Thursday 11 June 2020
Due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we will now be providing regular email updates for residents to let you know about the latest information we have and any changes to local services that may be affected.
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You can check the latest information on our website at any time by going to https://www.rotherham.gov.uk/coronavirus
Face coverings to become mandatory on public transport
New national rules come into effect from Monday 15th June which means passengers must wear face coverings when using buses, trams and trains.
Locally, Travel South Yorkshire has been advising passengers to use face coverings for several weeks, but the new rules mean that they will become compulsory and anyone who is not wearing one is likely to be refused permission to travel.
These rules also apply to children using public transport for school.
Strict national social distancing measures mean that South Yorkshire’s bus, tram and train networks are only able to carry around 20 per cent of the normal number of passengers.
So, wherever possible, you are advised to walk, cycle or drive and only use public transport if they have no other safe and realistic means of travel.
If you are using public transport, please plan your journey in advance using the Travel South Yorkshire website and allow additional time as travel may take longer.
Social distancing measures mean it is likely that buses will reach capacity quickly and people waiting at a bus stop may see buses drive past with ‘Bus Full’ signs on their destination screens.
When buses have reached capacity (when approximately one in every four seats is taken) the driver will only pull up at the stop to let a passenger get on if a passenger needs to get off. A strict ‘one-off, one-on’ policy will be in place.
Allow extra time for your journey and be prepared to wait. Adhering to the rules will help reduce the chances of coronavirus spreading, protecting yourself, your family and others.
More shops to re-open from Monday
More shops across the borough will be able to re-open for business from Monday following an easing of Covid-19 restrictions by the government.
It’s the first time that many non-essential shops will be able to welcome back customers since the lockdown was announced in late March.
The safety of the public, shop owners and workers remains the number one priority, so it is vital that social distancing is maintained wherever possible.
To support this, people visiting the town centre will notice a few changes to the layout of some pedestrian areas and additional signage reminding people to socially distance.
Please be patient and allow extra time for your visit.
More grass cutting services to be restarted
The Council is now starting to restart grass cutting services in more areas which have been depleted during the coronavirus, due to staff shortages.
In order to carry on providing waste collection for every home in the district safely, using social distancing to protect our staff and residents, we’ve had to increase the number of people we need to provide your waste collection rounds by about 25% – which is an extra 30 staff every day.
In addition to a number of our staff who have had to stay off work due to long term health conditions, this has severely limited our ability to provide the grounds maintenance services to the level we would like or you would expect.
Whilst our staffing levels still remain lower than normal, we are now in a position to restore some grass cutting services across the borough. As we are not yet operating at full capacity, it will take us longer to complete jobs.
We’ve made a start on maintaining parks and sheltered housing complexes and we are now moving to more general housing estates. This work will continue with other areas being prioritised as staffing allows.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time, it really is appreciated.
More financial support now available for small businesses
Hundreds of small businesses and charities hit hard by lost trade due to the coronavirus coronavirus are being offered more financial support by Rotherham Council.
The £2.4m Discretionary Grant Scheme is offering financial support of between £1,000 and £25,000 for a wide range of firms, including small businesses in shared office or flexible workspace, charities, bed and breakfasts, private childcare nurseries and market traders with lease agreements.
The financial aid is being targeted at local businesses who were not eligible for the recent Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Fund schemes, which have provided more than £40m to over 3,600 businesses in Rotherham.
To be eligible, businesses must:
- be Small or Micro business (as defined in Section 33 Part 2 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 and the Companies Act 2006).
- have been active and trading on 11 March 2020.
- have fixed costs, not exceeding £51,000 per year.
- be able to show they have suffered a significant loss of income due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Businesses who have applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and those eligible for the Self-Employed Income support scheme ARE able to apply for this funding too.
We’re really keen that this support reaches businesses who need it. If you know a local business who you think may be eligible for this or other schemes, please let them know.
Primary Schools won’t return to full capacity yet
The Secretary of State for Education has announced that original plans for all primary school children to return to school over the next few weeks have now been revised.
There had been an aim for all primary pupils to spend four weeks in school before the summer break. However, that is no longer thought to be feasible and instead schools will be given “flexibility” over whether or not to admit more pupils.
The majority of Primary Schools in Rotherham joined most others across England in opening up further places from Monday 1st June, starting with nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6. This was only done following a comprehensive risk assessment and where it was safe to do so, according to the individual circumstances of each school.
Most Rotherham schools have remained open through the Coronavirus restrictions to provide school places for vulnerable children and the children of key workers.
Meeting people from a different household
The Government has announced a slight easing of the restrictions for single people who want to meet others from a different household.
Starting from this Saturday, single adult households – in other words adults who live alone or with dependent children only – can form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household.
All those in a support bubble will be able to spend time together inside each others’ homes, including overnight, without needing to stay two metres apart.
The Government hopes this will particularly help people who live alone and feel most isolated.
The Millers are promoted!
The League One and League Two seasons have both been ended early after a formal vote by English Football League clubs on Tuesday.
Both tables were settled on points per game, while promotion, relegation and the play-offs all remain.
The outcome means that Coventry City have been crowned League One champions with Rotherham United securing the second automatic promotion slot and will play in the Championship next season.
Well done to the Millers!
Getting in touch…
During this challenging time please, where possible and appropriate, use our online services rather than calling via telephone. We’re receiving a high level of calls daily and want to ensure we’re able to answer urgent calls regarding vulnerable residents and our front line services.