Public Q&A: 26 November - Public Health Dorset

Public Q&A: 26 November

Thank you to everyone who watched our Q&A session with Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council following the announcement that the county will go into Tier 2 restrictions from 2 December.

You can watch a recording of the Public Q&A session on YouTube. The panel answered the most frequently asked questions, and we've published more questions and answers below. We'll add more answers over the coming days.

These are answered based on current government guidance as at 30/11/2020, and may change under future guidance. The latest national government guidance can be found at gov.uk/coronavirus.

Business

Can hair salons reopen?

Yes, hair salons are able to reopen under all tiers. 

Can my mobile hairdresser still come to my home?

Yes, under all tiers, personal care and close contact services such as hairdressers and barbers can operate. They would need to continue to follow all of the COVID-secure measures.

Will holiday parks be open over the Christmas period?

Under Tier 2 rules, holiday parks can remain open. However, people from different households cannot socialise indoors so bookings will be limited to groups from the same household. Whether or not holiday parks choose to open during this period is a matter for the operators.

Can I take bookings for my holiday let?

In line with the guidance, in Tier 2 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. This means you should only take bookings where all members of the group are from the same household or support bubble.

Can a workman come into my house?

Yes, if it is necessary for them to enter your home to complete the work. They should continue to follow COVID-secure measures including social distancing.

Can cafes open?

Cafes can open but under Tier 2 rules should only serve tables from the same household or support bubble.

Christmas

Can people from other areas come to Dorset for Christmas?

Yes, travel between tier areas to form a Christmas bubble is permitted. More information about Christmas bubbles.

Do existing 'support bubbles' count as one household for the purposes of Christmas bubbles?

Yes. A support bubble would count as one of the three households permitted to make up a Christmas bubble. More information about Christmas bubbles.

Can I go for a Christmas meal with my friends?

In Tier 2, you can't socialise indoors with anyone outside of your household or support bubble. The Christmas bubble rules only apply at home - you cannot visit pubs or restaurants with your Christmas bubble.

Can carol singing and Christmas concerts take place?

Some concerts and carol singing will be permitted, subject to COVID-secure measures. Take a look at the government's guidance for the Christmas period for more details.

Data

Where can I find information about cases in my neighbourhood?

You can find local data by zooming in on your area on this interactive map.

Seeing friends and family

Can I meet friends for lunch in a restaurant and stay overnight on holiday in a Tier 2 area?

Under Tier 2 rules, you cannot meet anyone outside of your household or support bubble in any indoor setting, this includes restaurants. You can stay on holiday in a Tier 2 area, providing you are only staying with members of your household or support bubble.

We have formed a support bubble with my mother who lives on her own. Can my daughter, who also lives on her own, join the support bubble too?

You can only form a support bubble between a household with one adult and one other household of any size. The support bubble must be exclusive and can't be changed. 

Can care home visits still take place?

The government guidance for care homes will apply under all tiers: Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, and window visits. Regular testing will be offered to up to 2 family members or friends per resident by Christmas, which – when combined with other infection-control measures such as PPE – will support indoor visits with physical contact. Detailed guidance will be published shortly.

Are children included in the rule of six?

At present, children are counted in the rule of six in England.

Can my family support me with childcare?

If you have a child or children aged 13 or under, you can form a ‘childcare bubble’. This allows friends or family from one other household to provide informal childcare. You can only use a childcare bubble for childcare – that is, where the child’s parent or regular carer is not present. You cannot use a childcare bubble to mix with another household for other reasons.

Shielding

What is the latest guidance for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable?

National government guidance for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable is available online. The guidance varies for each Tier.

Tier restrictions

What criteria have been considered in order to determine which Tier specific regions should be allocated?

You can find out more about how the tiering decision was made and the criteria considered. A number of factors were considered by the government, including overall case rates, hospital capacity, the speed at which cases were decreasing, and case rates in over 60s. 

At what time on the 2nd do the restrictions change from lockdown to Tier 2?

This guidance states that ‘the new rules will come into effect from the beginning of Wednesday 2 December’. 

Why is Dorset Council being placed under the same restrictions as BCP Council, when cases are much lower in Dorset?

You may find our open letter useful for explaining why the restrictions are necessary on public health grounds.

Can I travel to a Tier 3 area?

The guidance says “Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities.”

Can I travel to Cornwall (or another Tier 1 area)?

Yes you can. However, although Cornwall is a Tier 1 area, you must continue to follow Tier 2 rules when you travel to a Tier 1 area. This means you should only socialise indoors with people from your household.

Can church services go ahead?

The tier 2 guidance states places of worship remain open but you must not socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while you are indoors there.

Are Tier 2 areas eligible for mass testing?

At the moment, the government are only proposing to offer Tier 3 areas mass testing.

Universities

What is being done to minimise the risk of transmission when students return to university in January?

We are expecting guidance from central government on how students can safely return to university in January. We'll be working with university colleagues closely on this once we know what the process will be.

Vaccine

Could you tell us more about how and when the COVID-19 vaccine will be rolled out? Will there be a mass vaccination centre?

We do not yet have full details about how a vaccine will be rolled out. This is being led nationally and we are working with local partners to plan how we would do this locally. More details will be provided to the public when we have them.

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