Local restrictions: What you can and can’t do in Blackburn with Darwen
To help prevent the spread of coronavirus, you should not:
- meet people you do not live with inside a private home or garden, except where you have formed a support bubble (or for other limited exemptions to be specified in law).
- visit someone else’s home or garden even if they live outside of the affected areas.
- socialise with people you do not live with in other indoor public venues – such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions. You may attend these venues with people you live with (or are in a support bubble with which must include a single adult household i.e. people who live alone or single parents with dependent children aged under 18), but should avoid interaction with others. If you run such a business, you should take steps to ensure people do not interact with people they do not live with, in line with COVID-19 Secure guidance.
The government will pass new laws to enforce the changes to meeting people in private homes and gardens. The police will be able to take action against those that break these rules, including asking people to disperse and issuing fixed penalty notices (starting at £100 – halving to £50 if paid in the first 14 days – and doubling for subsequent offences).
In Blackburn with Darwen the following premises and providers must remain closed:
- indoor gyms
- indoor fitness and dance studios
- indoor sports courts and facilities
- indoor swimming pools, including indoor facilities at water parks
- bowling alleys
- indoor skating rinks
- exhibition hall and conference centres
- nightclubs, dance halls, discos
- sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars
- indoor play areas, including soft-play areas
- close-contact services in highest risk zone, the area around the face, should not be provided.
Changes in restrictions
Does my household include close family members?
Your household – as defined in law – is only the people you live with. If you have formed a support bubble (which must include a single adult household i.e. people who live alone or single parents with dependent children aged under 18) these can be treated as if they are members of your household. Children of parents who are separated can move between households while the restrictions are in place.
What will be illegal?
It will be illegal for people who do not live together to meet in a private home or garden, except for limited exceptions to be set out in law. You should not host or visit people you do not live with, unless they are in your support bubble. If you live in the affected areas, you should not visit someone’s home or garden regardless of whether this is in or outside of the restricted area.
Can I still meet indoors with people in my support bubble?
Yes. Where people from single adult households (people who live alone or single parents with dependent children aged under 18) have formed a support bubble with another household, they can continue to visit each other, stay overnight, and visit other public places as if they were one household.
Can I still meet people outdoors?
In line with the national guidance, you can continue to meet in public outdoor spaces in groups of no more than six people. If the group is just people from only two households, more than six people can meet. You cannot meet people you do not live with in a private garden.
At all times, you should socially distance from people you do not live with, unless they are in your support bubble.
Can I still go to work in this area?
Yes. People living inside and outside of this area can continue to travel in and out for work. Workplaces must implement Covid-19 Secure guidance.
I live in this area. Can I still go to cafes, restaurants and other public places?
Yes. But you should only go with members of your own household – even if you are going outside of the restricted area.
I live in the area. Can people from outside of the lockdown area visit me at my house?
No. This will be illegal.
Do I still have to shield if I live in this area?
Clinically extremely vulnerable people will still have to continue to shield in Blackburn with Darwen and other local affected areas across England where shielding continues.
‘Please give me space’ social distancing cards or badges are available to show the carrier may have difficulties or concerns in maintaining social distance.
Can I visit a care home?
You should not visit friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances. Care homes should restrict visits to these circumstances.
Can I still have my wedding/civil partnership ceremony and reception?
Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies can take place but receptions and parties should not currently be taking place.
At present, legally-valid ceremonies or formations are strongly advised to go ahead only where they can be done in a Covid-19 secure environment. It is also advised that the ceremonies are kept as short as reasonably possible. No more than 30 people should attend the ceremony.
Any celebration after the ceremony should follow the broader social distancing guidance of involving no more than two households in any location or, if outdoors, up to six people from different households.
Can I still visit a place of worship in the lockdown area?
Yes, but you must socially distance from people outside of your household. This means maintaining a distance of 2 metres, or 1 metre with mitigations (e.g. face coverings). Government recommends at this time that if possible prayer/religious services take place outdoors.
Can funerals still take place in the lockdown areas?
Yes. Funerals should be limited to no more than 30 people and subject to COVID-19 Secure guidelines.
People living outside the lockdown areas may travel into the areas to attend a funeral.
Can I holiday in the lockdown area, or visit shops, leisure facilities, or cafes in it?
Yes. However, you must avoid socialising with people indoors when doing so.
Can I travel in a car with someone I do not live with?
You should try not to share a vehicle with those outside your household or social bubble. If you need to, try to:
- share the transport with the same people each time
- keep to small groups of people at any one time
- open windows for ventilation
- travel side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow face away from each other
- consider seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle
- clean your car between journeys using standard cleaning products – make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch
- ask the driver and passengers to wear a face covering
The Department for Transport has provided specific guidance on using private vehicles. Please see their guidance on private cars and other vehicles for more information on car sharing and travelling with people outside your household group.
What support is available to businesses who had planned to open but due to the deferral of the easing of lockdown, this is no longer possible?
We understand the concerns of our businesses and traders and we are doing what we can to provide support within the resources that have been available to us by government; we have also offered flexibility to businesses in making their repayments of amounts owed to the Council in these difficult times. The Government has provided funding for businesses who are liable for Business Rates and who are either;
- in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (which attracted a grant payment of £10,000) and
- for businesses who operate in the Retail Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure industry (who have a rateable value on their premises of less than £51,000) (dependant on this value they have received either £10,000 or £25,000)
The Council has administered the payment of these grants on behalf of the government in line with the strict eligibility criteria they set out. The Council has distributed almost £40 million of these grants over the last 3 months to businesses across the borough.
The Government has also provided funding to the Council to support those businesses who did not qualify for the above grants, albeit a much lower amount. A total of £2.2 million was provided to the Council to distribute as Discretionary Grants which opened to applications at the start of June and closed on 14th June. Successful applicants have received grants of between £1,000 and £25,000.
The Government has stated that all of these grants are to assist businesses in meeting their fixed costs such as rent, service charges, utilities, mortgage payments etc during the crisis.
Although further Government support has been made available to businesses through various government departments (e.g. Furlough Scheme, Self-Employed Income Support Scheme Bounce Back loans etc), no further funding has been provided to the Council to provide any further assistance to businesses in the borough.
We are continuing to lobby government for financial assistance to do this but at the present time, no such funding has been made available.
As reported in the Executive Board Report of 9th July, the Council is itself forecasting a budget deficit of £19.5 million due to the costs and income losses arising from the pandemic. Whilst some further funding has been announced, there is a lack of clarity on exactly what this will cover, however what is clear from the information provided to date, is that this will be significantly short of the funding required to close this gap. We will provide further updates as soon as the information becomes available.