Coronavirus updates – 4th April 2020

Royal Mail

Details of changes to services click here https://www.royalmail.com/d8/coronavirus-changes-service

Communcations problems and doorstep deliveries

Some questions are now being asked about priorities for doorstep delivery of food packages

A direct to doorstep essential service is being organised by the government. for those classed as critically at risk. Currently and subject to supply an individual box contains; hot beverages (coffee, tea bags), biscuits, bread, cereal, tinned veg, potatoes, long life milk, tinned protein (fish, cold meat excl pork, corned beef), fresh fruit, pasta sauce, pasta and rice, toilet tissue, hand soap or shower gel. This group also gets priority delivery slots from a local supermarket. The criteria for being identified as a member of this group can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Separately some local GPs have written to some of their patients saying that they may be severely at risk even though they do not have any of the conditions contained in the above guidance. The letters don’t identify what the vulnerability judgement is based on. This group of people does not automatically get food parcels (or priority for supermarket home deliveries) although they are being recommended to stay at home for 12 weeks.

The authorities should clear up this confusion.

Separately forward delivery slots at the Waitrose supermarket are now visible on their web site ( https://www.waitrose.com/ ). Sadly there are no vacancies during the next 3 months!

The Council promised to send an update leaflet, to each household in York, with delivery starting this week. While we doubt the value of this form of communication, against a rapidly changing background, if delivery is delayed then the Council should confirm when (if) the communication will be going out. (see note below on e-newsletter updates.

Mental health and isolation

There is some evidence beginning to emerge that isolation is having an effect on some of those living alone. It is not restricted to the elderly. If you haven’t seen or heard from a neighbour, relative or friend please make a point of telephoning, texting or emailing them. Just to check that they are OK

The Council says, “This is a difficult time for everyone, with friends, families and communities affected by coronavirus.  The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy is the professional association for members of the counselling professions in the UK”.

They share this advice: www.bacp.co.uk/news/news-from-bacp/2020/28-february-coronavirus-anxiety-how-to-cope-if-you-re-feeling-anxious-about-the-outbreak/.

Please continue to look after yourselves and each other. Public Health England has published guidance for the public on practical steps people can take to look after their mental wellbeing and specific guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Every Mind Matters platform has specific advice on maintaining good mental wellbeing during the current situation.

Free school meals

Free school meal payments and provisions are offered to all pupils eligible for benefit based free school meals and will be available during term time while the schools are closed. Provision offers vary and may include school provided meals, grab bags, vouchers or direct payments. This is dependent on each individual school. Schools have been contacting parents/and or guardians directly if their child/children are eligible benefit based for free school meals or meal vouchers. The provision will be made available to children of keyworkers over the Easter period, at the discretion of the school.

Information about applying if circumstances have changed is here: https://www.york.gov.uk/COVIDFreeSchoolMeals

Resident e-newsletters

Residents can now get e-newsletters from the council straight into their inbox. By signing up to their preferred mailing list via an online form on the council website, residents can choose whether to receive business, resident or families guidance and updates about support or services, or all three.

Visit https://www.york.gov.uk/form/EmailUpdates to find out more and sign up. Residents can also change preferences and unsubscribe to the e-newsletters if they wish.  Members are welcome to register for these e-newsletters too (noting you will still receive this update each evening

Scams

Sadly, a number of criminals are using Coronavirus as an opportunity to scam people when they at their most vulnerable.

The police have a list of scams and advice available. Veritau have also produced a list of scams affecting businesses and residents across the country with a number of messages to share on social media.

Tips to keep safe from scams

  • Do not click on links or open attachments in emails and text messages.
  • Take time to check emails or messages are from a legitimate source. Please be aware that fraudsters go to great lengths to make their communications with you look genuine.
  • Delete any suspicious emails or text messages immediately.
  • Don’t let anyone into your home without verifying their identity and checking they have legitimate documentation or an official ID card.
  • Never give out personal or financial information over the phone.
  • Only purchase goods online from trusted and legitimate retailers and if you have one, then use a credit card as this will offer greater insurance.

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