COVID-19 FAQs

On 22 February 2021, the Government released the roadmap to bring the country slowly and cautiously out of the national restrictions.

While infection rates in the Wakefield district are decreasing, they are coming down slowly and continue to remain stubbornly high.

The more cautious and mindful we are, the sooner we'll be able to get back to normality. We thank you for your ongoing efforts in reducing the spread of the virus but we ask you to please keep going.

To be able to move onto the next stages of the roadmap, the Government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous changes.

The four conditions that must be met at each phase of lockdown easing are:

  • The COVID-19 vaccine programme continues to go to plan
  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or needing hospital treatment
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions
  • New variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions

Stage one

 On 8 March 2021, the first phase of step one began.

This meant:

  • All schools and colleges across England reopened along with practical higher education courses, other higher education courses will remain online
  • Wraparound childcare (including childminders) and other children's activities could restart from for all children where it is needed to enable parents or carers to work, seek work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group. Vulnerable children could attend these settings regardless of circumstance. Under-18 sport can take place at school as part of educational provision, or as part of wraparound care, but should not otherwise take place at this time
  • Outdoor after-school sports and activities could take place
  • Recreational activities in public spaces, such as a park, was allowed. This could bebetween two people from different households, or between one household and one other person, meaning they can sit down for a drink or picnic outdoors
  •  You couldcontinue to exercise with one other person outdoors
  • All care home residents in England could have one regular visitor with whom they can hold hands

 On 29 March 2021, the second easing of lockdown began

This means: 

  • The rule of six (groups of six or less) or two households can meet outdoors. Households must not mix indoors
  • Outdoor sport and leisure facilities will open
  • Organised outdoor sport will be allowed (for children and adults) 
  • Travel should be minimised. Holidays will not be permitted. 
  • Outdoor parent and child groups can take place (up to 15 parents)  

You can find out more about the government's roadmap and the planned steps here.

Stage two

On 12 April, we moved onto the second phase of the plan. This saw all non-essential retail, personal care and public buildings such as libraries reopen. Indoor leisure centres such as gyms and swimming pools also reopened.

Outdoor settings such as zoos and theme parks reopened and hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors. There is no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew, although customers must order, eat and drink while seated.

From 12 April, you can now visit self-contained holiday accommodation such as camp sites and holiday lets.

Social contact rules still apply in all settings and there should be no indoor household mixing at this stage. 

Stage three

From no earlier than 17 May, the rule of six will be abolished for outdoor gatherings and will be replaced with a legal limit of up to 30 people. Two households can meet indoors but the rule of 6 still applied.

From this date, indoor hospitality, cinemas, hotels, performances and sporting events can reopen but social distancing will still remain.

The Government will also allow some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number), and in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number).

In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).

Vulnerable People:

Guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable

From 1 April 2021, clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) individuals are no longer advised to shield.

Residents on the shielded patient list can begin to follow restrictions alongside the rest of the population. However, they are still advised to take extra precautions to protect themselves.

Letters with updated guidance have gone out to those affected. They set out practical steps that residents can follow to reduce their risk of catching COVID-19, including continuing to maintain strict social distancing and to keep their overall social contacts at low levels, such as working from home where possible.

Advice for people who are at higher risk from Coronavirus can be found on the NHS website.

Thinking of others

Those who have been shielding for the best part of a year, will be re-entering public spaces and they may feel very nervous and anxious about mixing with others.

It is important that you are mindful and aware of your actions by making space for others, wearing a face covering in indoor public spaces and washing your hands regularly.

Going Out

When can I go out?

The 'stay at home' rule ended on 29 March but some restrictions remain in place.

To help contain the virus, everyone who can work effectively from home should try to.

People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes.

Important notice about parking

When visiting the towns and city centre, if you are parking in a 2 hours free area, please remember that you still need to collect a pay and display ticket.

You could receive a penalty charge notice (PCN) if you fail to display a ticket.

Please check signage for all parking tariffs, restrictions and conditions when parking.

More information

Contact with others

Visiting care homes

From 12 April:

  • Care home residents to be allowed a second regular visitor indoors to reunite families and friends
  • Babies and toddlers will also be able to accompany visitors, allowing grandparents to meet grandchildren
  • Visitors can hold hands, with tests required before entry and PPE 

Please click here for more information.

Who can I meet?

From 29 March, outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either 6 people (the Rule of 6) or 2 households was allowed. Making it easier for friends and families to meet outside.

When around other people, stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household - meaning the people you live with - or your support bubble. Where this is not possible, stay 1 metre apart with extra precautions (e.g. wearing a face covering).

You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble.

Our parks remain open for you to enjoy exercise and fresh air. The cafés at Pontefract Castle and Pugney's Country Park are open for takeaway food and drink.

https://www.wakefield.gov.uk/sport-health-and-leisure/leisure-centres-and-facilities/parks-and-countryside

What is a support bubble?

A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household. Households within a bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together.

For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/making-a-support-bubble-with-another-household

When is it okay to meet in larger groups?

From 29 March, two households or up to six people have been allowed to meet outdoors (including in private gardens).

However, you are allowed to meet others from outside your household or support bubble in larger groups for the following reasons:

  • For work, voluntary or charitable services, and formal education or training (as opposed to extracurricular classes) when you are unable to work from home. This includes where you are fulfilling legal obligations. It can also include work in other people's homes where necessary - for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople. Where a work meeting does not need to take place in a private home or garden, it should not - for example, although you can meet a personal trainer, you should do so in an outdoor public place
  • To attend a support group that has to be delivered in person.
  • These can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. This includes, but is not limited to, support to victims of crime, people in drug and alcohol recovery, new parents and guardians, people with long-term illnesses, people facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, and those who have suffered bereavement, and vulnerable young people, including for them to meet young workers
  • Parent and child groups can continue where they provide support to parent and/or child, and children under 5 will not be counted within the 15 person limit - meaning parents and carers can attend such groups in larger numbers.
  • Funerals and some weddings can continue. Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover ('deathbed wedding'). These weddings are limited to 6 people.

When can I have someone in my house?

Trades people and cleaners are able to continue to work in your home. Nannies will be able to continue to provide services in the home.

Parents are able to form a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under. This includes creating a childcare bubble with grandparents.

Some households will also be able to benefit from being in a support bubble, which allows single adult households to join another household.

What childcare is available?

  • Early years settings and childminders remain open, and you can continue to use these settings as normal.
  • You can access other childcare activities (including wraparound care) where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, seek work, attend education or training, or for the purposes of respite care for carers.
  • Nannies will be able to continue to provide services, including in the home.
  • Parents are able to form a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under. This includes creating a childcare bubble with grandparents.
  • Some households will also be able to benefit from being in a support bubble, which allows single adult households to join another household.
  • Some youth services are able to continue, such as 1-1 youth work and support groups, but most youth clubs and groups will need to cease for this period.

Finances

What financial help is available?

The Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021.Workers in any part of the UK, may be able to retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80% of their salary up to £2500 a month.

  • There is also support available to help you with money, housing and jobs during coronavirus here.
  • Visit the Support Finder on the Government website to find out what financial help is available to you

Test and Trace Support Payment scheme

  • If you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace on or after 28 September 2020, you are under a legal obligation to do so.
  • You could be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment if you live in England and meet certain criteria.

Visit the Government website to find out if you are eligible: www.gov.uk/government/publications/test-and-trace-support-payment-scheme-claiming-financial-support/claiming-financial-support-under-the-test-and-trace-support-payment-scheme

Business

Which businesses can reopen?

These businesses are permitted to reopen, provided they are following COVID-19 secure guidelines:

  • All retail
  • Pubs, restaurants and cafes for outdoor service only
  • Personal care settings like hairdressers and beauty salons
  • Public buildings like libraries, community centres and museums.
  • Outdoor hospitality like alcohol takeaways, and beer gardens
  • Outdoor attractions like zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas.
  • Indoor leisure like swimming pools and gyms.
  • Self-contained holiday accommodation like self-catering lets and camp sites for household stays only.

Which businesses must close?

The following businesses must remain closed:

  • indoor hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway or outdoor
  • accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone's main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes. However, self-contained accommodation such as campsites or holiday lets are allowed.

  • entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, water parks and theme parks
  • Adult entertainment venues such as nightclubs

Some of these businesses and places will also be permitted to be open for a small number of exempt activities. A full list of exemptions can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England.

For more information about the help available to businesses and the financial support available visit https://www.wakefieldfirst.com/covid-19/

The team can be contacted at businesssupport@wakefield.gov.uk or by calling 01924 306630

If you would like help regarding a specific business in Wakefield on interpreting the guidelines and how you can best fit them into your workplace please email food@wakefield.gov.uk(including for non-food related businesses) or call us on 0345 8 506 506 and ask to speak with someone from Environmental Health.

Travelling

Where can I travel to?

Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons.

Holidays abroad will not be allowed, given it will remain important to manage the risk of imported variants and protect the vaccination programme. The government has launched a new taskforce to review global travel which will report on 12 April. 

Can I stay away from home overnight?

From 12 April, you can stay in self-contained accommodation such as holiday lets or camp sites.

You should not stay over with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with as indoor mixing is not allowed at this stage.

You are allowed to stay overnight away from your home if you:

  • staying in self-contained accommodation such as a holiday let or camp site
  • are visiting your support bubble
  • are unable to return to your main residence
  • need accommodation while moving house
  • need accommodation to attend a funeral or related commemorative event
  • require accommodation for work purposes or to provide voluntary services
  • are a child requiring accommodation for school or care
  • are homeless, seeking asylum, a vulnerable person seeking refuge, or if escaping harm (including domestic abuse)
  • are an elite athlete or their support staff or parent, if the athlete is under 18 and it is necessary to be outside of the home for training or competition

Events

Can weddings, civil partnerships and funerals go ahead?

Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events will be able to take place for up to 15 people (anyone working is not included in this limit), including in indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens.

Funerals are allowed with limits on attendance, and must only take place in COVID-secure venues or in public outdoor places. The venue manager or event organiser must take the required precautions, including the completion of a risk assessment.

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people and may take place indoors. Linked religious, belief-based or commemorative events, such as wakes, stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 6 people in attendance.

Please note: 16 mourners can attend funerals at Wakefield Crematorium and up to 14 mourners can attend funerals at Pontefract Crematorium.

This is lower than the Government's rule of 30 however, as these services take place indoors and due to social distancing, we can only allow the number of attendees stated above.

Anyone working is not counted in these limits. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.

Can I attend places of worship?

You can attend places of worship for a service. However, you must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble. You should maintain strict social distancing at all times.

You should follow the national guidance on the safe use of places of worship.

Can I move house?

You can still move home. People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.

Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work. If you are looking to move, you can go to property viewings.

Follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes advice on social distancing, letting fresh air in, and wearing a face covering.