Table of Contents

Funding and Support

How the rules will change on 12 April

Some of the rules on what you can and cannot do will change on 12 April. You can read the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ (the roadmap out of lockdown) for more information on how COVID-19 restrictions will be eased in England.

From 12 April:

  • non-essential retail will be able to reopen
  • personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to reopen
  • public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to reopen
  • outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen, with table service only
  • most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) will be able to reopen
  • some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds will be able to take place
  • indoor leisure and sports facilities will be able to reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble
  • all childcare and supervised activities will be allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children. Parent and child groups can take place indoors (as well as outdoors) for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number)
  • weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events will be able to take place for up to 15 people (anyone working is not included in this limit), including in indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens
  • self-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays in England with your household or support bubble
  • you should continue to minimise the amount that you travel where possible
  • care home residents will be able to nominate two named individuals for regular indoor visits (following a rapid lateral flow test)

Rapid testing is a vital part of our defence against the spread of Covid

Rapid testing is for people who cannot work from home, and who are without coronavirus symptoms. If that’s you or your employees, people in this category should get into a pattern of having a rapid test every few days.

Slots are available now at the University of Hertfordshire. These can be booked up to two weeks in advance

Around one in three people with coronavirus do not show symptoms, which means they could be spreading the virus to family, friends, co-workers and into the community without realising. Knowing if you have coronavirus even though you do not have symptoms means that you can protect your loved ones and help to stop the spread of the virus. 

Free rapid tests (also known as Lateral Flow Tests) are available by appointment only.  You’ll need to take your booking confirmation email/text to your appointment and have your mobile phone with you (please ensure it is charged). Results are sent by text and email in 45 minutes.

  • To book a rapid test, please visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/rapidtest . Please check the website regularly for updates as several new test centres have opened across Hertfordshire.
  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus you cannot have a rapid test and must not go to a rapid test centre – instead please book a standard coronavirus (PCR) test at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Please share with your contacts and if you have any queries, email rapidtesting@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Better Business for All COVID Toolkit

In light of continuous high numbers of Covid19 infections and deaths – many attributable to the new variant and its increased transmissibility and the latest Public Health advice, we are advising businesses that they must review their health & safety Covid19 Risk Assessment, along with the effectiveness of all measures/controls in place, to determine which enhanced measures may need to be introduced.

Why: the new variant strain of COVID-19 is more widely transmitted, at least 50% more than the original strain, and therefore risk assessment controls need to be adapted;

Risks: if you do not review your risk assessment to adapt to the new variant COVID-19 virus, the virus can take advantage to infect workers, putting you at risk of serious outbreaks in the workplace.

These enhanced measures include:

  • Staff working from home where possible
  • Increased distancing of at least 2m
  • Improved ventilation rates
  • Enhanced environmental cleaning
  • Reducing the number of staff and customers on the premises
  • Increasing spaces to reduce interactions
  • Online rather than face to face interactions
  • Reducing group sizes within workplaces
  • Use of suitable face coverings in high risk areas rather than reliance on physical barriers alone

Along with implementing the above, here are some questions to ask when reviewing your Risk Assessment AND reviewing how effectively your measures and controls work in practise:

  • Are your staff working from home (if this is possible for your business) in line with government guidance? https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
  • Are the measures you put in place working effectively in reality?
  • How do you know? How do you monitor this?
  • What measures are not working well enough and what additional mitigations can you put in place to rectify this?
  • Do your staff understand the risks in your workplace and measures put in place to mitigate the risks?
  • Have you considered any staff that are exempt from wearing face coverings/masks and staff that are considered vulnerable?
  • You need to ensure that you are able to keep them, other staff and customers safe
  • How do you communicate your control measures and changes in your RA to your staff?
  • Do you provide training to ensure your staff understand what they must do to play their part in your business trading safely?
  • Do you need to provide refresher training? This will help ensure your staff don’t become complacent
  • Do you remind your staff that their interaction outside work could impact on the safety of their colleagues, for example car sharing?:
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
  • Have you asked your staff for feedback on how the measures and controls put in place are working?
  • Have you put staff ‘bubbles’ in place if there is no option but to have your staff work from the workplace?
  • As more people get tested, this may result in more positive tests leading to the need to self-isolate – consider minimum staff levels and contingency plans for business continuity whilst remaining Covid safe
  • Have you installed any new equipment since you wrote/last amended your Risk Assessment?
  • If your business has a head office with other branches, how do you ensure effective regular communication and monitoring of Covid Secure measures working effectively between them?

Enhanced measures, should, where appropriate, be introduced without delay to help to reduce transmission of the virus.

Further information, checklists and templates can be found via the Hertfordshire Better Business for All Partnership’s Covid19 Trading Safely toolkit for local businesses. This includes risk assessment templates, FAQs for re-opening, risk assessment responsibilities, checklists on trading safely and much more.

Resources

If you need resources that are not COVID related, click here

Guidance

COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021

The government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’, setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England.

The ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ provides a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England and sets out how the government will continue to protect and support citizens across the UK.

Joint statement on new Local COVID-19 Alert Levels

Joint statement from David Williams, Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, and Jim McManus, Director of Public Health at Hertfordshire County Council: 

“It has been announced that Hertfordshire, as a whole, has been placed as a medium-risk area in the government’s new system of Local COVID-19 Alert Levels.

“This means that Hertfordshire is currently rated in Tier One – the medium alert level. Despite this, we have seen a significant rise in positive cases of coronavirus in our county over the last 10 days and the situation here remains serious. There is no room for complacency.

“So we’re urging all of our residents to act now to avoid our county moving to high-risk status for which there will be stricter, tougher measures introduced.

“We are properly prepared, and have a detailed plan in place to deal with each scenario. But now is the time to redouble our efforts to keep the virus at bay. We understand that many of our residents have been playing their part by following the government guidelines, particularly on face-coverings, social-distancing, the ‘rule of six’, and self-isolation where necessary.” 

Click here to read more

Protect Your Workforce Letter

To date, there has been a lower rate of spread of COVID-19 infection in Hertfordshire than in many other areas. This is really good news. However, we cannot be complacent. The challenge to prevent the spread of the virus is now more important than ever. We know workplaces can be the source of outbreaks and we cannot afford to throw away the gains we have made locally.

A letter has been sent out with a message from Jim McManus, director of Public Health, Hertfordshire with information on how to protect your employees. 

Covid Letter from Jim McManus

Community Thank you:

Don't Struggle Alone

The local response to the current crisis has been incredible. But for each day the lockdown continues, someone near you is struggling. We could help.

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council created the ‘Don’t Struggle Alone‘ video. The aim of the video is to let people know where they can get help, highlight some important work they have been doing, and thank the community for their effort.

Life Beyond Lockdown

As we learn to adapt to a different world, we can all play our part to help our communities and businesses get back on their feet – safely.