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The government last night announced that England will move into a third national lockdown, with all schools closing from today (Tuesday 5 January) and remaining open only for vulnerable and key worker children.
This comes as COVID-19 infection rates rise rapidly across the UK with the England average infection rate now 519 per 100,000 and Bristol’s infection rate now 306 per 100,000 people. This means we have seen a 57% increase in the city from the previous seven days.
I know how hard everyone has worked over the past few months, enduring changes to your lives that we could never have imagined. I want to take a moment to thank you for protecting Bristol, but it is clear we still need to do more.
Nobody wants businesses and schools to be closed, or for us not to be able to see our loved ones, but I appeal to you all to yet again pull together to turn the rising tide of infections and stay at home. The virus needs controlling to save lives and to protect our health and care services.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol
What you need to know about lockdown restrictions
England has today (Tuesday 5 January) moved into national lockdown restrictions. It is essential that we all follow this guidance to turn the rising tide of infections in the city.
In summary, the restrictions mean:
Stay at home as much as possible. You may leave your home to:
- shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
- go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
- exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area
- meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
- seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
- attend education or childcare – for those eligible
- You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one)
- You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble
- You should not meet other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason
- Stay two metres apart from anyone not in your household
Visit gov.uk for the full list of restrictions and guidance for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
Need support with your mental health?
January can be a difficult month at the best of times with the cold weather and darker days. With the new national lockdown in place, it’s more important than ever that we look out for each other.
Please don’t be afraid to seek support if you need it, and check in on friends, family and neighbours. A simple ‘are you ok?’ can make a real difference.
For immediate emotional and practical mental health support, call our 24/7 helpline on 0800 012 6549. We also have a full list of mental health services on our website, and you can also visit the NHS Every Mind Matters website for expert advice and practical tips for adults, young people and children.
Changes to services
A number of the city’s services will be changing due to the national lockdown.
- Leisure centres and swimming pools – all closed
- Parks – remain open but a number of facilities, including tennis courts and sports pitches, are closed
- Football fixtures – cancelled
- Schools – closed, except for children of key workers and vulnerable children
- Libraries – Central, Bishopston, Fishponds, Henbury, Henleaze, Marksbury Road and Stockwood libraries open for call and collect. Computer use is available at Central library.
We are waiting for more information regarding wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and specific facilities in parks but we will update you as soon as we can.
For further updates, visit our ‘Changes to Services’ tab on our website.
COVID-19 testing sites in Bristol
Our coronavirus mobile testing unit at Portway Park and Ride has re-opened.
This site joins two other mobile testing units currently operating in Bristol at Hengrove Leisure Park and Brislington Park and Ride. Additionally, we have two walk-through testing sites at Netham Park and at the rear of the Victoria Rooms. Note there is a 2m height restriction at the Park and Ride sites.
Some advice on using Bristol’s testing sites:
- Do not use a taxi or public transport to attend a test
- You must wear a face covering at all times, including going to and from the testing site. There is an exception for children under 3 who must observe social distancing on the site
- You should attend the test site alone. If you’re unable to leave family members at home, they may accompany you if they are wearing a face covering and adhere to social distancing. However, they will not get a test unless they have symptoms.
- Go straight to the testing site and go straight home after – do not stop anywhere en route.
Testing is an important part of the local response to coronavirus. You should only get a test if you have coronavirus symptoms, including a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
Book an appointment as soon as possible on the NHS website or by calling 119.
Be your local community’s next hero
Last year, we found local heroes in our health and care workers. Now, we’re looking for more people to step up and help others through the pandemic and beyond.
Working in health and care involves much more than you might expect. It’s not just about assisting people with their daily routines. It’s about supporting others to live the best lives they can, making a huge impact as you encourage those that you care for to be as independent as possible.
It’s your values that are important, not your experience. Employers provide essential training and offer support to gain recognised qualifications.