Friday 26 March 2021
Due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we are providing regular email updates to let you know about the latest information we have on local and national measures to contain the virus, any changes to local services and support that’s available.
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Further information is available from www.rotherham.gov.uk/coronavirus
Please approach easing of restrictions responsibly
Some of the rules on what you can and cannot do will change from Monday, 29 March as the second phase of step one in the Government’s roadmap for easing of restrictions is introduced.
- you will be able to meet outdoors either in a group of 6 (from any number of households), or in a group of any size from up to 2 households (each household can include existing support bubbles, if eligible)
- you will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports with any number of people (outdoor sports venues and facilities will be able to reopen)
- childcare and supervised activities will be allowed outdoors for all children
- formally organised parent and child groups will be able to take place outdoors for up to 15 attendees. Children under 5 will not be counted in this number
A full detailed guide of the current restrictions and changes from 29 March is available here.
Whilst this relaxation of restrictions will be welcome after such a long period under tighter measures, it is vital that we all act responsibly by wearing face coveringswhen required, keep social distancing and washing hands often.
Infection rates in Rotherham remain high compared to other areas of the country, which increases the risk of more people catching the virus and becoming seriously ill, or even worse. Only if Government targets for reducing hospitalisations and other factors are met, will there be further easing of restrictions on the target dates.
Clinically Extremely Vulnerable
From 1 April, if you have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable you will no longer be advised to shield. However, you should continue to take extra precautions to protect yourself.
It is important that you continue to keep the number of social interactions that you have low and try to limit the amount of time you spend in settings where you are unable to maintain social distancing. If you are in this group, you will previously have received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you this.
Rotherham’s Covid memorial to offically open tomorrow
A virtual ceremony to offically open Hope Fields, Rotherham’s Covid memorial, will be available to view online tomorrow, Saturday 27 March from 10am.
The memorial at Thrybergh Country Park is in tribute not only to people who have lost their lives to Covid, but also to those who have been part of the emergency response and recovery effort – from key workers to volunteers and community champions.
One of the main aims of Hope Fields is for it to be inclusive for all, and feedback from bereaved families, counselling services and faith leaders has been used to ensure it will be a place that meets peoples different needs.
The site will include a pond and wetland, community orchard, interactive play activities and a new bird hide.
With social distancing and wide-ranging restrictions still in place, the ceremony to unveil Hope Fields this weekend has been pre-recorded and will be broadcast on Facebook, allowing residents to take part from the safety of their own homes.
The online event will include performances by the Sangeet Choir and Rotherham Symphony Orchestra, prayers from faith leaders, and films showing the sympathetic transformation of the site – which has been designed to ensure the existing biodiversity is protected and enhanced.
We are immensely grateful for the generous support of numerous volunteers and partner organisations who have contributed to Hope Fields.
Click here to watch the online unveiling ceremony anytime from 10am on Saturday 27 March 2021 on the Rotherham Council Events Facebook page.
Hope Fields is the culmination of Rotherham Together – a programme of activities exploring the themes of Joy, Gratitude and Hope.
Testing can help reduce workplace infections
The Covid infection rate amongst working-age adults in Rotherham remains worryingly high and businesses are being urged to play their part to reduce the risk in their workplace.
Businesses who are already open or are expecting to reopen in April or May are being offered the opportunity to test their workers if they are asymptomatic – or do not have symptoms of COVID-19 – through the Lateral Flow Testing offer.
There are two ways that businesses can access asymptomatic testing:
- Businesses have until 31 March 2021 to apply for workplace testing kits for those who are not able to work from home
- Workers from small businesses can book into the Test Centre at Riverside House for twice weekly testing
Residents who have children attending primary or secondary school or college, or work in an education setting, can also get rapid tests through the free school testing scheme.
Further information is available from the Council’s website.
Number of Covid patients in hospital falls again
The number of people being treated for Covid in Rotherham Hospital has fallen again this week.
The Hospital’s regular weekly update on Wednesday reported that there were 22 Covid inpatients, which is a reduction from 35 last week and less than half the number of a fortnight ago (45).
Just one Covid patient was in critical care at the time of the update.
Since the start of the pandemic the Hospital has now treated more than 2,500 Covid inpatients.
Sadly, the death registrations of further 11 people referenced Covid this week. One of the deceased was in their 40s, five were in their 60s, four were in their 80s and one was over 90.
The total number of death registrations mentioning Covid in Rotherham since the start of the pandemic is now 807.
Children and parents – test don’t guess this Easter
If you’re a parent or child who has been taking a twice weekly Covid test during term time, you should continue to do so during the Easter break.
And you should continue to report the result online in the usual way.
It’s vitally important that you take a test before returning to school or college for the summer term, either the night before, or morning of, the first day back.
University students are allowed to travel from their term time home back to their main home once during the break, but if you have only recently gone back to university it’s recommended you remain there.
If students do travel, they should get tested before they go home and tested in the community before they return.
All students should be getting regularly tested for Covid-19 via their on-site testing facility.
Where to get tests
If you are the parent or guardian of a student in school or college and you haven’t already done so, you can collect free home covid tests from our testing sites at:
- Herringthorpe Stadium
- Maltby Leisure Centre
- Dinnington Community Centre
They are open for collection from 1.30-7pmall weekend.
These tests are for people who have no current symptoms of Covid.
If you DO have Covid symptoms you should self-isolate and book a test immediately.
More information about the home test kits for parents is available from the Government website.
Online Easter activities for children and families every day
Rotherham Council’s Early Help service is offering a range of virtual activities for children and young people on its Facebook pages over the Easter holidays.
Two new activities will be posted each day, with one aimed at younger children and another for older children.
The activities will be posted every morning at 11am, starting tomorrow, Saturday 27 March, right through until Sunday 11th April,
There’s a huge variety on offer, including crafts, music, photography, fitness, cooking and even science experiments!
All the activities are free to access and have been funded by the Department for Education.
Visit any of Early Help’s facebook pages to take part:
Food vouchers for children on free school meals
The families of around 10,000 local children entitled to free school meals during term-time have received supermarket vouchers from Rotherham Council to be spent on food for the Easter holidays.
This will be the fourth successive school holiday that the Council has provided a scheme to support local families.
Food vouchers to the value of £30 have been issued for each eligible child to cover the two week break – roughly the same amount it costs to provide children with a free meal in school. The vouchers can be redeemed at local supermarkets.
Local schools have been distributing the vouchers to eligible families on behalf of the Council.
Have your say on plans for Parkgate
Local residents and businesses are being asked for their views on proposals to improve transport, walking and cycling infrastructure at Parkgate.
The SYPTE-led plans include:
- a new link road, footway and cycleway from Aldwarke Lane into Parkgate Shopping (Stadium Way);
- highway improvements at Taylors Lane roundabout;
- a new 300-space Park & Ride facility for the Parkgate Tram Train terminus.
For further information about the plans and to take part in the consultation visit the Travel South Yorkshire website, call Traveline on 01709 515151 or pick up a paper form from the Customer Service Desk at Rotherham Interchange.
An online Question and Answer session will take place on Tuesday 6 April from 12noon to 1pm. To take part you will need to register on the Travel South Yorkshire website.
Feedback from the consultation will be considered as part of a full planning application when it is submitted to the Council.