Monday 12th October 2020
Due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we are providing weekly 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
Rotherham Council Leader, Chris Read has responded to today’s Government announcement that Rotherham, along with other areas of South Yorkshire, has been placed under the High (middle) tier of new coronavirus alert levels (click on the picture to see the video message).
While this stops short of a full ‘lockdown’, he warns that the area could be placed under the Very High restrictions unless infection rates, which have doubled in the last week again, stop rising.
Councillor Read said:
“Over the last few weeks, just like in communities across the north of England, Rotherham has seen increasing numbers of people fall ill with coronavirus, more people being admitted to hospital and sadly, after weeks without any fatalities, people starting to die from the disease.
“Since the lockdown measures first started, local people have been asked to sacrifice a huge amount – and it’s down to us all to ensure that those sacrifices are not in vain.
“Devising rules to keep people safe while also helping people to maintain their way of life is difficult. But put simply, if the new additional measures don’t reduce infections, we will inevitably face additional restrictions in the coming weeks.
“Together with council leaders from across South Yorkshire and our City Region Mayor, we are lobbying the government hard for the economic support that we need. It can’t be right that if a business has to close because of restrictions, that closure is permanent. Those businesses and the people who work for them need financial support to see them through this tough time until their businesses can open again.
“The cost of not providing that support will be much greater in the long term. So we’re asking the government for additional resources for our local public services to support our businesses and workforce which also improving test and trace, so that people can get better access to tests.
“Coronavirus affects everyone, including people who work for the Council and other public services but rest assured, we will continue to work hard and be here for you when you need us, working in tandem with our Rotherham Heroes volunteer scheme to provide essential support to those who most need it
“Crucially, our health services are still operating as well and it’s really important that everyone continues to use services in the way that we normally would.
“If we take the right steps to look after each of the now, and we get the right support from the government, we can emerge from the other side of this virus with a strong economy and a strong community.”
What does being in an ‘High alert level’ area mean?
The Government has confirmed that Rotherham and other areas in South Yorkshire will be placed in the High alert (middle) tier.
This is for areas with a higher level of infections and means the following extra measures in place include:
- People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
- People must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space.
- People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.
The new high alert level for Rotherham will take effect from Wednesday 14th October.
Further information about the new three-tier alert system is available on the Government website.
Rotherham sees 520 new coronavirus infections in 7 days
The latest seven day Covid-19 infection rate in Rotherham is 170.8 per 100,000 (up to 2nd October), with 520 new cases reported. This compares to a rate of 81.2 per 100,000 for the previous week, in which there were 220 new cases and represents another significant increase.
Once again we need to continue to urge people to do the basics well. Only by reducing the speed of the infection rate will we ensure we are able to keep Rotherham open.
- Keep 2 metres apart whenever possible
- Wash hands often
- Self isolate and get tested if you have symptoms
- Wear a face covering whenever required
- Please encourage anyone with symptoms, however mild, to get tested as soon as possible
- Do not meet with anybody who is not from your household or support bubble indoors – either at home or in a public place
- Respect the rule of six when outdoors
Visit the Government website for the full list of restrictions covering Rotherham and other ‘High Alert Level’ areas.
Job support scheme expanded for Covid closure firms
The Government has announced that its Job Support Scheme will be expanded to support employees at businesses across the UK required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions.
The extension of the scheme means that the Government will pay two thirds of employees’ salaries, up to a maximum of £2,100 a month per employee.
The scheme will begin on 1st Novemberwhen the existing furlough scheme ends and will be available for six months, although it will be reviewed in January.
Businesses will only be eligible to claim the grant while they are subject to restrictions and employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.
The Government announcement.
Elections staff to visit homes as part of annual canvass
Rotherham Council elections staff are visiting the homes of residents who have not yet responded to this year’s annual canvass over the next two weeks.
Around 12,000 homes have not responded to initial letters or emails and reminders. The Council has a statutory duty to collect the information.
To maintain social distancing, the visits will be carried out in a different way to previous years.
Staff will not be completing the forms on the doorstep with residents as they normally would – instead, they will call at a property, be socially distanced whilst explaining what they need to do and then posting the form through the door once it is closed.
If nobody is at home when they call, the form will be posted anyway. The form will be enveloped and include a pre-paid return envelope. It can also be responded to online or via the automated phone service.
Further information about the annual canvass is available from our website.
Passengers returning to England from a number of Greek Islands no longer need to self-isolate for two weeks.
The islands of Lesvos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos and Zakynthos have been added to the safe travel corridor list following a decrease in the number of confirmed covid-19 cases there.
All travellers, including those from exempt destinations, are required to show a completed passenger locator form on arrival into the UK, unless they fall into a small group of exemptions.
Penalties for people who break self-isolation rules when returning from non-exempt countries have increased from £1,000 for first offences up to £10,000 for subsequent offences, which is the same as penalties for those breaching self-isolation following a positive COVID-19 test or contact from Test and Trace.
A list of the countries on the safe travel corridor list is available from the https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors.
Sheffield Road, Rotherham during the floods of November 2019
Action needed now to stop this happening again
South Yorkshire’s political leaders met with Government ministers and officials last week to state the case for significant funding for flood defences to prevent a repeat of the devastating floods which hit the region last November.
Rotherham Council Leader, Chris Read joined Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis, the borough’s three MPs and fellow South Yorkshire Council Leaders in calling on the Government to back a £270m flood defence package for the region.
They appealed for the support during a flood summit with George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Rebecca Pow, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Following the summit, Councillor Read said: “The Council, the businesses and the people of Rotherham certainly haven’t forgotten the suffering caused by last November’s floods and we need to ensure the Government isn’t allowed to forget either.
“The Council has delivered 40 small scale flood alleviation schemes since November 2019 at locations across the borough to reduce the flood risk to roads, residential and commercial properties – but we know that is just a sticking plaster compared to the major investment that is required to properly protect our borough.
“We’re grateful for the Ministers time and that they have been prepared to listen, but this has to be backed up with action and funding for these schemes. Without it, a repeat of the flooding seen in November 2019 is inevitable.”
See our press release for full details
National Adoption Week 2020 will take place from 12th to 18th October.
The focus for 2020 will be on the children who wait the longest for a loving home – those in a sibling group, children from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, older children and those with complex health needs or those that are disabled.
A new national adoption recruitment campaign, #YouCanAdopt, has launched to raise awareness of adoption and bust myths around who is eligible to adopt; to increase the number of possible parents registering their interest in adoption.
The campaign is a national first and is being delivered from a cross sector of Regional Adoption Agencies, Voluntary Adoption Agencies and other key adoption stakeholders in England. Rotherham Adoption Agency is supporting this national campaign.
For further information on this year’s national campaign visit our website www.adoptioninrotherham.org.uk or our Rotherham Adoption Agency Facebook page.
October events for Rotherham Together announced
Rotherham Council has come together with WOW – Women of the World, supported by Rotherham’s Creative People and Places programme, Flux to celebrate the borough’s Women of Hope.
Four women with African heritage, making their own mark in the borough and the wider world, will be sharing their stories throughout Black History month this October. Videos of Langa, Sile, Sabine and Neema will be available to view on RMBC Events and Clifton Park MuseumFacebook pages.
Rotherham Ethnic Minority Alliance have also organised a number of online, virtual events and workshops including Black History of The UK (Pre Windrush), Racism and Unconscious Bias and a performance of Death and The King’s Horseman by Utopia Theatre
The events are part of the Rotherham Together programme which was launched in September and is aimed at bringing residents and communities together safely as people in the borough start to rebuild their confidence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Download the latest Rotherham Together October Events leaflet here.
Landlords who own or manage residential property in any of the borough’s six Selective Licensing areas are being urged to apply for their licence before the end of the month.
The new 2020 -2025 Selective Licensing scheme, which came into force in May, offered an extension for applications to be submitted until the end of October, to assist with the impact of the pandemic. This extension expires on the 31 October 2020. Licenses from previous licences schemes are not valid.
The scheme is targeted at improving areas which have been identified as requiring a range of help from the Council and partners, including the police, to improve the quality of life for residents. The areas covered include parts of central Rotherham, Masbrough, Eastwood, Maltby South East, Dinnington, Thurcroft and Parkgate.
Visit our website for further details.
Ofsted is to carry out a ‘restart visit’ to Rotherham Council’s Children’s Services later this month.
This is a restart visit, not an inspection and will not result in any change to Rotherham Children’s Services current ‘Good’ Ofsted rating.
Following the visit, the Council will recieve a published letter outlining the inspectors findings, both positive and highlighting any areas for improvement.