Restrictions to control virus spread

Updated 11.01.201 @ 17:06

Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country. The Government have announced a national lockdown.

Read the Prime Minister’s statement.

This means you cannot leave or be outside of the place you are living unless you have a reasonable excuse. You cannot meet other people indoors, unless you live with them, or they are part of your support bubble. Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household.

The Government have published guidance on their plan for managing Covid-19 through the end of 2020 and into the start of 2021.

Download the Covid-19 response plan for Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.

Stay at home

Blackburn with Darwen is in national lockdown. You must not leave or be outside of your home or garden except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’.

Advice on leaving your home

Reasons why you may leave your home:

  • To go to work, if you are unable to work from home, or to volunteer.
  • Essential activities such as essential shopping, but you should stay local.
  • To attend education (formal curriculum or training) or registered childcare.
  • People can continue existing arrangements for contact between parents and children where they live apart. Childcare bubbles can continue.
  • To visit people in your support bubble, or to provide informal childcare for children aged 13 and under as part of a childcare bubble, to provide care for vulnerable people, to provide emergency assistance, attend a support group (of up to 15 people), or for respite care where that care is being provided to a vulnerable person or a person with a disability, or is a short break in respect of a looked after child.
  • To visit a place of worship or attend life events (funeral, wedding – see further details below).
  • People can also exercise outdoors or visit some public outdoor places, such as parks, the countryside accessible to the public, public gardens or outdoor sports facilities. You should stay local. You can continue to do unlimited exercise alone, or in a public outdoor place with your household, support bubble, or with one other person if you maintain social distancing. Please follow the guidance on meeting others safely.
  • For a medical reason such as getting a Covid-19 test, medical appointments and emergencies, to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse), or for animal welfare reasons – such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment.
  • To visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home (please contact the care home first) hospice, or hospital, or to accompany them to a medical appointment.
  • To fulfil legal obligations such as buying, selling, renting a property.

If you break the rules

The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups. This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty notices).

You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.

Full guidance.

Meeting others safely, exercising
It is against the law to meet socially with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble.

You can exercise or visit a public outdoor place:

  • by yourself
  • with the people you live with,
  • with your support bubble,
  • or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household.

You should not leave home for recreation or leisure (eg picnic). You should not travel outside of your local area.

When around other people, stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household (meaning the people you live with) or your support bubble. Where this is not possible, stay 1 metre apart with extra precautions (e.g. wearing a face covering).

You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble.

Public outdoor places include:

  • parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
  • public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
  • allotments
  • the grounds of a heritage site
  • outdoor sports courts and facilities
  • playgrounds

You cannot meet people in a private garden, unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them.

Full guidance

Business and venues that must close

To reduce social contact, the Government have imposed restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services. The following businesses and venues must remain closed:

  • non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores
  • vehicle showrooms (other than for rental)
  • betting shops, tailors
  • tobacco and vape shops
  • electronic goods and mobile phone shops
  • some auction houses and market stalls selling non-essential goods.

These venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect and delivery services.

  • hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and drink for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery.
  • personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people’s homes.
  • leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, sports courts, fitness and dance studios, riding centres, golf courses, climbing walls
  • accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
  • entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), animal attractions, water parks, theme parks
  • indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open for outdoor exercise
  • community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities, as set out below. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services - for example for people who do not have it at home - and for click-and-collect services

Some of these businesses and places will also be permitted to be open for a small number of exempt activities, including:

  • education and training - for schools to use sports, leisure and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision
  • childcare purposes and supervised activities for children
  • hosting blood donation sessions and food banks
  • to provide medical treatment
  • for elite sports persons to train and compete (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), and professional dancers and choreographers to work (in fitness and dance studios)
  • for training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls)
  • for the purposes of film and TV filming

Full guidance.

Business and venues that can stay open

The following businesses and venues are permitted to stay open if they follow COVID-19 Secure guidelines. This includes those providing essential goods and services, including:

  • essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
  • market stalls selling essential retail
  • businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services
  • petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses
  • banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
  • funeral directors
  • laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • medical and dental services
  • vets and pet shops
  • animal rescue centres, boarding facilities, and animal groomers (only for animal welfare, not aesthetic reasons)
  • agricultural supplies shops
  • mobility and disability support shops
  • storage and distribution facilities
  • car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
  • outdoor playgrounds
  • outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise
  • places of worship
  • crematoriums and burial grounds

Full guidance.

Whilst places of worship can remain open, the Director of Public Health representing Lancashire, are strongly advising all faith communities to pause communal prayer and worship during the lockdown period.

Council services

Some Council services will remain open. Find out more.

Childcare

You can continue to access the following forms of childcare under Tier 4: Stay at home restrictions:

  • a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under
  • some households will also be able to benefit from being in a support bubble
  • early years settings and childminders
  • other childcare activities (including wraparound care) where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, seek work, attend education or training, a medical appointment or respite care
  • nannies will be able to continue to provide services, including in the home
  • Some youth services are able to continue, such as 1-1 youth work and support groups, but most youth clubs and groups will need to cease for this period.

Friends or family who do not live with you and are not part of a support or childcare bubble must not visit your home to help with childcare. Childcare bubbles are to be used to provide childcare only, and not for the purposes of different households mixing where they are otherwise not allowed to do so.

Read guidance on making and using a childcare bubble.

You may change your support bubble provided that:

  • Your household, or the one you intend to form a new support bubble with, meets at least one of the criteria under ‘Who can make a support bubble’
  • The other household is not already part of a support bubble which they intend to remain a part of

If you decide to change your support bubble, you should treat your previous bubble as a separate household for 10 days before forming a new bubble.

Care homes

Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed.

Please contact the care home before visiting.

Travel

Stay local: You must not leave home unless you have a reasonable excuse. If you need to travel you should stay local – meaning avoiding travelling outside of your local area. Please walk or cycle where possible, plan ahead, and if you use public transport avoid busy times. Avoid car sharing with anyone from outside your household or support bubble.

See the guidance on car sharing.

If you need to use public transport, you should follow the safer travel guidance.

International travel: You can only travel internationally, or within the UK, where you have a legally permitted reason to leave home. If you do need to travel abroad see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Travel Advice for your destination and the travel corridors list.

Staying away from home: you cannot leave your home for holidays or overnight stays unless you have a reasonable excuse. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed. This includes staying in a second home or caravan, if that is not your primary residence. You are allowed to stay overnight away from home if you are visiting your support bubble.

Sport and physical activity

Indoor gyms and sports facilities will remain closed.

Outdoor sports courts, outdoor gyms, golf courses, outdoor swimming pools, archery/driving/shooting ranges and riding arenas must also close.

Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is allowed to continue.

For more information and support from Sport England visit - Coronavirus: what happens next? | Sport England

Weddings, funerals and other ceremonies

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies should only take place in exceptional circumstances and only with upto 6 people. Anyone working at the ceremony is not included. If you are going to a wedding outside of the Tier 4 area, the event must follow the Tier 4 gathering limits (six people).

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Linked religious, belief-based or commemorative events such as ash scatterings can continue with upto 6 people in attendance. Anyone working at the event is not included.

Going to work, school, college and university

Work

To help contain the virus, everyone who can work effectively from home must do so. Where people cannot do so, they should continue to travel to work/attend their workplace.

Workplaces should be covid-secure. If you are concerned about a breach of restrictions in retail businesses, office or warehouse please email publicprotection@blackburn.gov.uk. Please report manufacturing businesses if they are failing to comply with social distancing using the Health and Safety Executive's online form.

Schools and colleges

Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. Please speak to your school or college directly.
The Government do not think it is possible for all exams in the summer to go ahead as planned and will be working with Ofqual to consult rapidly to put in place alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly.

Universities

Universities will be in touch directly with their students regarding returning to campus. Those students who are undertaking training and study for the following courses should return to face to face learning as planned and be tested twice, upon arrival or self-isolate for ten days:

  • Medicine & dentistry
  • Subjects allied to medicine/health
  • Veterinary science
  • Education (initial teacher training)
  • Social work
  • Courses which require Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) assessments and or mandatory activity which is scheduled for January and which cannot be rescheduled (your university will notify you if this applies to you).

Students who do not study these courses should remain where they are wherever possible, and start their term online, as facilitated by their university until at least Mid-February. This includes students on other practical courses not on the list above.

Mental wellbeing

Supporting people’s mental health and wellbeing is a key priority for the council. It is important than ever that you get help when you need it most.

Please read our Shuttle article for the latest mental health resources.

Shielding (protecting people more at risk from Covid-19)

Those who are identified as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable will receive a letter from the Government.

The government are advising those who are clinically extremely vulnerable to work from home. If you cannot work from home you are advised not to go to work and may be eligible for Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Statutory Sick Pay, Employment Support Allowance or Universal Credit. Please speak to your employer.

The Government advise this group to stay at home as much as possible, except to go outdoors for exercise or to attend health appointments. You may wish to meet up with one other person from outside your household or support bubble, for example, to exercise in an outdoor public place. You should always try to do so as safely as possible by maintaining social distancing. Please follow the guidance set out in the shielding section of the CEV guidance.

Financial support

Please see our Support for residents section for information and advice on the financial support available.

Moving home

You can still move home and estate agents and removal firms can continue to work. Estate and letting agents can continue to undertake viewings.

Face coverings

In England you must wear a face covering in the majority of indoor settings. You are expected to wear a face covering before entering any of these settings and must keep it on until you leave unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it.

This includes:

  • public transport
  • taxis and private hire vehicles
  • transport hubs
  • NHS settings including hospitals and GP surgeries
  • shops and supermarkets
  • shopping centres and indoor markets
  • premises providing hospitality (bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes), except when seated at a table to eat or drink (see exemptions)
  • post offices, banks, building societies, high-street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses
  • premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing parlours)
  • premises providing veterinary services
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • places of worship
  • community centres, youth centres and social clubs
  • storage and distribution facilities

Please note, this is not an exhaustive list and we advise you to check government guidance on the link below. You should also wear a face covering in indoor places not listed here where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

In settings where face coverings are required in England there are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face covering. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances. Some people are less able to wear face coverings, and the reasons for this may not be visible to others.

Full information on the guidance on face coverings can be found here: Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

On council premises

Visitors are asked to wear a face covering before entering the council premises and indoor spaces listed below. The Council will take reasonable steps to promote compliance with the law. This may include, asking the visitor to show staff an exemption card or restricting access to the premises. Abusive or aggressive behaviour towards any members of staff or other members of the public will not be tolerated, and visitors will be asked to leave the premises.

  • All council owned community centres
  • All libraries
  • Blackburn bus station
  • Blackburn Town Hall
  • Care homes
  • Darwen Library Theatre
  • Darwen Town Hall
  • King George’s Hall
  • Museum

Visors should not take the place of a cloth face covering, but can be used in addition to a face covering, if the wearer feels they are at risk of droplets entering their eyes.

Support bubbles

A support bubble is a close support network between a household with only one adult in the home (known as a single-adult household) and one other household of any size. Once you’re in a support bubble, you can think of yourself as a single household with the people from the other household. It means that you can have close contact with them as if you lived together. It is very important that you only make one support bubble and that you follow the rules if you need to change your bubble.

You can form a support bubble with another household of any size if:

  • you live by yourself – even if carers visit you to provide support
  • you are the only adult in your household who does not need continuous care as a result of a disability
  • your household includes a child who is under the age of one or was under that age on 2 December 2020
  • your household includes a child with a disability who requires continuous care and is under the age of 5, or was under that age on 2 December 2020
  • you are a child aged 16 or over living alone or with other children and without any adults
  • you are a single adult living with one or more children who are under the age of 18 or were under that age on 12 June 2020

You should not form a support bubble with a household that is part of another support bubble and you should try to limit how far you travel to your support bubble. If you decide to change your support bubble, you should treat your previous bubble as a separate household for 14 days before forming a new bubble.

For more information please read the government guidance.

From 2 December 2020 you may change your support bubble provided that:

  • Your household, or the one you intend to form a new support bubble with, meets at least one of the criteria under ‘Who can make a support bubble
  • The other household is not already part of a support bubble which they intend to remain a part of.

If you decide to change your support bubble, you should treat your previous bubble as a separate household for 14 days before forming a new bubble.