The Leader of Kent County Council has called on everyone in Kent to stay strong and stick to government guidance as we move into another national lockdown.
From Thursday (November 5) everyone must stay at home, leaving only for a limited set of reasons, and all ‘non-essential’ shops must close until December 2.
England’s regional tiered system is then expected to be reintroduced.
KCC Leader Roger Gough said: “Once again we face an enormous challenge from coronavirus and its impact on our lives, our economy and our communities.
“My priority is to ensure that we continue to deliver, within Government guidelines, the important and trusted services we have always provided for the people of Kent.
“Our focus throughout this pandemic has been to look after the most vulnerable people in the county by maintaining essential day-to-day services, and the health and wellbeing of our residents remains our priority as we move into another national lockdown.
“Working with our partners in district and borough councils we will strive to ensure that everyone is safeguarded and that no one is left isolated.
“The community spirit we have seen throughout this challenging year has been incredible and I now urge everyone across Kent to support each other, along with their neighbours and friends, to keep Kent safe over the coming weeks.
“I know how hard the prospect of another national lockdown is, and we will do everything we can to support local businesses, many of which have already suffered and will have to now remain closed until December.
“Ultimately, we will come through this and there will be relief for businesses, livelihoods and people’s lives. It is now vital that we not only follow the guidance and stick to the rules, but that we continue to work to ensure that a robust Test and Trace system is in place.
“I want to reassure you that we are working closely with our colleagues in Public Health to make sure that this can be implemented across Kent as soon as possible.
“Each and every one of us must continue to protect each other from this devastating virus. It is vital that we follow the Government rules to save lives, protect the NHS, keep our loved ones safe and come through this lockdown together.”
- HWRCs will remain open for socially distanced use and can be booked here.
- Social care for children and adults will continue as before
- KCC will continue to support schools to remain open to pupils all the while Government says it is safe for them to do so
- Bus services will continue to run and are being provided in accordance with Government guidance
- Country Parks and Public Rights of Way will remain open for exercise
- KCC has extended its financial support of the Covid-19 Business Helpline, adding £100,000 to keep it running until the end of the year. Businesses can get up to date support from a team of advisors. Full details are at https://www.askphil.biz
- Weddings and civil partnerships during this period will not take place and we will be in touch with all couples directly as soon as possible affected by this second lockdown.
The local Public Health England team has been local contact tracing, working with Kent County Council Public Health since the pandemic started.
The KCC Public Health officers are working together with officers from other directorates in the council to implement a local track and trace system.
This will continue to be an element of the national Test and Trace system and will utilise the experience of the Kent Together helpline, using call handlers who will contact people that the Government Track and Trace system has not been able to contact.
Once contacted, the advisors will be able to give advice on isolation and testing, establish close contacts, upload details to the National Contact Tracing system, and signpost to assistance available.
KCC Public Health Director Andrew Scott-Clark said: “My message to you is simply to follow the rules of lockdown; minimise social contact with people as much as possible, minimise leaving your home as much as possible, wear a mask in public places where appropriate and maintain good hand hygiene.
“Please look out for those in your local community who may need extra support as winter approaches.
“The guidance from government is clear on who you can meet and where; please play your part to help Protect Kent and Medway and stay safe during the lockdown period.”
There is also a specific site to help families with children or young people who might be experiencing difficulties at www.kent.gov.uk/wellbeingfamilies
For information on how the national lockdown may be affecting other health services, click here.
If you are vulnerable and need urgent support that cannot be met through existing support networks, get in touch with Kent Together at http://www.kent.gov.uk/KentTogether or call 03000 419292.
The government’s announcement on Saturday stated people can only leave their homes for:
- work, if you cannot work from home
- exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household, support bubble or on your own with one person from another household (children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside).
- all medical reasons, appointments and to escape injury or harm
- shopping for food and essentials
- providing care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer
Non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will all be closed. Click and collect services and essential shops, including supermarkets, will remain open. Pubs, bars, restaurants must close, except for takeaway and delivery services.
The Coronavirus furlough scheme will remain open until December, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.
For the latest updates to services in Kent, visit www.kent.gov.uk/coronavirus