Latest advice and useful links

The latest Government guidance

On 12 October, the government announced a new three-tier system for local lockdown measures. The local COVID alert levels – medium, high and very high – will be implemented depending on local infection rates.

From Saturday 17 October 2020, London will move up to a ‘high’ level of local COVID alert.

This means that the following new guidance will be introduced in addition to what is already in place:

  • We will only be able to socialise indoors with people we live with or those in our support bubble - This applies to all indoor settings including homes, pubs and restaurants
  • We can socialise outdoors with people who are not in our bubble or household, however only in groups of up to 6
  • We should reduce the amount we travel, especially on public transport
  • People who were previously shielding are advised to take extra precautions

In addition to the new guidance, it remains absolutely vital that we continue to follow public health advice which is:

  • Washing our hands regularly with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds
  • Wearing a face covering in indoor public spaces, unless exempt. When wearing a face covering, it should cover our nose and mouth 
  • Consider wearing a face covering if we are visiting a person with underlying health conditions, along with taking other precautions
  • Staying 2 meters apart from people we don’t live with
  • If we develop symptoms, self-isolating and getting tested via nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.

The full guidance can be read here.

Access support to self-isolate

Self-isolating is important because it will prevent you from passing it on to other people and keep those around you safe. If you need help to self-isolate, whether it be accessing food or medicine, support with your job and work needs, or help with your children’s education and caring responsibilities, please call us on 020 7974 4444 (option 9).  

Advice for vulnerable residents

From Saturday 17 October, London will be at a ‘high’ level of local COVID alert. This means that residents who were previously shielding are advised to take extra precautions to keep themselves safe. We are also advising all residents who need to visit someone who is vulnerable to take extra precautions themselves such as wearing a face covering during the visit and washing hands on arrival.

Face coverings

Wearing a face covering is important because coronavirus usually spreads by droplets from coughs, sneezes and speaking. You can help prevent it spreading by covering your mouth and nose with a face covering but if it doesn’t cover both, it’s not going to work.

You must wear a face covering on public transport, in taxis and in all indoor public spaces. You could face a minimum fine of £200 for not wearing one. 

The following people are exempt from wearing a face covering:

  • Anyone under the age of 11
  • Those with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering

If you are exempt from wearing one, you can request a free print or digital exemption badge at gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own

Camden’s Local Outbreak Prevention and Control Plan

To learn more about the Council’s plans to prevent and control local cases of coronavirus, read its Local Outbreak Prevention and Control Plan (PDF) which explains how we will support all of our residents, communities and businesses to understand and follow public health advice to prevent and control the spread of coronavirus.

Download Camden's Local Outbreak Prevention and Control Plan (PDF)

Latest advice for businesses

Support for businesses at 'high' COVID alert level (Tier 2)

On Thursday 22 October, the Government announced a new financial support package for businesses operating in areas of ‘high’ COVID alert level (Tier 2) – such as Camden. 

You can find information explaining the Government’s COVID alert system and what each level means for your business at gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-levels-what-you-need-to-know

For full details of available new business grants, the Government's expanded Job Support Scheme and self-employment grants, visit camden.gov.uk/financial-support-for-businesses-and-employers1

10pm curfews and a ban on household mixing

From Saturday 17 October, the Government's COVID alert level in Camden and the rest of London will rise from medium to high. This means that there will be a small number of additional restrictions in place, on top of those already announced by the Government in September. You can find out more about the COVID alert levels at gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-levels-what-you-need-to-know

The most significant change following the increased COVID alert level is a ban on household mixing in indoor settings, including pubs, cafes and restaurants. As the owner of a business, it is your responsibility to ensure:

  • No bookings are accepted for a group of more than one household or support bubble
  • No visitors are admitted to your premises in a group of more than one household or support bubble
  • People from different households and support bubbles do not mix 

In addition, there must be an appropriate distance of two metres maintained between tables, or one metre if you have screens in place between tables. It remains a requirement that all sit down pubs, bars and restaurants close at 10pm. If your business offers takeaway food, you can continue to serve after the 10pm curfew but only as a click and collect service. 

Failure to follow these rules may result in a fixed penalty notice of £1,000. Government legislation allows this to be doubled to £4,000 for subsequent offences.

NHS COVID-19 app

On Thursday 24 September, the Government will launch its NHS COVID-19 app to support NHS Test and Trace. The app will help to prevent the spread of coronavirus by:

  • Helping to identify people who’ve been in recent close contact with someone who’s tested positive for coronavirus – including people they may not personally know.  
  • Enabling people to scan a unique QR code to ‘check-in’ to a venue – e.g. a shop, restaurant or close contact services such as hair salons. 

All local businesses and venues – including shops, voluntary organisations and places of worship - are asked to download and display their own unique QR posters. 

If someone tests positive for COVID-19, the app will use QR ‘check-in’ data to automatically alert people they’ve been in recent close contact with by sending a notification straight to their mobile phone asking them to self-isolate. 

Notifications to NHS COVID-19 app users will not mention the name of your venue, just that the app user has recently been to a venue where they may have come into contact with the coronavirus.

Legal requirements and enforcement

The Government have announced that it will be a legal requirement for all businesses and venues in the following sectors to display a QR poster from Thursday 24 September:

  • Hospitality, such as restaurants, hotels and bars
  • Leisure and tourism, such as gyms, museums and cinemas
  • Close contact services, such as hairdressers and beauty salons
  • Local authority venues, such as libraries and children’s centres

If you are unsure whether your businesses falls into any of these categories, you can find a complete list of affected venues at gov.uk/guidance/maintaining-records-of-staff-customers-and-visitors-to-support-nhs-test-and-trace 

Failure to display a poster and offer a manual option to record customer details could result in fixed penalty notice of £500 within the first 14 days and £1000 thereafter, doubling for a second offence and prosecutable after 28 days for non-payment. 

How to create a free QR poster for your business or venue

  • Go to: gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster and register your details including your name and email address. 
  • Enter the verification code sent to your email address into the web form and follow the instructions adding contact details for the person responsible for the venue.
  • Once you have confirmed your details are correct you can download your venue’s QR poster. You will need to print copies for every entrance of your venue. If you have more than one venue, you will need a separate QR poster for each. 

If your customers or visitors check-in using your NHS QR poster then they do not need to provide any further test and trace details to your staff. However, it is important that you continue to offer a manual option for recording visitor’s contact details for those without a smartphone or the app. 

Legal changes to COVID-secure workplace rules

As of Monday 28 September, it will also become a legal obligation make sure your business is COVID-secure. The Government have released simplified guidance to help you understand what steps are required to become COVID-secure at gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19 your premises is compliant

All staff working in retail and hospitality must also wear a face covering from Thursday 24 September. If you own a pub, bar or restaurant, customers should also wear face coverings when they are not seated at tables. Failure to make your business COVID-secure or ensure staff are wearing a face covering can result in a fixed penalty notice. 

More information

The NHS have released a set of Frequently Asked Questions to support both businesses and residents ahead of the launch of the NHS COVID-19 app. You can find these online at faq.covid19.nhs.uk. You can also find further information about the NHS COVID-19 app at camden.gov.uk/nhs-test-and-trace

If you or a member of your staff develop symptoms of COVID-19, you must self-isolate and get tested via nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. This can help prevent the spread of the virus, keeping Camden safe and open for business. If a member of your staff does test positive or is told to self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace, we ask that you do all that you can to support them to stay at home. 

Self-isolating staff may also be able access the Test and Trace Support Payment – a one-off payment of £500 to support people on low incomes to self-isolate. More information is on our website camden.gov.uk/apply-for-test-and-trace-support-payment  
 

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