NEW GOVERNMENT COVID-19 GUIDANCE OUT TODAY
On 16 April the Government set out five tests that would need to be met before the lockdown could be lifted. They believe they have met the first three tests (sufficient NHS capacity, consistent fall in daily number of deaths, decreasing rate of infection) but have only partially met the last two tests; testing capacity is not optimal, and they cannot be sure that a second peak will not follow if lockdown is ended. So instead of lifting lockdown completely, the Government will be beginning a very slow, phased relaxation of lockdown rules, which may be halted or reversed at any time if infection rates go up again.
In this first initial step of relaxing lockdown, the new guidance says that we can now take unlimited outdoor exercise and we can relax outside in parks and other open spaces. We are also now permitted to drive to an outdoor public place to relax or take exercise. However, I would like to stress that we should not be leaving the area to do so - other parts of the country have fewer resources to cope with the virus than we do here in London, and we would be irresponsible to put them at further risk by flooding their beauty spots. Luckily we have lots of lovely open space on our doorstep, so we should not need to drive more than a few miles for a picnic.
You can also now exercise with one person from outside your household, including playing tennis or golf, as long as you maintain social distancing at all times.
The government is now recommending that we should wear face coverings when in enclosed public spaces, such as shops, where social distancing may be difficult. These should not be medical grade facemasks, but simple face coverings. The research shows that they will reduce the chance of an asymptomatic person passing on the virus to others. Here is a good video showing how to make three different styles of facemask, two of which do not require any sewing: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52609777
As before, anyone showing any Covid-19 symptoms, however mild, should isolate at home, along with everyone else in their household. And all those who have been identified as clinically vulnerable should continue to self-isolate until at least the end of June.
NEW WORK-RELATED GUIDANCE
From Wednesday, May 13, the new guidance on which businesses should be operating is:
1) Workers should continue to work from home rather than their normal physical workplace wherever possible.
2) All workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open.
3) All sectors of the economy that are allowed to be open should be open. This includes (but is not limited to) food production, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution and scientific research. The only exceptions to this are those workplaces which the Government is still requiring to remain closed. The list of businesses which are to remain closed is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance
4) As soon as practicable, workplaces should follow the new “COVID-19 Secure” guidelines, which will be published this week, to maintain a safe working environment.
5) Anyone who has symptoms, however mild, or is in a household where someone has symptoms, should not leave their house to go to work.
6) When travelling, everybody (including critical workers) should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible. If they can, people should instead choose to cycle, walk or if necessary drive to work. I have written to Royal Parks today to ask if they will be reopening Richmond Park to cyclists to make it easier for workers to stay off public transport.
Please continue to follow the government guidelines and help ensure that we don't see a second spike in Covid-10 cases. If the rate of transmission (R-value) goes above 1 again we will see rising hospitalisations and deaths. We must all remain scrupulous in our observation of government measures in order to reduce that risk as far as possible.
RICHMOND WASTE AND RECYCLING RESUMES
Townmead Road Refuse and Recycling Centre, Garden Waste and Bulky Waste services are due to restart later this month, with strict guidance in place to ensure the safety of residents and staff and to ensure access to Mortlake crematorium.
Townmead Road Waste and Recycling Centre will reopen from Monday 18th May, however there will be significant rules in place regarding when and how people access the centre. For all the opening times and new rules on who can visit when, please click here:
The fortnightly paid for Garden Waste collection service will restart on Monday 18th May and the paid for Bulky Waste collection service will restart on the 26th May. Access to the online booking system to arrange for bulky waste collections will be open from 18th May.
VIRTUAL BEDTIME STORIES
Richmond Council is launching a series of virtual bedtime stories with the Mayor of Richmond, Councillor Nancy Baldwin and volunteers from Richmond Talking Newspaper.
A different story will be read every evening at 6.30 on Richmond Council’s You Tube channel, starting tonight. To see the bedtime stories from 6.30pm this evening, and nightly for the next week, go to: http://www.youtube.com/LBRichmonduponThames
VILLIERS ROAD WASTE AND RECYCLING CENTRE TO REOPEN
The Household Reuse and Recycling Centre at Villiers Road will reopen on Wednesday 13 May for essential visits only. You must pre-book your visit via the Kingston Council website. Visitors without a confirmed booking will not be allowed access to the site. Booking will open at 11am Tuesday 12 May 2020.
KINGSTON MAYOR TO SERVE SECOND TERM
Councillor Margaret Thompson will serve a second year as Mayor of Kingston, with Councillor Sushila Abraham stepping into the role of Deputy Mayor. Cllr Thompson will stay in the role until May 2021, while Councillor Munir Ravalia will step down from his Deputy Mayoral duties but will continue to serve as ward member for Coombe Vale.