Dear Business Owner,
I wanted to write to you following the government’s Autumn/Winter Covid-19 response plan.
As you will likely have seen in the widespread media coverage following the announcement, there are two versions of the plan:
Plan A – which aims to continue the positive progress that has been made through vaccination, testing and people isolating if they have symptoms, preparing the country for future challenges, while ensuring the NHS does not come under unsustainable pressure; and
Plan B – which will come into force if the data suggests the NHS is likely to come under unsustainable pressure. Plan B prioritises measures which can help control transmission of the virus while seeking to minimise economic and social impacts.
You can read about the above plans in more detail, here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-autumn-and-winter-plan-2021/covid-19-response-autumn-and-winter-plan-2021
More information about the proposed certification regime that would be introduced as part of Plan B can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/proposal-for-mandatory-covid-certification-in-a-plan-b-scenario/proposal-for-mandatory-covid-certification-in-a-plan-b-scenario
In Barnsley, we are continuously reviewing our local Covid-19 response too, and
we will continue to issue advice to residents and businesses throughout the autumn/winter period.
As the weather gets colder and more colds and viruses, such as flu, become prevalent in the community, it is vitally important that we work together to minimise transmission of Covid-19 wherever possible, practicing safer behaviours and actions both in and out of the workplace to reduce the spread, such as:
- Asking employees to stay at home if they are feeling unwell; Ensuring there is an adequate supply of fresh air to indoor spaces. Businesses should identify any poorly ventilated spaces, for example by using a CO2 monitor, and take steps to improve fresh air flow in these areas. A new, simple tool has been developed in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to assist with this: https://breathefreely.org.uk/ventilation-tool/?utm_source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=guidance-push-hse&utm_term=ventilation-tool&utm_content=helex-13-sep-21
- Provide hand sanitiser to enable staff and customers to clean their hands more frequently, and clean surfaces which people touch regularly;
- Display an NHS QR code poster for customers to check in using the NHS Covid-19 app, so they are alerted if there is an outbreak and can take action to protect others;
- Consider using the NHS Covid Pass (www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-pass/)
The government will continue to update the Working Safely guidance throughout the autumn/winter period, providing guidance on how employer can reduce the risks in the workplace.
You should familiarise yourself with this guidance regularly and consider it when preparing health and safety risk assessments, putting in place suitable mitigations: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-covid-19
Additionally, the new Autumn/Winter Plan details that should ‘Plan B’ come into force, the Government would also consider asking people to once again work from home if they can, for a limited period. A final decision would be made on this by the Government, based on data at the time.
Over the coming weeks and months, we will be continuing to monitor Covid-19 levels in Barnsley and will continue to issue our own local advice to residents and businesses as and when required.
Please remember to look out for our Friday updates which are sent out on the council’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, as they provide the latest details about the current picture in Barnsley.
Covid vaccination is still an important line of defence. Everyone aged over 12 in Barnsley is eligible for a COVID vaccination and ‘booster’ doses are also being offered to eligible groups of people.
For more information about the vaccine, please visit: www.barnsleyccg.nhs.uk/patient-help/covid-19-vaccine-faqs.htm
Influenza (flu) vaccination
The government has recommended as many people as possible receive a vaccination against flu this autumn and winter and has extended eligibility for free vaccination to help reduce pressure on the NHS. This is especially important this year given the possibility of a substantial resurgence in flu.
For further information about flu vaccination in Barnsley, visit: www.barnsleyccg.nhs.uk/wintervaccinations
There are a number of symptomatic and asymptomatic testing options available for people in the borough:
If you go on to develop one of the symptoms of Covid-19, a high temperature, a new persistent cough, or a loss of sense of smell or taste please book a test via the NHS testing system (visit nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119).
Financial support for self-isolation may be available. Please visit: www.barnsley.gov.uk/services/advice-benefits-and-council-tax/money-advice-and-support-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19/ to find out more.
Community testing, using Lateral Flow Devices (LFDs but also known as ‘rapid’ or LFT tests) is still available for residents through our mobile testing unit, pharmacy collect and ordering online. This is important to identify people who ARE NOT displaying coronavirus symptoms and, in turn, reducing coronavirus transmission rates in the community.
Please visit www.barnsley.gov.uk/services/health-and-wellbeing/coronavirus-covid-19/get-a-test-for-coronavirus-covid-19/get-coronavirus-covid-19-lateral-flow-home-test-kits/ for more information about this.
Test and Trace
Our local and national test and trace teams are also operating across Barnsley.
The teams will work with people with a positive result to identify contacts in a bid to reduce the spread of the virus. It is important that people share details of those they have been in direct contact with to help us reduce transmission rates. This service is anonymous.
For more information, please visit: www.barnsley.gov.uk/services/health-and-wellbeing/coronavirus-covid-19/how-were-supporting-nhs-test-and-trace/
As we head into the autumn/winter period, I would like to thank you all for your continued support. The next few months may be challenging for us all, but by practicing safer behaviours and following the latest guidance, we can Keep Barnsley Moving.
For more information, advice and support to businesses during the pandemic, please email RegulatoryServices@barnsley.gov.uk
Director of Public Health