LONDON MOVING TO TIER 2 ALERT LEVEL AT MIDNIGHT TONIGHT
London's Covid-19 case rate has continued its upward trajectory, so the city will be moved from Tier 1 (medium alert level) to Tier 2 (high alert level) as of midnight tonight. Within the Greater London Authority, Richmond borough has the second highest rate of infection at 137 persons per 100,000. Kingston is also of special concern as one of the thirteen boroughs with a rate higher than 100 per 100,000.
The new rules that apply to us now include a ban on socialising indoors with anyone outside your household, support bubble or childcare bubble. This includes meeting at pubs, bars, restaurants, and leisure venues such as cinemas. Socialising can be done outside only, and only six people can meet at a time. We are all instructed to work from home if we can, and to avoid public transport as much as possible. Schools will remain open.
Exceptions to the rules on meeting indoors include:
work or volunteering (please see guidance on working safely in other people’s homes)
childcare, education or training
children who do not live in the same house as both parents/guardians
Children's and youth activities, such as after school clubs, sports, etc.
Please go to this page for more information:https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-level-high
I have been calling for a two-week circuit breaker lockdown, in company with Lib Dem and Labour colleagues in Parliament. This is what the science indicates and I believe it is the best way to get the r rate down quickly with the least economic and personal consequences. I am disappointed that the Prime Minister has not listened to his science advisors on this.
However, I am urging all of my constituents to comply fully with the Tier 2 restrictions and to do all you can to give the current plan the best chance of success. In addition to following the new rules, please continue to wear your mask in public, wash your hands frequently, give others plenty of space, self-isolate if you are exposed to the virus or have symptoms, and use the Covid-19 app. The lives of our friends and family members depend on getting the virus back under control as quickly as possible.
JOIN MY ZOOM Q&A ON THE NEW COVID RULES THIS MONDAY AT 6PM
If you have any questions about the situation in Richmond Park or the new Covid-19 rules, please join me on Monday evening, when I will be holding a Zoom Q&A session about them. I look forward to the opportunity to answer your questions and share views on the situation. You can sign up to join the call by emailing my office on firstname.lastname@example.org
VACCINE TRIALS: MORE BAME AND OVER-65 VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
People from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and older people are under-represented in the vaccine trials currently taking place in the UK. Researchers are calling on more people from these groups to take part in clinical trials. If you would like to contribute to the vaccine effort I would encourage you sign up to the NHS vaccine registry.
Anyone living in the UK can register to take part in the trials. The process takes about five minutes to complete, and researchers will then contact you if your background is a good fit for their trial. You can withdraw your registration at any time. Volunteers will play a vital role in ensuring that potential vaccine candidates work for everyone. Register online at https://www.nhs.uk/sign-up-to-be-contacted-for-research
PUBLIC MEETING ABOUT CHANGES TO DRIVING AND PARKING IN RICHMOND PARK
Royal Parks has proposed changes to traffic and cycling rules for Richmond Park as part of its new Movement Strategy. They will be consulting on these changes from 1st November for two months. In addition, they are also consulting on bringing in car parking charges.
To give local residents the opportunity to engage with The Royal Parks over these changes, Richmond councillor Andree Frieze has organised an online public meeting at 7pm on Wednesday 21st October with representatives of the Royal Parks, on behalf of both Ham & Petersham and Kingston Neighbourhood Forums. You can see more details and sign up for the meeting here: richmond-park-public_meeting.eventbrite.co.uk
HAMMERSMITH BRIDGE UPDATE
Representatives from the Department for Transport were present at the Public Accounts Committee meeting yesterday in Parliament. I used the opportunity to ask them to clarify their position on funding the bridge repairs. They did confirm that they will be providing ‘some funding’ for the bridge repairs. They could not commit to a timescale but have agreed to come back to me on it. I will update you when I receive that response. You can read a transcript of the discussion on pages 2 and 3 of this: https://committees.parliament.uk/oralevidence/1038/default/
I know many of you are keen to be part of the Hammersmith Bridge taskforce's upcoming virtual meeting. As soon as I hear more about how you can apply, I will update you. You can find the update from yesterday's taskforce meeting here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hammersmith-bridge-taskforce-meeting-15-october-2020
I was pleased to hear this week that TfL have committed to an extra peak time service per hour for the 533 route from 2 November, though this is still not enough buses on this route.
AGE UK SUPPORT AVAILABLE
Age UK has written to me to ask me to remind my constituents that they offer a range of support resources to help older people through this difficult and uncertain time.
Advice Line: 0800 678 1602
Advice on Covid-19: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/coronavirus/
Local services for you: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/services/in-your-area/
COVID INFORMATION ON THE COUNCIL WEBSITE
Richmond Council's Covid-19 web page has all the local information Richmond borough residents need, including health information, local support and updates. If you have any questions about how Covid-19 impacts you and your family, this is a good place to start: https://www.richmond.gov.uk/coronavirus_information
You can see Council Leader Gareth Roberts explaining the new Covid-19 rules here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5vx1QK4Ps4&feature=youtu.be
And if you have to self-isolate, check if you are eligible for the £500 support payment here: https://www.richmond.gov.uk/services/wellbeing_and_lifestyle/health_protection_information/coronavirus_information/where_can_i_find_help_or_support/covid-19_support_for_residents/isolation_payment
RICHMOND COMMUNITY FUND - APPLY NOW
If you have a great idea about a project for the area where you live, but don't know how to pay for it, why not apply to the Community Fund? The Community Fund could be used for green space improvements, resources and equipment for community use or community centre renovations. The fund is now open and will close on 4 December. Find out more.
KINGSTON COUNCIL LEADER ADVISES ON LOCAL COVID SITUATION
Kingston Council Leader Caroline Kerr has posted this video letting residents know about the situation in Kingston borough and asking them to take action to slow the infection rate here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8LR7acPMCs
CAN YOU HELP KEEP KINGSTON SAFE?
The pop-up Keeping Kingston Safe stall opened in Kingston town centre outside Bentalls on Monday. Over 100 face coverings supplied by Sewing 4 Kingston and 195 disposable masks were handed out to the general public, along with more than 300 doses of hand sanitiser on the first day. The stall was open again yesterday, but they need more volunteers to enable this to continue. If you are able to assist, even for an hour, please contact email@example.com
PANEL DISCUSSION ABOUT RACIAL EQUALITY IN KINGSTON TONIGHT
As part of Kingston's celebration of Black History Month, tonight the Council will be co-hosting a panel discussion about racial equality in Kingston. The Mayor of Kingston, Cllr Margaret Thompson will be joining the discussion, alongside local educators and young people, to discuss the importance of ensuring equality in education and employment.
You can watch it live or on demand from 6.30pm tonight on the RBK YouTube channel.