPs and dentists. We are supporting the NHS to carry out urgent and non-urgent services safely, and it is vital anyone who thinks they need any kind of medical care comes forward and seeks help
  • Jobcentre Plus sites
  • courts and probation services
  • civil registrations offices
  • passport and visa services
  • services provided to victims
  • waste or recycling centres

Going to work

To help contain the virus, everyone who can work effectively from home should do so.

Where people cannot do so – including, but not limited to, people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction, or manufacturing – they should continue to travel to their workplace. This is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting sectors and employers.

Public sector employees working in essential services, including childcare or education, should continue to go into work.

Where it is necessary for you to work in other people’s homes – for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople – you can do so. Otherwise, you should avoid meeting for work in a private home or garden, where COVID-19 Secure measures may not be in place.

The risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.

Going to school, college and university

Schools and colleges will remain open during term time in Tier 4 areas. The Government will continue to prioritise the wellbeing and long-term futures of our young people. It remains very important for children and young people to attend, to support their wellbeing and education and help working parents and guardians. Senior clinicians still advise that school is the best place for children to be, and so they should continue to go to school during term time.

Universities

We expect that the majority of students, other than those who need or choose to remain at university, will now have returned to their family home during the ‘student travel window’. We have published guidance on how they can do so safely.

We have also published guidance to universities and students on how students can return safely to higher education in the spring term. This guidance sets out how we will support higher education providers to enable students to return as safely as possible following the winter break, by staggering this process and to facilitate testing for all.

If you live at university, you should not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time.

Universities should follow guidance on reopening buildings to ensure they have safety measures in place to minimise the spread of the virus.

If you’re a student, you can meet in groups of more than your household as part of your formal education or training. Students should expect to follow the guidance and restrictions. You should socially distance from anyone you do not live with wherever possible.

Schools

The Government has confirmed that all secondary schools and colleges in England will be offered help, support and facilities to implement an additional round of free coronavirus testing from the first week of January.

This will be alongside a staggered return to face-to-face education in secondary schools, starting with exam years, vulnerable children and children of critical workers.

The offer of tests builds on the extensive protective measures already in place in schools and colleges to make them safe, as well as the government’s recent announcement that every secondary school and college in England will have access to rapid testing from January.

In schools and colleges where year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn by adults (staff and visitors) and pupils when moving around indoors, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

There is guidance for teachers, school leaders, carers and parents on education and childcare.

Childcare

There are several ways that parents and carers can continue to access childcare in Tier 4 areas:

  • early years settings and childminders remain open, and you can continue to use these settings as normal
  • you can access other childcare activities (including wraparound care) where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, seek work, attend education or training
  • nannies will be able to continue to provide services, including in the home
  • parents are able to form a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under
  • some households will also be able to benefit from being in a support bubble

Some youth services are able to continue, such as 1-1 youth work and support groups, but most youth clubs and groups will need to cease for this period.

Visiting relatives in care homes

Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows.

Close-contact indoor visits supported by testing, which are allowed in Tiers 1-3, will not be allowed in Tier 4. This guidance will be updated shortly clarifying how visits in Tier 4 should be conducted.

Weddings, civil partnerships, religious services and funerals

Weddings, civil partnerships, and funerals

Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and funerals must only take place in COVID-19 secure venues or in public outdoor spaces unless in exceptional circumstances.

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Linked religious, belief-based or commemorative events, such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 6 people in attendance. Anyone working is not counted in these limits. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies should not take place except in exceptional circumstances, for example where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover (‘deathbed wedding’) or due to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery. These weddings are limited to 6 people.

If you live in a tier 4 area and are going to a wedding, funeral or linked commemorative event outside the tier 4 area, the event must follow the tier 4 gathering limits on the events.

If you live outside a tier 4 area and are going to a a wedding, funeral or linked commemorative even inside the tier 4 area, you must comply with the tier 4 gathering limits on the events.

Places of worship

You can attend places of worship for a service. However, you must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble.

You should follow the national guidance on the safe use of places of worship.

Sports and physical activity

Indoor gyms and sports facilities will close. Outdoor sports courts, outdoor gyms, golf courses, outdoor swimming pools, archery/driving/shooting ranges, riding centres and playgrounds can remain open for individual exercise, and for people to use with others within your household, support bubble, or with one person from another household. Organised outdoor sport for under 18s and disabled people will be allowed.

Moving home

You can still move home. People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.

Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work. If you are looking to move, you can go to property viewings.

Follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes advice on social distancing and wearing a face covering.

Financial support

Wherever you live, you may be able to get financial help:

 

Christmas Changes

In England, those living in tier 4 areas should not mix with anyone outside their own household at Christmas, though support bubbles will remain in place for those at particular risk of loneliness or isolation.

Across the rest of the country, the Christmas rules allowing up to three households to meet will now be limited to Christmas Day only, rather than the five days as previously set out.

As before, there will be no relaxation on 31 December, so people must not break the rules at New Year.

As  Soon As We Have The Governments Press Release Regarding Tier 4 We Will Update This Page

Chris Grayling MP Update

Dear constituent

I am writing with a further update on the coronavirus pandemic and to let you know that unfortunately our area has been moved into the highest Tier 3 of coronavirus restrictions. This decision has been taken because there has been a sharp increase in the number of infections locally and a big jump in the number of patients with COVID-19 in our local hospitals.

The latest figures for infections in our area can be found here.

Tier 3 Restrictions

These are the rules that apply to us in Tier 3:

  • you must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, this includes in any private garden or at most outdoor venues
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in some other outdoor public spaces, including parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, a public garden, grounds of a heritage site or castle, or a sports facility – this is called the ‘rule of 6’
  • hospitality settings, such as bars (including shisha venues), pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed – they are permitted to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.
  • accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses must close. There are several exemptions, such as for those who use these venues as their main residence, and those requiring the venues where it is reasonably necessary for work or education and training
  • indoor entertainment and tourist venues must close. This includes:

indoor play centres and areas, including trampolining parks and soft play

casinos

bingo halls

bowling alleys

skating rinks

amusement arcades and adult gaming centres

laser quests and escape rooms

cinemas, theatres and concert halls

snooker halls

  • indoor attractions at mostly outdoor entertainment venues must also close (indoor shops, through-ways and public toilets at such attractions can remain open). This includes indoor attractions within:

zoos, safari parks, and wildlife reserves

aquariums, visitor attractions at farms, and other animal attractions

model villages

museums, galleries and sculpture parks

botanical gardens, biomes or greenhouses

theme parks, circuses, fairgrounds and funfairs

visitor attractions at film studios, heritage sites such as castles and stately homes

landmarks including observation decks and viewing platforms

  • leisure and sports facilities may continue to stay open, but group exercise classes (including fitness and dance) should not go ahead.
  • there should be no public attendance at spectator sport or indoor performances and large business events should not be taking place. Elite sport events may continue to take place without spectators
  • large outdoor events (performances and shows) should not take place, with the exception of drive-in events
  • places of worship remain open, but you must not attend with or socialise with anyone outside of your household or support bubble while you are there, unless a legal exemption applies
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions are not allowed, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, 15 people can attend linked commemorative events
  • organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue, however higher-risk contact activity should not take place
  • organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes cannot take place indoors. There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s
  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
  • avoid travelling outside of your area, including for overnight stays other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through other areas as part of a longer journey
  • for international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list

There are more details regarding tier 3 here.

There are some exemptions from these conditions, which do not apply:

  • to a single household, or a support bubble
  • for work or providing voluntary or charitable services, including in other people’s homes
  • for childcare, education or training – meaning education and training provided as part of a formal curriculum
  • for supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care (before and after-school childcare), groups and activities for under 18s, and children’s playgroups
  • for formal support groups, and parent and child groups – up to 15 people aged 5 and older
  • to allow contact between birth parents and children in care, as well as between siblings in care
  • for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
  • for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
  • for birth partners
  • to attend a funeral – with no more than 30 people present – or a commemorative event such as a wake for someone who has died – with no more than 15 people present
  • to see someone who is terminally ill or at the end of life
  • to attend a wedding or civil partnership – with no more than 15 people present
  • to provide emergency assistance
  • to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
  • to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
  • to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable or to provide respite for a carer
  • to facilitate moving home
Getting together with family and friends at Christmas

Many people will still be uncertain what to do over Christmas. While people are still free to get together with family or friends for Christmas in a bubble of up to three households, for a five day period from the 23rd to the 27th of December, everyone is being asked to take great care. The virus is spreading fast at the moment, and although the vaccination programme has now started, it will take some time before all vulnerable groups have had the jab. So the message is to take great care and avoid taking any steps which might risk infecting an elderly relative in particular.

The full guidance is here.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine

A few people have asked me about how the vaccination process will work. There is a set programme of vaccinations, and it is being done primarily by age group.

Here is the latest information about the programme.

Finally I wanted to thank everyone locally who has helped out in our community in difficult times this year. It has been a really tough year for many people, but it has also been a time when people really have been turning out to look after neighbours and the vulnerable. It is much appreciated.

Best wishes

Chris Grayling

The full list of government guidelines and advice is available here.

Remember – ‘Hands. Face. Space.’:
  • hands – wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
  • face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
  • space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)
Contact Chris:

Email: [email protected]

Constituency Office: 01372 271 036

Address: 212 Barnett Wood Lane, Ashtead, Surrey, KT21 2DB

Local Covid-19 Vaccination Programme

Briefing from Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership regarding local Covid-19 vaccination programme.

The NHS will begin vaccinating patients against coronavirus at hospital hubs from this week, at the start of the biggest immunisation programme in history.

Yesterday, 6th Dec,, NHS England/Improvement announced the first 50 hospital hubs across the country to receive supplies of the vaccine. In Surrey Heartlands the Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust has been named in this first tranche, and staff have been working through the weekend to prepare for the launch of the programme with the first vaccinations this week.

As identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) people aged 80 and above who are already attending hospital as an outpatient, and those who are being discharged home after a hospital stay, will be among the first to receive the vaccination. Hospitals will also work with care home providers to book their staff in to attend vaccination clinics.

Any appointments not used for these groups will be used for healthcare workers who are at highest risk of serious illness from covid.

More hospitals will start vaccinating over the coming weeks and months as the programme ramps up. GPs and other primary care staff are also being put on standby, from mid December, to start delivering the vaccine from community vaccination sites. The precise locations of these are still being agreed.

Vaccination centres treating large numbers of patients will subsequently stand up when further supplies of vaccine come on stream.

The Covid-19 vaccine is typically delivered by a simple injection in the shoulder but there are complexities with the Pfizer vaccine being used which needs to be stored at -70C before being thawed out, and can only be moved four times within that cold chain before being used.

In line with national recommendations it should be noted that pregnant women cannot receive the vaccination. In addition, women of childbearing age should be advised to avoid pregnancy for at least 2 months after their second dose. There are also specific clinical recommendations for those who have known underlying health conditions and assessment will form part of the vaccination programme.

People will be required to receive two doses of the vaccine at least 21 days apart.

We are asking the public to help the NHS by being patient. Those who are eligible for the vaccine will be contacted in due course as the programme continues and your help in sharing this message would be hugely appreciated. The local NHS is working with partners across Surrey Heartlands and will continue to roll-out the vaccination programme over the coming weeks and months, supported by a robust communications plan which will start imminently.

If you have any queries please email: [email protected]

Epsom Rotary Club Help In The Fight Against The Pandemic

After the fantastic news that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved, Epsom Rotary Club has yet more good news for residents in the Epsom area. They are pleased to announce that following an approach from The Integrated Care Partnership group GP practice in Epsom, they have been able, at very short notice, to make available funding for the purchase of a low temperature Labcold RLDG 1019A fridge for the storage of vaccines. 

The extra storage provided by the fridge will enable the Practice to vaccinate the considerable number of additional patients who are now eligible for the flu jab and this will clear the way for a smooth implementation of the Covid 19 vaccination programme.

Clive Richardson, Epsom Rotary Club President, said he was delighted that the Club could provide further help towards the fight against Covid-19. Enabling The Integrated Care Partnership to buy the fridge is only the latest in a long list of help Epsom Rotary Club has been able to offer in the fight against Covid-19 in the Epsom area during the pandemic. He thanked everyone for their generosity throughout 2020 in supporting good causes and local charities in the Epsom area. Clive also thanked Rotary South who fund matched our donation.”

Epsom and St Helier is here for you

Doctors, nurses and other medical experts working at Epsom and St Helier hospitals and in local community services are reminding people that the NHS is here for you and ready to provide safe and compassionate care to patients.

Dr Ruth Charlton, Joint Medical Director and Consultant Paediatrician, said: “Whether you need urgent care in our Emergency Departments, are due a home visit from one of our community teams, or have a planned appointment with us, please do not put off accessing health care services. Our staff, and the NHS as a whole, is here for you.

“We know that COVID-19 has had a significant and lasting impact on our local communities, and that many people might feel anxious about coming into hospital for care. I would like to assure everyone that we have put a number of stringent measures in place to keep you safe, and no-one should delay accessing medical care and advice when they need it.

“Our teams remain absolutely committed to caring for patients, and we want our local communities to feel confident about accessing our services – after all, it’s precisely what we are here for! Working in my outpatient clinic, where I care for young children with a range of conditions, lots of parents have told me that the measures we have put in place help them to feel instantly at ease when they enter the hospital buildings. It’s not easy to put a worried parent’s mind at rest, and so I think that is high praise indeed.”

Chief Nurse Arlene Wellman said: “It’s business as usual for Epsom and St Helier, including our emergency departments and planned care services – so that’s anything from a routine operation to repair a hernia, to a regular check up with a consultant. We are open and here for you.

“Many of our appointments are now done over the phone or by video call and we’ll only ask you to come in to hospital or to community services if it’s clinically necessary. But please be rest assured, our staff are doing everything they can to keep you safe – from new one way systems around our hospitals to sanitation stations at every entrance.”

For details on how to contact the Trust, please visit the ‘Contact us’ section of our website, https://www.epsom-sthelier.nhs.uk/contact-us. For more information about Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals Trust, visit www.epsom-sthelier.nhs.uk.

Epsom & Ewell Tier 2

Following lockdown, from Wednesday 2nd Dec  2020, the borough of Epsom & Ewell will enter Tier 2 (High Alert), along with the rest of Surrey.

What this means:

  • Meeting friends and family: No mixing of households indoors apart from support bubbles. Maximum of six can meet in outdoor public spaces (like parks)
  • Pubs and restaurants: Pubs and bars must stay closed unless operating as restaurant. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals. Last orders at 10pm and they must close at 11pm
  • Retail and personal care: Can open within covid secure guidelines (eg masks and social distancing)
  • Exercise:  Classes and organised adult sport can take place outside but not indoors if there is interaction between people from different households. Organised activities for under-18’s, disabled people and elite athletes can continue. Gyms and swimming pools can open but people should not interact with those outside their household.
  • Work: Everyone who can work from home should do so
  • Education: Schools, colleges and universities stay open
  • Places of worship: Can open but people cannot interact with anyone outside of their household or support bubble
  • Weddings: 15 guests maximum for weddings, civil partnerships and wedding receptions
  • Funerals: 30 people maximum at funerals, 15 people maximum at wakes

Councillor Hannah Dalton, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council Covid spokesperson said: “Going forward the rules are slightly different than before, including for meeting up with friends and family, so please ensure you are aware of and comply with your obligations.  From Wednesday, both essential and non-essential retail can be open, providing that COVID secure measures are in place.  Our local businesses have had a tough time and I encourage you to shop local and support businesses across Epsom and Ewell whenever you can.  Also do please check if you can support a local businesses online first, as well as safely in your local stores.  Stay safe”.

For More Information Regarding Tier 2 CLICK HERE 

Could you be a COVID-19 Community Champion?

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council wants to help residents stay up to date with the latest advice about COVID-19.

To do this, the council has launched a new initiative with Central Surrey Voluntary Action. The team are looking for COVID-19 Community Champions. These will be the first to receive the latest updates and guidance from our Public Health colleagues about how to stay safe during this pandemic to share with their families, friends, communities and workplaces.

COVID-19 Community Champions are an additional way to help people in Epsom and Ewell get clear information on how to stay safe and reduce the risk of getting and spreading the infection, and what additional support there might be to help do this. The council is especially keen to involve those who can access communities and others who do not necessarily regularly engage with the council.

Councillor Liz Frost, Chair of the Health Liaison Panel and Covid-19 spokesperson, said  “Epsom and Ewell’s volunteers and community groups have been exceptional throughout the coronavirus crisis in supporting each other and helping people in need.

“To build on this we are looking for community spirited individuals from all walks of life to take on the important role of COVID-19 Community Champions to help us share key public health messages in order to help protect our communities from the ongoing pandemic.

“Could you help with this? You don’t need any special skills, just a willingness to get involved. You may be involved with a local sports club, social group, or just have a wide circle of friends on social media. Communicating vital health messages and reaching everyone in the borough is key to ensuring we all adopt the measures designed to keep us safe and stop the spread of this horrible disease”.

If you are interested in becoming a COVID-19 Community Champion please contact Central Surrey Voluntary Action – 01372 722911 / [email protected]

 

For the latest Covid-19 Data Click Here