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Green Sefton update – Tier 2 guidance for Sefton’s parks and greenspaces

Green Sefton – Sefton Council’s service that looks after parks, green spaces, coast and countryside alongside volunteers and partner organisations – outlines what the Tier 2 Covid-19 restrictions mean for residents, volunteers and community groups who use Sefton’s outdoor spaces.

Visiting Parks, Coast and other Greenspaces

Overall, outdoor open spaces remain freely open and accessible but indoor facilities such as Council managed pavilions remain closed and the Council is unable to authorise any public events until further notice.

People can continue to exercise or visit outdoor public places but in a Tier 2 area like Sefton:

  • You must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
  • You must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’.
  • All visitors are urged to following these simply measures, regardless of the purpose of your visit or activity, and remember to wash your hands, wear a face covering and practice social distancing (Hands – Face – Space).

Volunteers

Volunteers are greatly valued across the Borough and they can now resume volunteering with Green Sefton as they did before – but the ‘rule of 6’ applies and no more than 6 volunteers should assemble.

A Covid-19 risk assessment is necessary to cover the work of volunteers and Green Sefton can help support groups unsure or needing assistance. Volunteers need to be aware that any gatherings of more than six people are against the law.

  • Volunteers must adhere to the same ‘rules’ as before the Tier 3 designation. You must bring your own tools and equipment, not shared equipment.

Outdoor Facilities that REMAIN CLOSED

  • Southport Skate Park – this site remains closed pending its refurbishment to install new ramps and the site will be relaunched in January (this closure is not related to measures to control the risk of infection – see statement here).

Outdoor Facilities that REMAIN OPEN

  • Playgrounds – The government allows that children’s playgrounds remain open. All Sfton Council sites are signposted with instructions as to their use to minimise the risk of Covid-19 infection.
  • Outdoor Gyms – these were closed but can now reopen. Anyone using equipment must sanitise the surfaces prior to the use of equipment. As the Council has 30 sites it may take a few days before they can be recommissioned and to have all sites fully open again.
  • Allotments – allotment sites remain open. Tenants must limit their activity to their own plots, not mixing with other tenants and adhere to rules on the control of Coivid-19 which are displayed at entrance gates.
  • Dog Exercise Areas – these remain open to use.

Buildings

As the national guidance suggests households cannot mix indoors at all right now, then use of buildings is not appropriate at this time.

Signage is about to be erected on each building indicating the measures required in each premises for opening/use in due course.

In the New Year, subject to government restrictions and tiering, the Council will be asking groups to provide risk assessments and to complete an application form for agreeing/ booking the use of premises.

Many groups have found it difficult to undertake work in the last few months and it is hoped that there will be a return to use of indoor premises in 2021 (subject to bookings being approved, and bearing in mind the national guidance of no mixing indoors).

Sports Fixtures

There are more than 270 sports teams and clubs using Sefton Council pitches for grassroots sport, predominantly football.

The use of such pitches can now resume for fixtures but the restrictions previously in place on site still apply. There should only be one family spectator bringing children to junior fixtures and no accompanying visitors to adult fixtures.

To allow teams the maximum opportunity to recover fixtures that could not be played in the national lockdown, Green Sefton are proposing three measures to assist teams to complete their season.

  • In place of the normal three-week Christmas break, it is proposed that there will only be a two-week break from use of pitches. Pitches will be available until closedown on Monday 21st December and reopen for the weekend of 3rd / 4th January 2021.
  • The Council intends to extend the season until 30th May 2021 to support fixtures being completed.
  • The opportunity to play midweek games will be given to Leagues. Midweek games could be played but realistically, given daylight issues, for games to finish with a 6.30pm KO it would be from April 2021 before this opportunity could be provided. This would allow an extra 6 midweek games.

Please note: The Council may request teams to alter the match venue at the end of the season depending upon the number of teams still seeking to play. This will allow the Council to focus on pitch reinstatement at the earliest opportunity, and aim to have pitches available for play for the 21/22 season in a timely manner.

Re-opening of Municipal Golf Courses

Bootle Golf Course and Southport Golf Links will reopen from Wednesday 2nd Dec but have the same infection control measures in place as prior to the lockdown. This means, for example, that users must be masked to enter the golf shops. Please check rules of play before you begin your game.

Thank you to everyone for supporting efforts to keep Sefton’s communities’ safe from the risk of infection.

Anyone with further queries, please contact the Green Sefton team by email: greensefton@sefton.gov.uk

 

Self-isolating residents across Sefton reminded of £500 Test and Trace Support Payment

Residents across Sefton are being reminded that they may be eligible for a £500 payment if they have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

The scheme has been in place since the end of September to ensure that people do self-isolate when they are required to, and to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Those who are in receipt of certain benefits and cannot work during a self-isolation period, are being urged to apply for the one-off Test and Trace Support payment.

To be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment, an individual must:

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because they’ve tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.
  • be employed or self-employed.
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result.
  • be currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “Self-isolating is one of the simplest and most effective means of containing the virus and we need everyone to continue to take responsibility and play their part in ensuring people are protected.  We do not want anyone across our Borough to fail to self-isolate because of financial concerns during that time.  The Council may be able to help if you’re struggling financially.

“Sefton residents should check if they are eligible for this support and know that applications can be back dated to the start of the scheme which was introduced at the end of September.”

Applications for those who qualify must be made to the Council and documentation will be required as part of the process.

Claimants will be asked to provide proof of NHS Test and Trace requesting they self-isolate, a bank statement and proof of employment or self-employment (such as evidence of self-assessment returns) and their National Insurance Number.

Applications will be able to be back dated from the launch date of Monday 28th September.

Everything about the application process is outlined on the Sefton Council website.

People must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days from when their symptoms begin, or if they have tested positive and show no symptoms. People must self-isolate for 14 days if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.

People who fail to self-isolate when required could face fines of up to £10,000.

Sefton Council reaffirms its commitment to disabled residents as it celebrates International Day of Persons with Disabilities

This month Sefton Council is reaffirming its commitment to Sefton residents as it recognises 25 years since the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) and celebrates International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Thursday, 3rd December.

The Disability Discrimination Act was introduced in 1995 following years of protests and campaigning by disabled people.

At the time it was a ground-breaking piece of legislation that made a big change to the lives of many disabled people across the UK.

The Act made it illegal to discriminate against disabled people in relation to employment, the provision of goods and services, and education and transport.

It has since been replaced by the Equality Act 2010, which seeks to further strengthen the laws aimed at tackling discrimination and inequality.

Despite this legislation, people with disabilities still face discrimination and disadvantage in their daily lives, and Sefton Council is committed to working with them, the local community and partners to try and address this.

Image shows a woman smartly dressed in a wheelchair smiling at the camera.
Thursday December 3, is International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). The annual celebration promotes the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society. Picture courtesy of Marcus Aurelius on Pexels.com

Thursday December 3, is International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD).

The celebration promotes the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities  in all aspects of society.

Sefton Council is committed to supporting all disabled people in the Borough and seeks advice from people with disabilities to make sure its services and systems are accessible and suitable for their needs.

Working in close partnership with both disabled people and local groups that support people with disabilities, Sefton Council has:

  • Developed its Accessible Communications Policy and reviewed how it shares information with people with different communication needs.
  • Upgraded its website to include the ‘Recite Me’ software, which enables people to change to how information is presented to meet their needs including font size, colour of background, information read aloud and presented in different languages.
  • Worked with people with disabilities across the Borough to create a short film that shows their experiences of the barriers that they face in their day-to-day lives.
  • Developed a training package for Sefton Council staff on how they can make information more accessible to everyone. This has been supported by staff from across the Council volunteering to become Accessible Information Advocates.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “As we mark 25 years since the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act and celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities, it is important to reaffirm our commitment to people with disabilities across Sefton.

“Sefton Council is proud to be a Disability Confident Employer and we have an equalities representative from the voluntary sector who ensures that people with disabilities have their voices heard and can take part in consultation and engagement activity in a way that meets their needs.

“We are constantly seeking feedback from people with all types of disabilities on how we can support them and improve our services to combat any inequalities or discrimination they may face in their daily lives.

“For example, as a result of feedback from children and young people with Special Educational Needs, and their parents and carers, we have worked with Sefton Parent Carers Forum to develop a ‘Preparing for Adulthood’ guide.

“If you want to find out more about what we offer and how we can help, or if you want to be a part of shaping our services, you can contact us at yourseftonyoursay@sefton.gov.uk

“You can also visit our website to read more about our services and find links to other local services and support groups.”

People can find out more about the Equality Act at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/equality-act-2010-guidance

More about International Day of Persons with Disabilities is available at https://www.un.org/en/observances/day-of-persons-with-disabilitieshttps://idpwd.org/

 

Tier 2 COVID restrictions now apply for Sefton and Liverpool City Region

The national lockdown has ended and Sefton and the rest of the Liverpool City Region are now in Tier 2 ‘High Alert’ of the Government’s alert system.

What does Tier 2 mean?

Residents and businesses within Tier 2 must stick to the following restrictions:-

  • No household mixing in any indoor setting.
  • Rule of six applies outdoors – any social gatherings of more than six people are against the law.
  • Pubs and restaurants must close by 11pm – last orders will be called at 10pm.
  • Alcohol can only be served as part of a substantial meal.
  • Spectators are allowed at sports events and live performances (capacity will be limited and social distancing must be stuck to).
  • Personal care, including hairdressers and barbers, is allowed.

The Government is reviewing the Tiers every two weeks, meaning if our figures start to increase, we could be placed in a higher category with tighter restrictions so it’s really important that everyone keeps up their efforts.

Liverpool City Region went into the national lockdown on 5 November in Tier 3 ‘Very High Alert’. This means the actions taken and sacrifices made by residents and businesses over the last month have had a positive impact on our infection rates, resulting in the area now being placed in the lower Tier 2 category.

Why are these restrictions necessary?

 We know that COVID-19 is easily transmitted from person to person and while our infection rates have been reducing, they are still too high.

Action needs to be taken to stop the spread of the virus within our communities and limiting interactions with other people as much as possible will help to contain the virus.

The restrictions are in place to protect not only yourself, but those around you.

The sooner we can contain the virus within our communities, the sooner we can get back to some sort of normality.

Remember if you, or anyone in your household, starts to experience symptoms, it is important that you isolate and book a test. The main COVID-19 symptoms are a high temperature, a new continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

You can book a test online https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.

The full list of Tier 2 restrictions is available on the Government’s website.

Tier 2 guidance and the five-day Christmas arrangements for People who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable from COVID-19.

Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher said:

“Everyone across the Liverpool City Region is playing their part to get our infection rates down and that effort is clearly having an impact as we have come out of lockdown in a better position and in the Tier 2 alert level.

By following the rules, we have seen a significant decrease in our infection rates across the Liverpool City Region and the mass testing programme in Liverpool is helping us to better understand the virus and, importantly, identify people who don’t have symptoms but have tested positive so that they can self-isolate and prevent the further spread of the virus.

Whilst our figures are reducing, they are still too high but we have demonstrated that by following the rules, we can improve our infection rates here across the Liverpool City Region. This is a great achievement and one that we will continue to build on over the coming weeks and months.

Stop. Think. Do the right thing by continuing to follow the rules so that we can start to do and enjoy the things we once did and get back to some sort of normality sooner.”

Joint statement from Metro Mayor, City Mayor and Leaders of the six Liverpool City Region Local Authorities on being in Tier 2 restrictions

Find out more about he Government’s arrangements for Christmas.

Targeted COVID testing in Sefton for people not showing symptoms

After the Government’s announcement that it was extending COVID-19 testing for people not showing coronavirus symptoms to 67 Council areas including Sefton, plans are coming together for testing across the Borough.

With 10,000 tests expected to be made available to Sefton each week, they will need to be targeted where they will have the most effect. The focus is likely to be on hospices and hostels where there are vulnerable residents, as well as those frontline Council workers likely to be exposed to the virus.

Coronavirus testing for people not showing the symptoms of a raised temperature, persistent new cough or loss of taste of smell, were launched in Liverpool with the support of 2,000 army personnel. Residents and people working or attending schools and colleges in the city, including some Sefton residents, are being encouraged to get tested every five days. In the first two weeks, over 150,000 tests were carried out.

Sefton’s Director of Public Health, Margaret Jones said: “With significantly fewer tests available to us, we need to devise a plan for using them where they will deliver the greatest benefit using the resources we have available, which hopefully will include military support. This is why we are focusing on places where vulnerable people are living and the staff working with them.

“Targeting the majority of tests available to us on locations where there are people for whom the COVID-19 could prove most dangerous and even fatal, will help to prevent the spread of infections and save lives.”

People receiving a negative result through the testing scheme are being reminded they still need to follow any restrictions in place to stop the spread of the virus.

Margaret Jones continued: “These new tests are a useful development and in Liverpool, are identifying a significant number of people who have coronavirus but not its symptoms and who could otherwise pass it on to loved ones, friends and colleagues unknowingly.

“However, a negative result is certainly not a passport to bypassing the restrictions and rules we’re all following because really it means you’re not infectious on the day you take the test. That can change quite quickly, which is why people in Liverpool have been encouraged to stick to the restrictions and to get re-tested regularly.”

Anyone who receives a positive test result through the scheme must isolate for 10 days.

People who are eligible can apply for a one-off, £500 Test and Trace Support Payment.

Mrs Jones added that anyone who does start showing the coronavirus symptoms of a raised temperature, persistent new cough or loss of taste of smell, should get a test immediately by calling 119 or visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.

Sefton has walk-through Test Centres at Bootle Town Hall, Crosby Library Car Park, Netherton Activity Centre and Southport Town Hall.

Open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, walkthrough centres provide easy access to Covid-19 tests for people with coronavirus symptoms who do not have access to a car and for those who have coronavirus symptoms and should not travel by public transport.

Additionally, Mobile Testing Units are at locations across Sefton nearly every day.

Details of testing in Sefton.

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