Rochford – Ashingdon – Hullbridge – Hawkwell East – Canewdon – Stambridge

Public health
The Governments coronavirus Winter Plan sets out the Governments approach to ending the national restrictions on 2 December and the local restriction tier system that will be in place from that date, including what you can and cannot do in each tier.
When the national restrictions come to an end on 2 December, Rochford district will be allocated to Tier 2  High alert – along with Southend, Thurrock and the whole of the East of England (Suffolk; Norfolk; Hertfordshire; Cambridgeshire and Peterborough; and Bedfordshire) and London. More information can be found via the link below.
According to Government guidance   the restrictions which apply are as follows:
Across all tiers, everyone:
  * must wear a face covering in most indoor public settings, unless they have an exemption
  * should follow the rules on meeting others safely
  * should attend school or college as normal, unless they are self-isolating. Schools, universities, colleges and early years settings remain open in all tiers
  * should walk or cycle where possible, plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes when travelling
  * must follow the gathering limits at their tier except for in specific settings and circumstances as specified in the guidance.
Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, and window visits. Regular testing will be offered to up to 2 family members or friends per resident by Christmas, which  when combined with other infection-control measures such as PPE  will support indoor visits with physical contact. Detailed guidance will be published shortly.
All businesses and venues that are open are expected to follow COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers.
In all tiers, the following businesses and venues can remain open:
  * essential and non-essential retail, including indoor and outdoor markets and car boot sales
  * certain leisure and sporting facilities such as gyms, sports courts and facilities, leisure centres, fitness and dance studios, golf courses, swimming pools, riding centres, outdoor playgrounds  subject to relevant social contact rules in each tier.
  * personal care and close contact services such as hairdressers and barbers, beauty salons, tattoo parlours, nail salons, spas and beauty services, massage parlours and tanning salons
  * public buildings, such as libraries, community centres and halls.
  * allotments, recycling and waste centres, public toilets, car parks
  * essential public services such as the NHS and medical services, courts, and jobcentre plus sites
  * places of worship  communal worship can now resume, subject to relevant social contact rules in each tier
Everyone who can work 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. Public-sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work where necessary
In addition to the above  there are additional restrictions in Tier 2: High alert:
  * you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  * you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space  this is called the rule of 6
  * businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs
  * pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals
  * hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:
  * provide table service only, in premises which sell alcohol
  * close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, transport services and motorway service areas are exempt)
  * stop taking orders after 10pm
  * hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
  * early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm
  * public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  * public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  * places of worship remain open but you must not socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while you are indoors there, unless a legal exemption applies
  * weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees  15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events such as wakes or stone settings.
  * organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue
  * organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with). There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing
  * 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
  * if you live in a tier 2 area, you must continue to follow tier 2 rules when you travel to a tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through a tier 3 area as a 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
Exemptions from gatherings limits in all tiers
  * as part of a single household, or a support bubble
  * for work or providing voluntary or charitable services, including in other peoples 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 childrens 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
New legislation will be brought into law to enforce these new rules which will come into force at 00:01 on 2 December.
Guidance for making a Christmas bubble with friends and family can be found here.
Between 23 and 27 December:
  * you can form an exclusive Christmas bubble composed of people from no more than three households
  * you can only be in one Christmas bubble
  * you cannot change your Christmas bubble
  * you can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble
  * you can only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or in your garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces
  * you can continue to meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules in the tier where you are staying
  * you cannot meet someone in a private dwelling who is not part of your household or Christmas bubble
You should travel to meet those in your Christmas bubble and return home between the 23 and 27 December.
The rules will be enforceable through legislation which will come into force at 00:01 on 2 December. The Prime Minister and all public health officials are urging caution over this period and asking people to think about their personal risks carefully and to limit movements and interactions over the Christmas period to manage those risks.
The national period of shielding will come to an end on 2 December. The Government has today updated guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from coronavirus, in line with the local restriction tier system that will be in place in England from 2 December.
The Government has announced the return of limited numbers of fans to elite sports events and the reopening of grassroots sport from 2 December. Supporters will be welcomed back into stadia and sports venues in limited numbers from 2 December and organised grassroots sport is also allowed to resume. Gyms and leisure centres will be able to reopen across all tiers. The Councils leisure provider Fusion Lifestyle will re-open the leisure centres at Clements Hall and at Rayleigh.
Guidance has been produced outlining the available evidence on virus transmission associated with singing and suggested actions to reduce the risk of transmission while singing.
Business grants
The Councils COVID-19 Government funded business grants schemes are now open for applications. Nearly 1.9m is available in total to distribute to businesses across the district.
The application form for the Local Sector Restrictions Grant (LRSG) Open and Closed schemes and the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) can be accessed via the Councils website. Businesses eligible for the Sector scheme will be contacted directly by the Council.
A further Business Adaptations Grant (BAG) scheme will also be launched in the coming days, in conjunction with Essex County Council.
All information on applying for these schemes will be published on the following link as soon as it becomes available.
Further detail on the different government schemes is set out below:
  * *Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) – for businesses forced to close during the national lockdown*
The Council has been allocated 984,294 to distribute. The funding is only for business premises forced to close. Businesses must be on the rating list to be eligible.
Businesses will be required to apply to ensure that they are eligible and will be asked to declare that the information provided is factual and accurate.
Government has specified that grants worth up to 3,000 per month should be distributed to those eligible businesses as follows:
  * For properties with a rateable value of 15k or under, grants to be 1,334 per four weeks;
  * For properties with a rateable value of between 15k-51k grants to be 2,000 per four weeks; and
  * For properties with a rateable value of 51k or over grants to be 3,000 per four weeks.
Further information can be found on the government website here:
  * *Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) **- for businesses affected by the Essex High level restrictions between 17 October to 4 November*
The Council has been allocated 143,027 to distribute.
This scheme is aimed at supporting businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors who were affected by the additional restrictions imposed by the High and Very High tiers before the new national restrictions were in place (between 17 October and 4 November).
Local Authorities have discretion as to how to award grant funding to individual businesses under this scheme; however, the Government has announced the following funding tiers as a guide and anticipates that local authorities will provide grant funding under these tiers:
  * For properties with a rateable value of 15k or under, grants to be 934 per four weeks
  * For properties with a rateable value of over 15k and below 51k, grants to be 1,400 per four weeks; and
  * For properties with a rateable value of 51k or over grants to be 2,100 per four weeks
Further information can be found on the government website here:
  Local Restrictions Support Grant (Sector)
Businesses that have been required to close due to the national restrictions introduced in March 2020, and which have not been able to re-open, may be eligible for LSRG (Sector). This funding is available from 1 November 2020 and is not retrospective.
Eligible businesses include:
  * nightclubs, dance halls, and discotheques
  * adult entertainment venues and hostess bars
The Council will be contacting eligible businesses directly. Further information can be found on the government website here:
  Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG)
The Council has been allocated 1,747,360 (based on 20 per head of population). The Councils ARG scheme will primarily be supporting businesses that are not eligible for other grants but who are likely to have been seriously affected by national restrictions. It will also support business sectors that have been less able to adapt their service models during periods of national restrictions.
To be eligible for the ARG, you must meet the eligibility criteria set out in the Councils policy, available here:
Applications for the ARG must be made by 5pm on Wednesday 16 December and grants will be awarded on a first-come-first served basis.
Government has updated guidance to help higher education (HE) providers in England to understand how to minimise risk during the coronavirus pandemic. The update includes guidance for healthcare students, and other students who are on placement, on returning home, as well as updates on testing availability and plans for the end of term, to ensure this can happen as safely as possible.
Foreign travel
From 15 December, international arrivals from countries not on the travel corridors lists will be able to opt-in to Testing to Release which enables the 14-day self-isolation period reduced by up to two thirds on receipt of a negative COVID-19 test from a private provider after 5 days of isolation. The Government has published guidance for private providers of Testing to Release for International Travel. By law, all tests used for the purpose of shortening the self-isolation period for international arrivals must meet certain minimum standards. Providers must also complete a declaration that their tests meet these standards.
NHS advice
Everyone is reminded to follow the NHS advice which includes preventative measures about social distancing. Please also remember to keep your hands clean, especially if you have been outside e.g. at the supermarket or using an ATM.
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We would like to reassure everyone that we are working closely with our partners from across Essex in the NHS, emergency services, county council and other local authorities, ensuring that well-practiced plans are put into place.
The council is monitoring Government guidance daily and will be issuing communications to staff, members and the public regularly, so please watch our website, sign up for e-mail alerts or go to our social media channels to keep up-to-date with the latest information.
In addition, council officers and the Executive have telephone conference calls two times a week to cascade new Government guidance and discuss emerging local issues. If members have any issue they would like to raise, they are invited to contact the relevant Portfolio Holder.