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Current Covid restrictions – your questions answered

by Nicola Appleton

We have answers to all your most common questions about how the current Covid-19 restrictions which apply to Knowsley affect you, and aspects of your life.

This page will be frequently updated. It was last updated on Thursday, 15 October, 2020.

A pub, bar or other business which sells alcohol for consumption on the premises must close. They can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant - which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.

In addition, the following businesses must also close:

  • nightclubs
  • dance halls
  • discotheques
  • sexual entertainment venues
  • hostess bars
  • casinos
  • betting shops and adult gaming centres
  • indoor gyms, fitness and dance studios
  • indoor sports facilities

However, this does not prevent the use of:

  • any premises used for a restricted business or service to host blood donation sessions
  • facilities for training by elite sportspersons, including indoor gyms, fitness studios and indoor sports facilities
  • indoor fitness and dance studios by professional dancers and choreographers
  • indoor gyms, fitness studios and indoor sports facilities for supervised activities for children, or by persons who have a disability and who are not elite sportspersons to take part in any sport or other fitness related activity; or
  • any other specified retail activity

The following businesses must close between the hours of 10pm to 5am.

  • restaurants, including restaurants and dining rooms in hotels or members’ clubs
  • businesses providing food or drink prepared on the premises for immediate consumption off the premises, but not including: supermarkets, convenience stores, corner shops and newsagents, pharmacists and chemists, or petrol stations
  • cafes, including workplace canteens, but not including— cafes or canteens at a hospital, care home or school, canteens at criminal justice accommodation or an establishment intended for use for naval, military or air force purposes or for the purposes of the Department of the Secretary of State responsible for defence, or services providing food or drink to the homeless
  • bars, including bars in hotels or members’ clubs
  • public houses
  • social clubs

This also applies to bowling alleys, cinemas, theatres, amusement arcades or other indoor leisure centres, funfairs (indoors or outdoors), theme parks and adventure parks and activities, bingo halls, and concert halls.

Businesses may continue during the restricted hours:

  • for the delivery of takeaway food and drink if ordered over the phone or online. Collection of takeaway food or drink is permitted if the customer remains in their vehicle or does not enter the premises
  • if the business is a motorway service area and no alcohol is sold in the restricted hours
  • if the business is operated in the restricted area of an airport or port
  • if the business is operated as a workplace canteen

 

If the restricted business or service is provided at a cinema, theatre or concert hall, they may continue after 10pm for the purpose of concluding a performance which began before that time.

Food and drink on licenced premises must be ordered and consumed whilst the customer is seated.

Businesses which provide food and drink where no alcohol is served for consumption on the premises must take all reasonable steps to ensure it is consumed whilst the customer is seated. If the business is a cinema, theatre or concert hall, the food or drink does not need to be ordered while seated, but they must take reasonable steps to ensure it is consumed whilst seated.

Businesses must continue to take details of customers for NHS Test and Trace.

The Local COVID Alert Level of ‘Very High’ applies to the whole Liverpool City Region: Wirral, St Helens, Knowsley, Halton, Liverpool and Sefton.

These measures will help to address the significant rise in coronavirus cases in the region in recent weeks.

There is an increased risk of transmission the more people who gather together. Our data shows an increased rate of transmission in homes, hospitality venues and through grassroot sports.

We are doing everything we can to protect our most vulnerable, keep businesses open and children in school, which these measures will help with.

The tier-3 measures for Liverpool City Region, introduced on 14 October, will be reviewed monthly. Most of the national measures which began on 3 October will be in place until March 2021.

You should only meet with other people if:

  • all the people in the gathering are members of the same or linked households
  • the gathering is a permitted organised gathering i.e. takes place at premises other than a private dwelling or in a public outdoor place, which are operated by a business, institution or public body, and if you participate in the gathering alone or as a member of a qualifying group. For the purposes of indoor gatherings, a qualifying group is one which consists only of persons who are members of the same or linked households
  • for the purposes of outdoor gatherings, a qualifying group is one which consists of no more than 6 people or are members of the same or linked households. Whilst participating in the gathering, you must not become a member of, or mingle with any other qualifying group.
  • the gathering is necessary for work, education, training and childcare or emergency assistance
  • to fulfil a legal obligation or participate in legal proceedings
  • the gathering takes place in criminal justice accommodation
  • support groups of no more than 15 persons taking place at premises other than a private dwelling.
  • to attend a birth
  • to attend marriage ceremony or civil partnership etc (no more than 15 people)
  • to attend a funeral (no more than 30 people)
  • to attend a commemorative event following a person’s death (no more than 15 persons)
  • to attend a gathering for the purpose of protest organised by a business or public or political body
  • you are an elite sportsperson or coach, and the gathering is necessary for training or competition
  • to attend other sports (outdoor and permitted indoor)
  • the gathering takes place to commemorate Remembrance Sunday and the persons attending are limited to those there as part of their work, provide voluntary services, members of the armed forces, veterans of the forces (or their representatives or carers), or spectators participating in the gathering alone or as a member of a qualifying group
  • you are visiting a dying person who is a member of your household, a close family member or friend
  • you are visiting a person receiving treatment in a hospital, hospice or care home or if you’re accompanying them to a medical appointment and is a member of your household, a close family member or friend
  • the gathering is reasonably necessary for the purposes of informal childcare (provided by a linked childcare household)
  • the gathering is a relevant outdoor activity being a physical activity carried out outdoors and for which a licence, permit or certificate issued by a public body to carry on the activity must be held.

Official/registered tradespeople can go to other people’s homes for work purposes as long as you follow national guidance on how to work safely there.

You can go with members of your household and others as long as the total number of people in the group does not exceed six and you follow social distancing rules with those not in your household.

A support bubble is a close support network between a household with only one adult in the home (known as a single-adult household) and one other household of any size.

Once you’re in a support bubble, you can think of yourself as being in a single household with people from the other household. It means you can have close contact with that household as if they were members of your own household.

Once you make a support bubble, you should not change who is in your bubble.

You should not have multiple bubbles.

No. Schools, colleges and universities remain open and are operating in a COVID-secure way. University students must follow the specific guidance and rules set by their university.

You can find information on the Government’s website here.

If an individual is breaching restrictions, you can report it to Merseyside Police. To do so, where possible, people are asked to use the reporting tool on the force’s website www.merseyside.police.uk.  Alternatively, you can call 101. The police will assess the circumstances to determine the appropriate action.

If you have concerns that a business or venue is not following the guidance, you can report it to the council by emailing Environmental.Health@knowsley.gov.uk.

The police will be able to take action against those who break these rules, including asking people to disperse and issuing fixed penalty notices starting at £200 for those who participate in illegal gatherings.

Fines will be:

  1. £200 for the first offence, lowered to £100 if paid within 14 days
  2. £400 for the second offence, then doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of £6,400

The government has also introduced fines for those who hold illegal gatherings of over 30 people. Holding or being involved in the holding of an illegal gathering of more than 30 people is an offence, and police may issue fines of £10,000 to those who break the law.

To help contain the virus, office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter.

Where an employer, in consultation with their employee, judges an employee can carry out their normal duties from home they should do so.

Public sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work where necessary.

Anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work.

The risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if Covid-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.

You can continue to use early years and childcare settings, including childminders and providers offering before or after school clubs or other out-of-school settings for children. You can also continue to employ nannies, including those living outside of the region.

Children of parents who are separated can continue to move between households.

People looking after children under the age of 14 or vulnerable adults, can continue to do so when it is necessary for caring purposes and is a regular arrangement. This covers formal and informal arrangements for childcare - but not playdates or parties.

Unless exempt, in education settings where students in Year 7 and above are educated, including middle schools, face coverings should be worn by staff, visitors and students when moving around in corridors and communal areas.

Parents must wear a face covering when dropping off and picking up children at school, and socially distance from others.

People looking after children under the age of 14 or vulnerable adults, can continue to do so when it is necessary for caring purposes and is a regular arrangement. This covers formal and informal arrangements for childcare - but not playdates or parties.

The only other people who should help you with childcare in your home are people you live with, people in your support bubble, or registered childcare providers including nannies.

Outside of these measures, friends or family who do not live with you must not visit your home to help with childcare.

Children of parents who are separated can continue to move between households.

We advise that you should not meet with people you do not live with. However, people looking after children under the age of 14 or vulnerable adults, can continue to do so when it is necessary for caring purposes. This covers formal and informal arrangements for childcare - but not playdates or parties.

If you are walking outside, try to maintain social distance and everyone must wash their hands for 20 seconds afterwards. If you are car sharing, please follow our car sharing advice in the Travel section. 

If you are travelling on public transport, wear a face covering, maintain a 2m distance where possible, and wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you get home. 

Yes, people living inside and outside of these areas can continue to travel for work or school. Workplaces and schools themselves should also be implementing covid-secure measures.

You should not visit anyone’s home inside or outside of the restricted area (except for your support bubble).

Residents are advised to only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work. Examples of essential travel include: travelling to work, getting essential food or medical supplies, supporting someone who is vulnerable, travelling to and from the homes of others in your support bubble, fulfilling legal obligations, going to an early years or educational setting, or travelling to medical care to avoid illness, injury or harm.

Buses, trains and the Mersey Ferries are still running and have key measures in place including enhanced cleaning regimes. It is important to follow key advice about how to travel safely including wearing face coverings.

Face coverings must be worn on board all public transport and at rail and bus stations, Mersey Ferries terminals and in Merseytravel Travel Centres unless you are exempt. Guidance around face covering exemptions can be found here.

Please walk or cycle wherever you can, especially for shorter journeys.

For the latest transport information and advice visit the Re Think Travel campaign www.merseytravel.gov.uk / @merseytravel on Twitter.

You are advised not to share a car with those outside your household or support bubble, and to use public transport for essential journeys instead.

Please note that private hire taxis and hackney cabs are not classed as public transport, but a face covering is still required.

You can still go on holiday within the UK or abroad, but you should only do this with people you live with (or have formed a support bubble with). You need to follow any rules in the area you visit and be aware of the self-isolation rules when travelling to and from certain countries.

People can visit the region on holiday but must comply with the local restrictions.

Pubs and bars are closed. They can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant – which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.

The following must close from 10pm to 5am:

  • Cafes including workplace canteens (but not including cafes or canteens at hospitals, care homes, prisons, establishments intended for the use of naval, military or air force purposes and for providing food or drink to the homeless)
  • Cinemas
  • Theatres
  • Casinos
  • Bingo halls and concert halls
  • Amusement arcades or other indoor leisure centres or facilities
  • Static/fixed funfairs (indoors or outdoors), theme parks, and adventure parks and activities.

During opening hours (5am to 10pm), there should be table service-only, including ordering drinks and food.

As elsewhere in the country, venues must also take details of customers for NHS Test and Trace.

Between 10pm and 5am each day hot food takeaways can only operate a delivery service.

Travelling funfairs are also prohibited.

You must not socialise with anybody you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in most outdoor hospitality venues, including beer gardens and ticketed events.

Gatherings of up to 6 people are permitted at public outdoor places where no payment is required or any public outdoor place that can be categorised as outdoor sports grounds or sports facilities; botanical gardens; gardens or grounds of a castle, stately home or historic house. A ‘public outdoor place’ is ‘an outdoor place to which the public have or are permitted access’.

People are advised to only visit COVID-safe premises that are visibly adhering to the guidelines.

As of Thursday 24 September, hospitality customers need to wear a face covering when not sat at a table for food or drink, and staff must wear one at all times.

This is because the hospitality industry has enhanced measures, such as risk assessments and test and trace, which private homes don’t have.

No. However, takeaways can deliver to your home if you place an order by phone or online.

Businesses need to display the official NHS QR code posters so that customers can ‘check-in’ at different premises using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details once the app is rolled out nationally. In addition, guidance stating that face coverings and visors should be worn in close contact services will now become law.

Businesses and organisations have to make their premises COVID-Secure. The rules are:

  • Leisure and entertainment venues, services provided in community centres, and close contact services are subject to the COVID-19 Secure requirements in law.
  • Employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work.
  • Businesses must remind people to wear face coverings where mandated.

Businesses can be fined by local authorities or the police if they fail to fulfil the obligations placed on them in law. This includes ensuring that people do not meet in their premises with people outside of their household or support bubble, ensuring that tables are appropriately spaced, that loud music isn’t played, and that customers do not sing in non-household groups, or dance. Fines will be issued:

  • £1,000 for the first offence
  • £2,000 for the second offence
  • £4,000 for the third offence
  • and then £10,000 for the fourth and all subsequent offences.

Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies are restricted to 15 people and must only take place in COVID-19 Secure venues or in public outdoor spaces.

Wedding receptions are not permitted from 00.01 on Wednesday 14 October 2020.

Within these larger gatherings, people do not need to limit their interaction to groups of 6, but social distancing should still be followed between people not in the same household or support bubble. See detailed guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships.

People living outside of Merseyside can travel to these areas to attend a wedding, civil partnership ceremony or funeral, but they must not meet with another household in a private home or garden. They should avoid staying overnight.

A maximum of 30 people should attend a funeral.

Anyone working at these ceremonies or events are not included as part of the person limit.

Wakes are limited to 15 people and you cannot host a wake for anyone outside your own household or support bubble in your home or garden.

Gatherings in a hospitality setting are limited to 6 people - BUT you need to maintain social distance with people who do not live in your household or support bubble, continue with good hand hygiene and wear a face covering where appropriate. If this is not possible you should only visit the venue with members of your own household or support bubble. People are advised to only visit COVID-safe premises that are visibly adhering to the guidelines.

Unless formally organised by a sports club or similar organisation, with guidance issued by a sports governing body, team sports should not take place at an indoor or outdoor venue with people who you don’t live with. A maximum of six people are allowed to take part in an adult team sport.

 

You can continue to take part in organised sporting or licensed physical activity in groups of more than 6 outdoors and only one household and support bubble (for over 18s) indoors.

 

Outdoor activities either need to be organised by a national governing body, club, registered instructor/coach, business or charity, and/or involve someone who has received an official licence to use equipment relevant to the activity. In all cases, the organiser must conduct a risk assessment and ensure compliance with COVID-19 Secure guidance.

 

You should only be playing team sports where the relevant governing body has published guidance on how to do so safely and is outdoors. See a list of team sports governing bodies which have developed guidance. For all other sports, guidance is available from your governing body and details on how to safely undertake this activity within an organised environment.

 

Organised dance and exercise classes can take place in groups of more than 6 outdoors, where a risk assessment has been carried out, but you must not mix with more than five other participants. The relevant indoor sport facilities guidance or outdoor guidance must be followed for these activities. Outdoor organised sport and physical activity events are allowed provided they follow guidance for the public on the phased return of outdoor sport and recreation in England.

 

We advise that you should not attend amateur or professional sporting events as a spectator in the affected local areas. If you do attend, you must remain socially distanced and in groups of no more than 6 when outdoors (and if indoors only with your household or support bubble).

 

Spectating of junior sporting activity (aged 17 years and younger) outside is permitted but should be restricted to a maximum of 1 adult per participating child. Siblings are allowed to spectate if necessary due to reasons such as childcare. All spectators must keep a safe distance from others.

If you need to attend, you must remain socially distanced and in groups of no more than six.

People should try to avoid travelling outside their local area, or entering another area rated ‘Very High’ other than for work, education, accessing youth services, or to meet caring responsibilities.

Gyms and leisure centres have had to close under the tier-3 restrictions.

People with health conditions and those who were asked to shield are still particularly vulnerable and need to take special care during this worrying period and to be extra cautious and follow the new guidance.

From Thursday 24 September, support groups such as therapy groups (not to be confused with a support bubble) are limited to a maximum of 15 people.

From Monday 28 September, people with Covid-19 symptoms are required to self-isolate by law. To help those who on low incomes who are unable to work from home, the Government has announced it will be providing the £500 ‘Test and Trace Support’ payment. Knowsley residents can find out more on the council's website.

The Knowsley Support and Volunteer Line – 0800 073 0043 – is available if you are self-isolating and need help with picking up shopping, medication, dog walking or just someone to talk to. The helpline is available from 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am until 2pm during the weekends and bank holidays.

Care homes in Knowsley are closed to non-essential visitors, excluding health care professionals and those involved in end of life care (including family members).

Care home staff are supporting residents to keep in touch through phone / digital channels to limit the spread of the virus within care home settings.

If you are planning to visit relatives in care homes outside the affected areas, then check with the care home prior to travelling to ensure that they are still open to visits from family members.

You may attend a mosque, church, synagogue, temple or other place or worship, but you should socially distance from people outside of your household. This means maintaining a distance of 2 metres, or 1 metre with mitigations (such as wearing face coverings).

If possible, prayer or religious services should take place outdoors.