Wednesday 15th July 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.
If you do not wish to receive these updates please click on “unsubscribe” at the bottom of the page.
You can check the latest information on our website at any time by going to https://www.rotherham.gov.uk/coronavirus
It’s time to get tested
There is an enhanced Covid-19 testing strategy for Rotherham Borough residents which means you can now get tested, regardless of whether you have symptoms or not.
Encouraging more people to get tested will help us identify asymptomatic carriers of the virus – people who have Covid-19 and who may be unknowingly spreading it to other people.
This will help reduce local infection rates, protect our loved ones and help keep Rotherham open.
How to arrange a test
The tests are free, quick and painless and can be carried out at one of the local drive-in centres or by using a home testing kit which will be posted to you. Extra drive-through testing sites have been set-up in the Rotherham Borough. You must pre-book to use these sites
Currently, if you don’t have symptoms, you will need to use the NHS website www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test to book a test.
As you work your way through the booking system you will be asked if you have symptoms or not – you can say that you don’t have symptoms and still be able to progress through to make a booking.
If you do have symptoms then you can book a test by either calling 119 or using the website.
Due to the increase in demand, it’s possible they may be booked up when you first try to book a slot – but keep checking back, new slots are regularly being added. You can also book to use other nearby drive-through facilities outside the borough, such as Meadowhall.
Similarly, only a set number of home testing kits are available at any one time, so please check back later if none are available when you try.
If you have Covid-19 symptoms (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste), you can also book a test by telephoning NHS Test and Trace on 119. But this is only for people with symptoms.
Director of Public Health: why more testing is needed
Rotherham’s Director of Public Health has been explaining why tests for Covid-19 are now being made available for everyone who wants one, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not.
In a new video message, Teresa Roche said that while the number of infections in Rotherham and other parts of South Yorkshire has been reducing and remain significantly lower than in other places such as Leicester, the reduction has been at a slower rate than most of the rest of the country.
By taking a test, you can play your part in keeping Rotherham open.
Even if you test negative, it’s still vital that you continue to:
- Keep two metres apart from other people whenever possible
- Wash your hands regularly
- Wear a face covering when advised
- Get tested if you start to show symptoms
Wearing face coverings in shops to become mandatory
Face coverings will have to be worn in shops and supermarkets from 24th July, the Government has announced.
The rule will apply to everyone except children under 11, and people with certain medical conditions.
The Prime Minister had previously advised people to wear face coverings in shops when possible but this will now become law on 24th July, with police able to fine people up to £100 for breaking the new rules.
Looking out for children through the pandemic
See Hear Respond is a new service provided by Barnardo’s and other national and local community-based organisations to help children and young people who are experiencing harm and increased adversity during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The service is providing support to those who are not being seen by social care or other agencies in a variety of ways, including:
- an online hub of support and information,
- online counselling and therapy
- face-to-face support for those most affected and at risk of issues such as criminal exploitation
- helping children and young people reintegrate back into school.
Further information, including details about how to make a referral, is available from the Barnardo’s website.
Rallying round for Rotherham
The Covid-19 crisis continues to bring out the best in local people and businesses.
Throughout the pandemic, generous local businesses and residents have been providing a lifeline to local families by donating to local foodbanks through the Rotherham Food for People in Crisis Partnership.
Significant donations of food, essentials and other support worth over £1,000 have recently been provided by Victrex plc of Ginhouse Lane and Roy Hatfield Ltd of Fullerton Road.
This has topped up regular financial contributions from local residents and organisations, which has been used to purchase items desperately needed by local people.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to or find out more abour the Rotherham Food for People in Crisis Partnership can do so online. Visit the Voluntary Action Rotherham website for details:
Relaxing planning rules to support local businesses
Rotherham Council has relaxed some of it’s planning requirements to help businesses operate safely and profitably within COVID-19 restrictions.
Usually businesses require formal planning permission for temporary structures or to create new or extend existing outside space.
But to meet the needs of businesses needing to adapt, Rotherham Council is to allow temporary structures / buildings and use of land in certain circumstances, for up to 6 months (up to December 2020).
This could include the use of space for outside seating / standing / waiting areas, or an extension to existing outside seating areas, as well as temporary structures, such as portacabins, allowing businesses to operate safely and within Government guidelines.
Businesses who think they can benefit will need to provide some brief information about their plans, which Planning Officers will assess and determine within five working days. Depending on the circumstance, some conditions may be applied on the way in which temporary structures / land are used.
Any use of public land, highway, or siting of a temporary structure, would need a highways licence in line with the Government published the Business and Planning Bill which contains the provision of a pavement licence. However, if the outside seating area is for the consumption of alcohol, planning permission would be required as normal.
Eateries can now register for Eat Out to Help Out scheme
Local restaurants, bars, cafes and other establishments serving food for consumption on the premises can now sign up to the national Eat Out to Help Out initiative.
Businesses taking part in the scheme will offer a 50 per cent reduction in bills for food and non-alcoholic drinks (up to a maximum of £10 per person), to all diners who eat and/or drink-in on Mondays to Wednesdays throughout August.
Businesses can then reclaim the discount provided through an online service, supported by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Restaurants, bars and cafes taking part in the scheme can also now download promotional materials including posters and images to display in their premises.
For details and to register your business, click the button below:
Reminder – MOT testing to restart from 1st August
Don’t forget, mandatory MOT testing is to be reintroduced from 1st August as part of the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.
Drivers had been granted a 6-month exemption from MOT testing in March as many garages closed to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.
However, all drivers whose car, motorcycle or van is due for an MOT test from 1st August onwards will be required to get a test certificate to continue driving their vehicle.
Drivers with an MOT due date before 1st Augustwill still receive a 6-month exemption from testing. However, all vehicles must continue to be properly maintained and kept in a roadworthy condition, and people are able to voluntarily get their MOT sooner should they wish to, even if they are exempt from the legal requirement.
Motorists can be prosecuted for driving an unsafe vehicle.
Gulliver’s is go!
The new multimillion-pound Gulliver’s Valley Theme Park in Rotherham opened its doors to the public for the first time on Saturday.
Although some indoor atttractions remain closed for the time being due to social distancing requirements, more than 30 rides and attractions, including an Apache Falls ride, full-size diggers, the Ghostly Galleon pirate ship and a Lost Jurassic World area are open.
Built on a former colliery site, Gulliver’s Valley is expected to attract many thousands of visitors to our borough, providing a timely economic boost for the area.
For further information on the opening and how to book, see the Council’s website.
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.