As part of our ongoing efforts to support local businesses to work through the challenges of COVID-19, please find below and attached information regarding recent legislation and guidance changes that may affect your business. This is all aimed at preventing the further spread of the pandemic.
Coronavirus: Enhanced Response Area
From 1st November 2021 Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have moved into an “Enhanced Response Area” (ERA) due to the rising rate of COVID-19 infections particularly in our older population. This increase, coupled with low vaccination rates in some parts of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough means pressure is building on our local health services. This is exacerbated by increased levels of COVID-19 infections in the general population, and staff being unable to work because they are infected or isolating. If unchecked, this will also impact on health care for other non-Covid needs.
The Enhanced Response Area was originally due to end on 5 December 2021 but this has now been extended until 24 December 2021, when it will be reviewed again. Information regarding the Enhanced Response Area status can be found on our website.
A message from the Director of Public Health, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough
Attached to this email is a message from Jyoti Atri, Director of Public Health, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, which provides an update on the current COVID-19 situation facing Cambridgeshire, as well as an overview of recent COVID-19 legislation changes. The message highlights key measures that can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace and also provides advice regarding Christmas events.
Prime Minister Briefing
As you may be aware, the Prime Minister held a press conference on 27 November 2021 in response to the news of a new COVID-19 variant (Omicron Variant). The announcement highlighted that additional COVID-19 controls were to be introduced, including changes to travel restrictions, face coverings and self-isolation. Details of the announcement can be found on the Government’s website.
Face coverings – legislation update
From Tuesday 30 November, new regulations require staff and customers to wear face coverings in certain types of businesses such as shops, banks, premises providing personal care and beauty treatments, takeaways without space for consumption of food or drink on the premises, public transport, etc. There are a number of exemptions to these requirements. For further details regarding which business types are affected by this change, the exemptions and advice about face coverings, please see the Government guidance Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own.
Settings in which face coverings are required must also display signage or take other measures to ensure customers are aware of the requirement to wear a face covering on their premises where there is no applicable exemption or reasonable excuse. To assist businesses with this requirement, the Government has designed template signage that can be used, available on the face coverings poster website or on the Omicron Social Media and Posters resources website.
Omicron Self-Isolation – legislation update
Changes have been made to self-isolation requirements. Anyone in England who is notified by NHS Test and Trace (or other specified bodies) that they are a close contact of a suspected, or confirmed, case of the Omicron variant will be legally required to self-isolate regardless of age or vaccination status. Guidance regarding self-isolation requirements can be found on the Government website.
From 7 December 2021, anyone aged 12 and over must show a negative PCR or lateral flow test result before travelling to England from abroad. The person must take the test in the two days before they travel to England. The person must also take a PCR test within two days of arriving and self-isolate until a negative test result is received, even if fully vaccinated. Check what you need to do to travel to England from another Country.
A number of countries and territories have been added to the Government’s red travel list, which places strict travel restrictions upon those who enter England from the affected areas. Information regarding the countries and territories can be found on the Government website.
For further updates regarding changes to legislation and guidance, COVID-19 and workplace controls see the Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) website. Our South Cambridgeshire District Council website also provides useful information for businesses regarding COVID-19.