New enforcement and further businesses now open
Further venues are now allowed to open and new enforcement measures have been annpunced – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-announces-stronger-enforcement-measures-as-easements-resume
The series of tough new enforcement measures will target the most serious breaches of social distancing restrictions. Fines for repeatedly not wearing face coverings where mandated will be significantly increased in the coming weeks up to £3,200, and on the spot fines for hosting or facilitating illegal gatherings of more than 30 people will be introduced.
The plan set out in the ‘roadmap to recovery’, which was paused for two weeks, resumed from Saturday 15 August in England – except for specific areas where local restrictions are in place. This means:
- indoor play and indoor soft play, bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos will be permitted to reopen
- beauty salons, tattoo studios, spas and barbers across England will be able to offer all close contact services – including front of the face treatments such as eyebrow threading, eyelash treatments and facials from August 15 under new guidance
- indoor theatres, music and performance venues will be able to reopen with socially distanced audiences under updated performing arts guidance published by the government
- wedding receptions in the form of a sit-down meal in a COVID-secure location for up to 30 guests will now be permitted
- the piloting of a small number of sporting events to test the safe return of spectators can resume from August 15 with a view to reopening competition venues for sports fans, with social distancing measures in place from 1 October
- a number of pilots will now take place at event venues across the country to help plan how best to restart indoor business events and implement social distancing practices. Business events and conferences will be permitted to resume from 1 October provided rates of infection remain at current levels.
The government will continue to review these measures which are based upon the very latest infection rates but states that the situation now appears to have levelled off from two weeks ago when ONS had expressed concerns about a slight increase in the number of people in England testing positive. More detail on the new enforcement measures will be set out in the coming week.
Guidance has been updated to pick up these changes:
· Face covering exemptions: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own
· FAQs – what you can and can’t do: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do
· Staying alert and safe: Staying alert and safe (social distancing)
Back to school safely government campaign launched
The government has launched its #backtoschoolsafely campaign to reassure parents and students that schools and colleges are ready for their return in September – see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-campaign-launches-to-get-children-back-to-school-safely
The campaign, which forms part of the government’s wider Stay Alert campaign, will show teachers welcoming their students back into school, experiencing all the benefits that entails. Newspaper and billboard advertising were launched from 17 August, with radio and digital adverts live from Monday 24 August and running until early September, alongside wider engagement with the teaching profession and local communications.
Schools have received Public Health England endorsed guidance on protective measures they should implement to be as safe as possible and reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus.
Parents are encouraged to visit gov.uk/backtoschool for information and practical guidance to help them plan for their children’s return to school. Leaflets explaining more about the safety measures in place will be made available over the coming days.
Local COVID-19 data and information
The most up to date figures for the borough from the Office of National statistics, for the week ending 7 August, show there have been no reported COVID-19 deaths in the borough since the week ending 26 June.
There have been 955 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Basingstoke and Deane in total – an increase of two cases since last week.
Cumulative data is shown on The Keep Hampshire Safe campaign webpages, launched by Hampshire County Council, at www.hants.gov.uk/coronavirus
The aim of the campaign is to continue to promote important public health messaging designed to support the population to keep well, and reduce transmission of coronavirus, as well as ensuring that messaging relating to local outbreaks will reach communities across the county in a timely way. The webpages include a number of resources and assets and contains links to a new COVID-19 dashboard, providing helpful ‘at-a-glance’ data on infection rates in Hampshire.
In line with best practice, the campaign messaging will reflect the traffic light colours of green, amber, red – to help local residents to recognise the state of play at any given time, with signposting to the latest information and advice.
The advice to everyone is that to help keep the virus in check and prevent local lockdowns in our area:
- keep your distance from people not in your household (or support bubble) – two metres apart wherever possible
- wear face coverings where asked to do so
- wash, wash, wash your hands – you can’t do this too often!
- if you have symptoms, no matter how mild, get a test – it’s quick and easy to do. Book at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119
COVID-19 police survey
Hampshire Constabulary is working with the University of Portsmouth to understand views on how police officers across the region have handled the challenges of enforcing new rules during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Residents across the borough are being asked to complete this survey, which should take approximately 15 to 20 minutes, to allow Hampshire Constabulary to identify potential areas where discontent or enhanced compliance may be developed in similar situations. The results will also be used to develop strategies for the current pandemic and any future crisis scenarios.
Please have your say and share with residents in your areas to help Hampshire Constabulary collect a wide range of views.
Other Non-COVID-19 Council News
Work on Hampshire’s first dedicated Electric Vehicle Charging Hub at Feather’s Yard underway
There will be more opportunities for motorists to drive cleaner and greener in Basingstoke’s town centre while supporting targets to reduce carbon emissions, following the start of work to create the first dedicated electric vehicle (EV) charging hub in Hampshire.
After a delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, work to create the ‘green hub’ at the council’s Feathers Yard Car Park in the town centre is now in progress thanks to a contribution of £75,000 approved by councillors last year.
The hub of six chargers supports the council’s Climate Emergency target to work towards a carbon neutral borough by 2030 and offers electric vehicle drivers a convenient and dedicated car park with a better choice of chargers. The current 22 kWh EV rapid charger is being relocated from Central Car Park to Feather’s Yard and three additional dual fast chargers are being added. Parking will be free for plug in vehicles when the works are complete – which is expected to be by the end of August.
The rapid charger is capable of charging a standard electric vehicle from near empty to 80% capacity in just 40 minutes and the fast chargers can charge from empty to 100% in two to five hours, depending on car and battery capacity.
Find out more about the current electric vehicle changing points in the town centre at www.basingstoke.gov.uk/vehicle-charging-point