Corona virus updates – 26th March 2020

Self employed get help

Rishi Sunak announces Govt will pay self-employed people a taxable grant of up to 80 per cent of of their average profits over the past three years, up to £2,500 a month. The Chancellor says this will be available to anyone with profits up to £50k, and is only available to those who make the majority of the income from being self-employed

Community support

We understand that both the North Yorkshire County Council and the City of York Council are setting up local volunteer hubs. These will co ordinate the provision of services within local neighbourhoods.

In York there are expected to be 20 “hubs” spread around the City with the first starting work before the end of the week. The hubs will not be open to the general public but will direct volunteer efforts on food and other deliveries.

In North Yorkshire 23 community support organisations will be the single point of contact for the county and district councils and working with the local voluntary sector.
People needing help will contact the County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780 which will direct them to the contact point in their area. The role of the community support organisation in each locality is as follows:
• The single point of contact for those who are alone and isolated by the pandemic
• Signposting to what local support is available in the community;
• Act as local hub for individuals and groups wishing to volunteer in the community response;
• Provide information on local shopping options and trusted suppliers who are delivering directly to those who are self-isolating;

The Community Support Organisation will work with local voluntary sector groups to arrange:
• Collection and delivery of shopping using local volunteering resources. Shopping will be delivered in line with the safety guidelines and left on the doorstep or in a safe place, in order to avoid close physical contact;
• Collection and delivery of prescriptions using local volunteers. Prescriptions will be collected by a nominated person or organisation with the agreement of the GP or pharmacist;
• Caring for pets, for example walking a dog.
• Regular social contact via telephone, FaceTime, Skype or other methods that avoid physical contact with an individual in self-isolation.
• Delivery of books and magazines or materials to support hobbies, such as wool or knitting or art materials
The first thing people wanting to help should do is to think about and talk to family, friends and neighbours who may need help. The county council is also urging them to contact local voluntary groups already known to them mindful that the Government’s regulations must be observed at all
times.
Volunteers must follow the Government’s safety guidance on keeping a two
metre distance from people and the regular washing of hands.
“If volunteers have specific or specialist skills to offer, again they should be in contact with local groups. They can also contact the county council customer service centre which can direct them to their local community support organisation which can process their offer of help.”

The county council is working with the community support organisations to bring in North Yorkshire Volunteer ID cards in line with Government guidance.

Funerals

Information from City of York Council, “Whilst the Prime Minister announced the closures of places of worship and social events, however they did make an exception for funerals attended by immediate families. We are in close and regular contact with funeral directors and are following the latest government advice.

As part of steps to manage the impact of Coronavirus, and taking into account national guidance relating to social distancing, City of York Council has announced a number of changes relating to York Crematorium.

From immediate effect funeral services will still go ahead but with only 10 (ten) mourners to being allowed inside the White Rose Chapel and 5 (five) inside the Ebor Chapel. This is restricted to close family only (spouse/partner, parents/carers, brothers/sisters and children and their partners). This is to minimise the number of people gathering.

The council will seek to provide a recording free of charge and within 72 hours of the service the funeral director will receive the recording in an mp4 file format ready to pass onto to the family”. 

 Roadworks

Stonegate completing – all others postponed

We have taken the decision to close down the active work site at Monkgate which is still more than a week away from completion.

The site will be made safe and works will not recommence until such time central government indicate it is safe to do so. Temporary traffic signals will still be in place at the junction but hopefully the network will still remain quiet as people avoid travel wherever possible.

Council leaflet

Information about volunteering and community support is being distributed to all homes in the city. These leaflets have already begun distribution.  “The delivery teams are working flat out, are working safely and within Government guidelines and the leaflets, as COVID-relevant council information, have been prioritised for delivery.” The information is the same as has already been widely distributed on social media.  

 The Council says that they are also producing postcards for each ward (with ward members contact details) and stay safe stay home information will be sent by royal mail early next week.

Current Available Mental Health and Wellbeing and COVID-19 Resources

Please find below a list of current resources that are available online to support Mental Health & Wellbeing as part of COVID-19 Response.

Mental Health & Wellbeing and COVID-19 – Adults

Looking After Your Mental Health during the Coronavirus Outbreak – The Mental Health Foundation

Coronavirus and your Wellbeing – MIND

Mental Health and Psychosocial Considerations During COVID-19 Outbreak – WHO

Coping with Stress during the 2019 n-Cov Outbreak – WHO

How to stay active while you’re at home – Sport England

Coronavirus Guidance – Carers UK

Easy Read guide to Coronavirus – PHE

Mental Health & Wellbeing and COVID-19 – Children & Young People

Helping Children Cope with Stress during 2019 n-Cov Outbreak – WHO

Talking to your child about coronavirus – Young Minds

Supporting schools & colleges: A guide to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of pupils and students during periods of disruption

There are also three videos, one for school staff, one for parents and one for children and young people which may be useful.

General Health & Wellbeing Resources

Every Mind Matters – NHS and PHE

Mood Assessment and Mental Wellbeing Audio Guides – NHS

Tips for Everyday Living – MIND

Scam advice

Police advice

York Council service changes

The safety of the public and staff is paramount, therefore we are ensuring  social distancing guidance set out by the Government is followed where ever possible. This has led to widespread changes to the services we offer.

This includes:

Volunteering

So far, 1,400 residents have signed up to volunteer which is a wonderful response. We’re still looking for more, so please sign up

Parking and Car Parks including free parking for key workers and food workers

  • Key workers who work in the NHS or are health and social care related services or work in supermarkets and food outlets without parking (this does not include takeaways) will be able to park for free in council car parks to support the fantastic work they are doing during the corona virus pandemic. Our only ask is that they put in the windscreen a letter on their employers headed paper confirming that they are a key worker in one of the services mentioned above. They will not need to pay.
  • During the outbreak the council are mindful that people may not be able to move their car whilst they self-isolate some discretion is being shown to people who park legally provided they are not causing an obstruction or wilfully breaking the law.
  • Any urgent enquiries on this can be sent to parking@york.gov.uk  where officers will get back to you as soon as possible.
  • Please note Fossbank and Piccadilly car parks are currently closed.

Public Toilets

Public toilets in the city centre will be closed until further notice.. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Parks and open spaces

All council-run parks in the city will remain open for exercise but we’re asking visitors to ensure they adhere to social distance best practice. From this weekend, Rowntree Park will reopen following the flooding earlier this year.

Play areas will be closed from today and this includes basketball courts, skateparks, caged five a side areas and tennis courts. Notices are being placed in all play areas instructing the public of this decision.

To ensure we follow the government’s guidance on social distancing the York Bar Walls are closed.

Roadworks

We are suspending all non-essential roadworks across the city, including replacing traffic signals on Monkgate, following the government’s advice on social distancing. If possible we will remove cones and temporary traffic light to ensure the minimum amount of disruption is caused for those making essential journeys. This also ensures that we are able to redeploy staff if necessary to ensure essential services, such as refuse collection, continue to run.

Bulky Waste Collections

Our bulky waste collection services, which collections bulky items from households has now temporarily stopped. This is to ensure we can continue providing essential services across the city, including collecting your household waste (black bins).

Household Waste Recycling Centres

Our Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC), including Hazel Court and Towthorpe, are now closed.

This is on the basis that a visit to the HWRC cannot be considered essential – in line with recent national advice

We will be keeping Hazel Court open for commercial use – e.g. small builders, as they are currently allowed to continue to operate whilst adhering to social distancing. They will be required to produce a ‘duty of care’ transfer note on arrival.

Register Office

Unfortunately all ceremonies have been postponed following the governments advice. We have contacted everyone who has made a booking to look at rescheduling for a later date. The Register Office is currently only open to register a death. We are asking people to only go to the register office if they have a pre-booked appointment and are not showing any symptoms. We’re are also asking for only one person to attend each appointment to ensure social distancing guidance is followed.

Crematorium

From immediate effect funeral services will still go ahead but with only 10 (ten) mourners to being allowed inside the White Rose Chapel and 5 (five) inside the Ebor Chapel. This is restricted to close family only (spouse/partner, parents/carers, brothers/sisters and children and their partners). This is to minimise the number of people gathering.

Adult social care

In partnership with the NHS, we are prioritising the safe and supported return home of people currently in hospital.

We’re closely working with care home providers to monitor capacity in care homes across the city.

We’ve shared updated Govt advice on shielding online to protect the most medically vulnerable residents.

Fraud prevention

Advice from Trading Standards on how to spot or avoid scams can be viewed here https://www.york.gov.uk/FraudPrevention

Housing

We’re contacting all vulnerable households and tenants aged over 65 to check on their needs.

All housing landlord services will be run online or by phone to protect tenants, their families and our staff.

No face-to-face appointments can be run at the moment and tenants are being asked to use online and phone services only.

We’re reminding tenants that they must continue to pay their rent, but any who are struggling with their rent should contact their Housing Management Officers (HMOs) as soon as possible. We’re taking a flexible approach on enforcement.

We’ve shared details of benefits advice and where to make new claims or update existing ones is people’s circumstances change.

Housing adaptations

The priority areas are for minor adaptations to residents’ homes to enable safe hospital discharge and to fit key safes to enable carers to support them at home.

Homelessness services

In addition to our established hostels, we are working with private providers to place single homeless people with lower support needs in single rooms. These can be used to self isolate if needed. We are currently sending food to these customers and plan to use volunteers to support staff doing this.

In our hostels we are mitigating risks with extra sanitising measures and using social distancing. We are staffing hostels at levels which meet residents’ welfare needs and protect staff.

Rough Sleeper services are operating in the same way: for a bed, please go to 63, Lawrence Street or call them on 01904 416562

We are continuing with our services for people concerned about being homeless, and these will be done online or by phone. Anyone concerned about homelessness should call City of York Council on 01904 554500 or visit www.york.gov.uk/homelessness/housing-options.

Noise nuisance

We ask residents to show tolerance and consideration for neighbours at this difficult time and as we get used to new ways of living: it’s important that we all work together.

We are asking people to think about what they can do to live with levels of noise from neighbours, such as using a room in a quieter part of the home or using headphones to help concentrate. If this doesn’t work, in most cases, being neighbourly and considerate can resolve the majority of problems.

Our service is here to investigate criminal levels of noise nuisance and activate legal enforcement. If you do not think that what you are experiencing needs this, please consider safe contact with your neighbours to reach an agreement.

Stray dogs

Our stray dog service is currently suspended.  If you find a stray dog or have lost your dog please phone our Dog Warden on 01904 552299 who may have had contact from owners and finders and can put you in touch.

Free parking for NHS staff and other key workers at York Council car parks

  • Key workers who work in the NHS or are health and social care related services or work in supermarkets and food outlets without parking (this does not include takeaways) will be able to park for free in council car parks to support the fantastic work they are doing during the corona virus pandemic. Our only ask is that they put in the windscreen a letter on their employers headed paper confirming that they are a key worker in one of the services mentioned above. They will not need to pay.
  • During the outbreak the council are mindful that people may not be able to move their car whilst they self-isolate some discretion is being shown to people who park legally provided they are not causing an obstruction or wilfully breaking the law.
  • Any urgent enquiries on this can be sent to parking@york.gov.uk  where officers will get back to you as soon as possible.
  • Please note Fossbank and Piccadilly car parks are currently closed.

£1m business emergency fund to protect York  businesses and jobs during coronavirus outbreak

City of York Council today announced a £1m local emergency fund to support businesses in dealing with the impacts of Covid-19.

The fund will target a range of support at around 1000 small and micro firms, who are not set to benefit from the recently announced Government support packages.

The council is working closely with partners to make sure the fund delivers the most effective support and targets those who are least likely to benefit from existing measures.

In addition to the creation of a business support fund, the Council is also taking a series of action to alleviate pressures on local businesses during this difficult period.

These include:

  • All 350 council commercial rents deferred for three months.
  • Supporting key suppliers, including: 
  1. Paying those providing services to council and maintained schools, and bus providers for tendered routes and concessionary fares
  2. Paying in advance where possible, and for planned annual activity.
  3.   Exploring the potential for short-term loans
  • All planned increase in fees and charges are suspended (unless set by the government)
  • A license fee ‘holiday’ for businesses which can’t use them
  • Suspending debt recovery efforts

Councillor Keith Aspden, leader of City of York Council, said:

“These measures are designed to protect jobs and help local businesses who are having to adapt to extremely challenging circumstances and fall outside the remit of any government support.”

“In addition to the £1 million emergency fund for business, there will be a separate hardship fund of £1.25m to support residents, which we’ll announce details of soon. In the meantime, any resident facing financial difficulty should apply to our hardship scheme immediately.

Councillor Andrew Waller, executive member for the economy, said:

“We want to get help to businesses as quickly as possible to assist them at this critical time. We would encourage other property landlords to take the same approach.

“We’re also working with the York BID, LEPS and other partners to connect businesses to all the available advice, guidance and support, so we’d urge any business to visit www.york.gov.uk/BusinessSupport to see what is available to them.”

The council is engaging with business support services and partners to make sure the fund delivers the most effective support, with full details to be announced in the coming days. 

Any resident facing financial difficulty can see all the available support, and apply for the York Financial Assistance Scheme, at https://www.york.gov.uk/COVIDFinancialHelp