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Coronavirus: What you need to know

by Gemma Melling

Here’s a quick guide to information, news and advice that you need to know during the Covid-19 outbreak in Knowsley.

What are the current restrictions that apply to Knowsley?

A postcode checker has been launched which shows you the coronavirus alert level where you are and which restriction are in place.

The postcode checker enables people to quickly find out the COVID Alert Level in the areas they live, work and visit. Read more.

You can report breeches of Covid-19 restrictions, including failure to wear a face covering where advised or social distancing not being adhered to, to Merseyside Police. You can do this by calling 101 or online.

Liverpool City Council has been working with the Department for Health on a new mass testing pilot, which began on Friday, 6 November, 2020.

This is the first whole city testing pilot scheme in the country.

The pilot relates to areas that come under Liverpool City Council and neighbouring local authority areas, such as Knowsley, are not included in the pilot.

However, people who also work or study in Liverpool will be invited to take part in the programme, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms.

Here's what we know about the pilot scheme.

 

Health advice – symptoms, testing and what you must do

COVID-19 is a highly contagious infectious disease that is easily passed from person to person.

It spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when the infected person coughs or sneezes.

That is why it is so important to practice good hygiene such as carrying a tissue to catch coughs and sneezes, washing your hands regularly with soap and water and maintain a 2m distance from other people at all times.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The symptoms of COVID-19 are:-

  • A high temperature
  • A new of persistent cough
  • A loss of taste of smell
What should I do if I have symptoms?

If you have any of the symptoms, you should stay at home and book a test through www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or ring 119.

It’s really important that you stay at home until you have your test result – you could be unknowingly spreading the virus if you don’t stay at home.

Staying Alert and Safe (social distancing) guidance is now live and can be found on the Government website.

The Government has also published FAQs with advice on what you can and cannot do now the changes have come into effect, which you can read on their website.

You can register for a test at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus. You will be allocated the next available appointment at your nearest test centre, which may be one of the regional test sites or one of the mobile test sites which may be closer to home.

If you are unable to get to one of the test centres, you can request a home testing kit (subject to availability). Details are available at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus. There is also some helpful information about how to book and carry out a home test here on Knowsley News.

The NHS COVID-19 App is now available to download on Apple and Google App stores.

The app will support the NHS Test and Trace service and provide the fastest way to see if you’re at risk of coronavirus, helping protect you and your loved ones.

The app is designed for use on smartphones and enables you to find out when you’ve been near other app users who have tested positive for coronavirus. It also alerts you to the level of coronavirus risk in your postcode district. Read more here.

Pharmacies

Pharmacies in Knowsley may be operating different opening hours to usual - please check before setting off. Please check with your local pharmacist for their exact opening times, but don’t forget that many simple home remedies such as anti-histamines and painkillers are sold in shops and supermarkets too.

Walk in centres

Halewood, Huyton and Kirkby walk-in centres are currently operating from 10am to 6pm, seven days a week and can be accessed via a telephone triage and appointment system. If you need to access the walk-in centre service, call your local walk-in centre below:

Halewood – Tel: 0151 244 3533

Huyton – Tel: 0151 244 3150

St Chads (Kirkby) – Tel: 0151 244 3065

All calls will be triaged and given an appointment to be seen if needed.

The walk-in centres are delivered by North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, providing consultations, advice and treatment for minor injuries and illnesses.

Visit their website for more details and updates.

Knowsley Sexual Health Service

St Chad’s Clinic, Halewood Clinic and North Huyton Clinic are all currently closed, however, The Arch (Huyton) remains open. If you require contraception, call 0151 244 3580.

Other interruptions to service include:

The Postural Stability classes delivered by NWBH have been cancelled owing to venue closures. They will be reinstated once things have returned to normal and participants will be notified.

The Healthy Knowsley Service are still taking referrals into the Healthy Lifestyle Hub and onto the Health Trainer Pathway. Clients who are 70 and over, or with an increased risk as outlined in the Government guidance are being offered a telephone review as an alternative. MECC Training Sessions are currently postponed.

The Children and Families Pathway delivered in schools and community are currently on hold due to recommendations on social distancing.

Weight Management groups delivered by Slimming World are on hold until further notice. Clients requesting Slimming World vouchers are being offered intermediate weight management advice from a Wellbeing Coach at the Healthy Lifestyle Hub and will be able to access Slimming World sessions later in the year with their vouchers.

For all residents wishing to continue to be physically active the Healthy Knowsley Hub can offer further help, advice and information by visiting their website www.healthyknowsley.co.uk.

Hospital and Community Services

During the current situation, some hospital and community services may be affected. If you need to see a GP, call your practice on the usual practice number. Do not attend the practice building. Below is a list of provider organisations and the link to their service change website.

There are lots of sources of support for people struggling with their mental health at this time. Read more here.

In addition, you'll also find information about supporting mental health in children and young people here.

 

Advice for individuals

The council has set up a Community Support and Volunteer Line. It is helping Knowsley residents who need additional support during the outbreak and coordinating offers of help for those who are wanting to volunteer their time or services to help those in need in their local community.

Anyone needing support can call freephone 0800 073 0043 from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

During the national lockdown, residents who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable are being advised to stay at home.

Guidance has been issued to everyone in England who has been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable. If you are in this group, you will previously have received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you this. You may have been advised to shield in the past.

In some cases, there has been a delay in people receiving these letters from Government. We understand everyone in the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Group should receive their letter very soon - but if you believe you are in this group and have not had a letter you can contact your GP for a copy. Read more here.

A letter has also been sent to clinically extremely vulnerable people in Knowsley from the council. You can read the specific advice, guidance and support that is available to anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable in Knowsley.

Don't forget, if you need help during the lockdown, you can call the council on 0151 443 2600.

Protecting people more at risk from coronavirus

If you are over 60 or clinically vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. You:

  • should be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contacts with others
  • should continue to wash your hands carefully and more frequently than usual and maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in your home and/or workspace.

Clinically vulnerable people are those who are:

  • aged 70 or over (regardless of medical conditions)
  • under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (that is, anyone instructed to get a flu jab each year on medical grounds):
    • chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
    • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
    • chronic kidney disease
    • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
    • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy
    • diabetes
    • a weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions or medicines they are taking (such as steroid tablets)
    • being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
    • pregnant.

All the restrictions and advice you need to be aware of are on the Government website.

People on low incomes may be eligible for a £500 payment if they are required to self-isolate. If you are in receipt of certain benefits and cannot work during your self-isolation period then you can apply for the one-off Test and Trace Support payment. Find out more.

If your child receives free school meals, the council has confirmed that it will step in and provide vouchers to help with the cost of lunches during the October half term and Christmas school holidays too. Read more.

Support is available to help you pay your Council Tax if Covid-19 has caused you financial hardship. Read more about the range of support available.

How to make a claim for benefits

Universal Credit is a benefit from the Department for Work and Pensions for working age adults on a low income or who are out of work. The quickest way to make a new claim for Universal Credit is online.

Citizens Advice run ‘Help to Claim’, a service helping people make new claims for Universal Credit. They offer support with the online application and can work with you until your first full payment is received. Visit them at https://citizensadviceknowsley.org.uk/help-to-claim-universal-credit/ or call 0800 144 8 444.

The Department for Work and Pensions have information on their website about support available if you are already claiming benefits, need to claim or are at risk of losing their job as a result of Coronavirus.

If you need help making a claim for Universal Credit or Employment Support Allowance, Knowsley FACE (Knowsley Council’s Adult Education team) have set up remote Digital Support Sessions to help. Contact Michelle Daly on michelle.daly@knowsley.gov.uk or 0151 443 5389 / 07810 053971.

Advice for benefits and debt help

You can contact the Citizens Advice Knowsley ‘adviceline’ for telephone advice on 0300 330 9008. Webchat and further information is available on their website or you can email them advice@citizensadviceknowsley.org.uk. Their telephone lines can be busy and they recommend you email rather than call if you can.

Prescot and Whiston Community Advice Centre can able to offer advice on benefits over the telephone. Call 0151 443 4639.

Centre 63 offers housing advice and tenancy support for 16-25 year-olds, and money and debt advice for 18 - 30 year-olds. Call 0151 549 1494 or www.centre63.org.uk

 National help

All advice is confidential and free from the organisations listed:

Turn2us Free confidential information and advice on benefits, grants and managing your money, with an online benefits calculator to work out what you could claim. Visit their website or, if you don’t have access to the internet call 0808 802 2000.

Money and Pension Service Free, clear and unbiased advice to help you manage your money. Visit their website or call 0800 138 7777 to speak with a trained advisor. You can get advice by phone, whatsapp (add 07701 342 744 and message them with debt, credit or pension queries) or webchat. Use their online ’money navigator’ to get help tailored for you and your circumstances including what help is available if you’re finances are affected by Coronavirus.

Stepchange Free advice and guidance to manage debt. Call 0800 138 1111 or visit their website.

National Debtline Free, confidential and independent advice on dealing with debt problems. Visit their website or call 0808 808 4000 for more information. You may also find this guide from the Money Saving Expert helpful to understand what help you may be entitled to.

Benefit assessments Although face-to-face benefit assessments are not possible right now, you can still contact the council by phone to speak about your benefit assessment. Please call 0151 489 6000. Applications should still be made in the usual way through the council’s website. If you are unable to do this online, then call 0151 489 6000 and a customer services advisor will help you fill in the form.

Centre 63 run a Social Supermarket each Wednesday from 10am – 2pm from their centre in Kirkby. You can buy a healthy weekly shop for less than £10 and you can chose from fresh, chilled or ambient foods. Contact the Centre on 0151 549 1494, or call or email Ann Brown 07971 309838 or Ann.Brown@centre63.co.uk for details.

Big Help Food Clubs run in Kirkby, Huyton, Bootle and Dovecot. Members pay £3.50 a week (less if you pay by standing order) and can chose 10 items a week valued between £10 and £15. Contact foodclub@bighelpproject.com or call 0151 482 6089.

Knowsley Foodbank is working hard to keep people in need fed. Please note the process for using a foodbank remains the same and residents should be referred by local organisations with a voucher.
Please do not visit the Foodbank in person if you have any symptoms or are self-isolating - ask someone else to pick up your food.
Make sure you check Knowsley Foodbank's Facebook page for the latest updates.

If you can’t afford to buy food you could get help through Knowsley Council’s Emergency Support Scheme. Contact the Knowsley Food Support team on 0151 538 8243.

If you have suffered the loss of a loved one at this time, help and support is available.

An NHS Bereavement Helpline has been set up to offer guidance, support and advice to those dealing with the loss of a loved one at this difficult time.

In addition, Knowsley’s Educational Psychology Service has published a guide to help support children and young people who are affected by bereavement. Read more about this on Knowsley News.

A book of remembrance has been launched for all those who have died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Remember Me is an online memorial hosted by St Paul’s Cathedral for the use of anyone in the UK who wants to remember a loved one - it is for all faiths, beliefs or none. Read more.

We have published a series of articles here on Knowsley News which offer advice for anyone experiencing domestic abuse.

This includes safety advice with lots of contact information for people who can help you.

Merseyside Police has also published advice for domestic abuse victims on using the ‘999 silent solution’ telephone system in an emergency.

You’ll find all the content relating to domestic abuse on Knowsley News by using the search function at the top right of your screen and searching for ‘domestic abuse’.

Knowsley Works advisors continue to provide employability and job search advice and information by telephone and email.

This service operates Mondays to Friday, 9am – 5pm.

Call the centre nearest to where you live on:

Huyton centre - 0151 443 5010

Halewood centre - 0151 443 2040

Kirkby centre on - 0151 443 4933.

 

Access to council and other public services

Knowsley Council’s One Stop Shops are temporarily closed in order to protect all our customers and staff. However you can still contact the council online and over the phone.

Please try this option first by visiting our online services page.

If you are unable to access the service you need online and you do need to speak to somebody, the contact numbers you need are below. Lines are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am to 5pm, and Wednesdays from 9am to 4pm.

Service Contact number
Building control and dangerous buildings 0151 443 2380
Car parking, street lighting, traffic management and highways enquiries 0151 443 3100
Council Tax and 24-hour payment line 0151 443 4476
Education 0151 443 3232
Elections 0151 443 2222
Environmental services (includes bin collections, street cleaning, pest control, bulky item collections, clinical waste collections) 0151 443 2400
Financial Inclusion helpline 0151 443 3300
Home to School Transport 0151 443 2500
Housing advice and homelessness 0800 694 0280
Housing benefits 0151 443 4042
Knowsley emergency support scheme 0800 408 2014 or 0151 443 3200
Leisure 0151 443 2200
Licensing and dog wardens 0151 443 2300
Parking permit enquiries (APCOA) 0345 319 0430
Planning enquiries 0151 443 2381
Registrars 0151 443 2900
Social Services 0151 443 2600

If you can’t find a number for the service you require, please call General Enquiries on 0151 489 6000

24 hour emergency contacts: 

 

Service Contact number
Highways (includes footways and street lighting) 0151 443 3100
Homelessness 0800 694 0280
Knowsley Housing Trust repairs 0800 561 0007
Social services 0151 443 2600

For emergencies between 5pm and 9am, you can call 0151 489 6000.

Knowsley Library Service’s ‘Select and Collect’ borrowing service and PC access have both resumed following the end of national lockdown.

Select and Collect, a new way to borrow books, begins again in Huyton, Kirkby, Halewood and Prescot libraries as will computer access with a pre-booked appointment.

Read more.

You can still borrow books and e-books online

The library website and online catalogue are available to access online. You can use this site to borrow eBooks and eAudioBooks as normal.

If you are not already registered for this service, you can create an account by emailing your details to yourlibrary@knowsley.gov.uk.

Keep in touch with the library service

You can also contact the library service with general enquiries via email or through their social media pages on Facebook and Twitter (just search for Knowsley Library Service.)

Please remember to wear a face covering when visiting the register office.

Registering a birth

You can now make an appointment to register your baby.

Registering a death

We are registering deaths by telephone until further notice. Please contact us on 0151 443 2900 to make an appointment.

Many thanks for your understanding during this difficult time.

Marriage and civil partnership ceremonies

Small ceremonies can now take place, however, availability is limited. Please contact registrars@knowsley.gov.uk for further information.

You are politely asked not to email multiple requests for call backs - the Registrars will call you back but have a large number of queries to get through and are working as fast as possible.

If you have to rearrange your ceremony due to the current pandemic situation, all fees that you have already paid to Knowsley Registration Service will be transferred to your new booking without penalty. Alternatively, you can have a refund if you have already paid in full.

Giving notice of marriage or civil partnership

You can now make an appointment to give Notice of Marriage or Civil Partnership.

Appointments will be managed in priority order.  If you have a ceremony booked on or before 30 April 2021, please contact the Registrars on 0151 443 2900 and select option 3.

An update will be provided on availability for appointments for ceremonies booked for May 2021 onwards as soon as possible.

If your ceremony has been postponed due to the COVID outbreak and fresh notice of marriage or civil partnership are required, the fees will be waived for Knowsley residents.  Please contact the Registrars who will be happy to help.

Ordering copies of certificates

Copy certificates for births, deaths and marriages that occurred in Knowsley, can be ordered online. You are politely asked not to visit Knowsley Register Office in person to make an application for your copy certificate.

Kirkby Gallery and Prescot Museum are currently closed until further notice.

Online content is available on www.prescotmuseum.org.uk and www.facebook.com/knowsleygalleriesandmuseum

Volair clubs have reopened following the latest national lockdown.

Currently, anyone wanting to use the centres must pre-book online, in advance.

Check the Volair website for more details.

Knowsley Council's pest control service are only offering appointments for rats, mice and wasps.

In order to protect both council officers and members of the public from the risks of Covid-19, visits to homes will be carried out subject to social distancing and other safety measures. Officers will ask for information about all occupants of an address before entering, in order to assess any risks.

If it is determined not to be safe to enter, or if you prefer it, our Environmental Health technicians can instead leave you a secure bait box with detailed instructions about how to use it.

Full details of costs and advice on how to deal with all kinds of pests can be found on the council's website.

Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority's Household Waste Recycling Centres in Huyton and Kirkby remain open and operational through the second national lockdown period.

All centres will operate in line with winter opening times 8am – 5pm.

There are some restrictions in place to control visitor numbers on site at any time and to ensure appropriate social distancing for members of the public and staff.

Members of the public are asked to only visit one of the centres if absolutely essential at this time.

Further information about each of the household waste recycling centres can be found at www.merseysidewda.gov.uk and on the Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority's social media channels - search for @MerseysideRWA.

 

Advice for businesses

The Government has published a new ‘one-stop shop’ page for advice to businesses on a range of issues related to Coronavirus.

Guidance for reopening post-lockdown can be found here: https://bit.ly/UpdatedRetailGuidance.

Business operating in contravention of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closures) Regulations 2020 will be committing an offence. Knowsley Council’s Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers will monitor compliance with these regulations, and businesses and premises that breach them will be subject to prohibition notices and fines.

Businesses including hospitality and leisure venues across Knowsley are now required to support the new NHS COVID-19 App by law.

Venues in the borough are required to display a unique QR code to enable customers and visitors to ‘check-in’ with the app. Read more here.

Businesses face a £1,000 penalty if they fail to comply.

Knowsley Council is here to ensure that businesses and individuals receive the correct advice, guidance and support. Knowsley Council’s Business Team works in partnership with Knowsley Chamber to help businesses understand the latest information available from Government, agencies and partners in relation to COVID-19.

If you need any general business advice please contact Invest Knowsley on 0151 477 4000 or email business@knowsley.gov.uk

You can also view advice on the Knowsley Chamber website. You'll also find an online business to business noticeboard, where local companies can offer their support or seek help.

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme allows small and medium sized employers, with fewer than 250 members of staff, to claim back the costs of paying coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay for two weeks - worth nearly £200 per employee. To get the rebate, employers will need to go online and input simple information about the employees being claimed for.

You can now register your details on our Business Support database if you want to be updated on any future rounds of funding, or the business support that is available in Knowsley.  

Eligible Knowsley-licensed taxi and private hire drivers can now apply for a one-off support payment from Knowsley Council.

Knowsley-licensed drivers who were licensed as of 23 March 2020 and live in the Liverpool City Region can apply for a £100 grant by completing a short online application form.

If approved the grant will be paid directly into the applicant’s bank account within seven days.

The grants are funded by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, who committed £1.5m of funding to support local taxi drivers. Read more.