Coronavirus information and support
Coronavirus continues to be a real challenge for the country, and I appreciate that it has caused personal worry, inconvenience and significant economic disruption. That is why the government has taken unprecedented measures to support businesses and incomes.
This page brings together the most recent guidance, help and advice. Much of this information is also available on the government’s main Coronavirus website, here. You can sign up to receive email alerts by following this link and scrolling to the bottom of the page.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on 020 7219 7069 if you need further assistance or advice.
Medical information and testing
It’s important to be able to recognise the symptoms of Coronavirus and to know what you should do if you, or someone you live with, has these symptoms. The latest medical advice and information is available on the NHS website here.
You can have a test to check if you have Coronavirus. More information about this, and how to request a test, is available on the NHS website here. Information about what to do when you receive your test result is available here.
If you test positive for Coronavirus, you can help the NHS contact people who may have caught the virus from you. More information is available here.
NHS COVID-19 app
The NHS COVID-19 app is available to download for free in England and Wales. This is the fastest way to see if you’re at risk from Coronavirus. The app has a number of tools to protect you, including contact tracing, local area alerts and venue check-in.
I would encourage residents to download the app if you can. More information, including on how to download the app, is available here.
The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from Coronavirus. It is being offered in some hospitals and hundreds of local vaccination centres run by GPs.
The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine. It’s important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.
More information about the vaccine is available on the NHS website here.
Current rules and restrictions
On 4 January, the Prime Minister announced a national lockdown. This means that you must stay at home. You may leave your home to:
- Shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person.
- Go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home.
- Exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
- Meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one.
- Seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse).
- Attend education or childcare – for those eligible.
Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term, though Early Years settings remain open.
Comprehensive guidance on what you can and cannot do during the national lockdown is available here.
Support for businesses, employees and the self-employed
As part of the government’s unprecedented measures to support the economy, there are a range of schemes available (some of which have recently been adapted or extended), to support businesses and self-employed people through the disruption.
This support includes loans, tax relief, cash grants (including dedicated schemes to support businesses affected by the national and local restrictions), and business rates relief. Businesses have also been able to claim grants to cover their employees’ wages if they have been furloughed, and the furlough scheme has now been extended until the end of March 2021. More information on the support available – including non-financial support like webinars – can be found here.
There’s also an online tool to identify what financial support you or your business may be eligible for. This can be found here.
Some grant schemes and the business rates relief package have been administered by local councils. Elmbridge Borough Council has made information on grant schemes and other support available here and here, and on business rates reliefs here and here.
Support for individuals
I know that some people have faced financial difficulties as a result of Coronavirus, or the economic disruption it has caused.
To support those facing difficulties, the government introduced mortgage payment holidays for those in difficultly due to Coronavirus. These payment holidays have recently been extended. If you have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday, you can request one, that can last up to six months, from your lender. If you have already benefited from a payment holiday, you can extend it until you reach the six-month limit.
The government also boosted Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by £1,000 per year, and made it quicker and easier to access benefits
If you are struggling financially, more help and advice can be found under the “work and financial support” section of the government’s Coronavirus website.
There’s also an online tool to find out what help you can get if you’re struggling – whether with paying bills, getting food or having somewhere to live. This can be found here.
Local support and information
Elmbridge Borough Council – There is useful information and advice on Elmbridge Borough Council’s Coronavirus page. Residents can sign up to email updates through this page.
Elmbridge Borough Council can be reached via their switchboard at 01372 474474.
Surrey County Council – Information on how Coronavirus has impacted county-wide services is available here.
Surrey County Council’s Community Helpline number is 0300 200 1008. Deaf and hearing-impaired residents can text 0786 0053 465.
If you need help with things like picking up shopping or prescriptions, you can also contact Central Surrey Voluntary Action on 01372 722911.