Tier 4 in South Somerset: What it means to you
From 00:01am on Thursday 31 December 2020, all parts of Somerset, including South Somerset will enter in to Tier 4 of the Governments tiered coronavirus system.
What changes does that mean?
Key changes from Tier 3 to Tier 4
- Households must not mix at all apart from those in your support bubble and two people meeting in a public outdoor space
- Hospitality remains closed - except for the sales of takeaway, drive-through or delivery
- All non-essential retail must close. Only a click & collect or delivery service can be operated
- All indoor leisure must close
- Businesses operating a personal care service (e.g. hairdresser) must close
- You must not stay overnight away from your home
- Weddings of up to six can continue
- You must stay at home and not travel for ant other reason except for essential shopping, work, education or other legally permitted reasons. If you must travel, stay local and reduce the journeys you make
- You can leave your home to exercise by yourself, with your household or support bubble, or with one other person from another household
For all the Government advice on what you can and cannot do in an area in Tier 4 of local restrictions visit www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-4-stay-at-home.
How changes affect SSDC services
Our pantomime Nurse Nellie Saves Pantomime at The Octagon Theatre in Yeovil can no longer continue to take place and has been suspended since entering Tier 3 measures on Saturday 26th December 2020. We are working with our producers to move the remaining performances to the February Half Term (Saturday 13th – Sunday 21st February). We will be contacting all ticket holder to move them across to the new performance dates. Customers who are not able to attend the rescheduled performances will be entitled to a refund. We are working very hard to contact customers as quickly as possible while also ensuring our team get a much needed break over Christmas. We ask our customers to remain patient and we will be in touch as quickly as we can.
Westlands Entertainment Venue will remain closed until further notice.
All of our indoor leisure facilities will be closed from Thursday 31 December - this includes Westlands Leisure Centre, Goldenstones and Wincanton Sports Centre.
Home visits from our Careline service have been stopped, apart from in emergencies. Our Careline team will be available to guide you through self-installation.
Home visits from our pest control service have been stopped.
Face-to-face appointments with our Customer Connect team at Connect, Petters Way can no longer be booked.
Business Support Grants
For businesses who have already received or applied for a Local Restriction Support Grant, your Tier 4 payment will be made pro-rata to reflect the changing of Tiers during the 14-day payment cycle. We will email all businesses to explain this in further detail, outlining how we have calculated your payment. Due to the festive period and limited staff resources, emails will not be sent to businesses until the New Year.
Businesses who have applied for a Tier 2 Local Restriction Support Grant who were unsuccessful due to closing by choice may be eligible for a Tier 3 or 4 grant. We will contact all businesses in the New Year who may fall into this bracket.
We are currently reviewing the guidance and expect more information to be available in the New Year. We will publish information on our website in the first week of January, we would ask that you do not contact us in the meantime due to limited staff resources over the festive period. It is likely that we will receive further information from Government and staff will be required to review this upon receipt.
For more information on Business Support Grants, visit our Covid Business Support section of the website.
Stay at home
If you live in Tier 4 you must not leave or be outside of your home or garden except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. A reasonable excuse includes:
Work and volunteering
You can leave home for work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home, including if your job involves working in other people’s homes. You can also leave home to provide voluntary or charitable services.
You can leave home to buy things at shops or obtain services from a business which is permitted to open in your Tier 4 area, but you should stay local. For instance you can leave home to buy food or medicine, or to collect any items – including food or drink – ordered through click-and-collect or as a takeaway, to obtain or deposit money (for example, from a bank or post office), or to access critical public services (see section below).
Fulfilling legal obligations
You may also leave home to fulfil legal obligations, or to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property, or where it is reasonably necessary for voting in an election or referendum.
Education and childcare
You can leave home for education related to the formal curriculum or training, registered childcare, under-18 sport and physical activity, and supervised activities for children that are necessary to allow parents/carers to work, seek work, or undertake education or training. Parents can still take their children to school, and people can continue existing arrangements for contact between parents and children where they live apart. This includes childcare bubbles.
Meeting others and care
1 in 3 people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and will be spreading it without realising it.
You can leave home to visit people in your support bubble, or to provide informal childcare for children aged 13 and under as part of a childcare bubble, to provide care for vulnerable people, to provide emergency assistance, attend a support group (of up to 15 people), or for respite care where that care is being provided to a vulnerable person or a person with a disability, or is a short break in respect of a looked after child.
Exercise and recreation
People can also exercise outdoors or visit some public outdoor places, such as parks, the countryside accessible to the public, public gardens or outdoor sports facilities. You can continue to do unlimited exercise alone, or in a public outdoor place with your household, support bubble, or with one other person if you maintain social distancing. You should follow the guidance on meeting others safely.
Medical reasons, harm and compassionate visits
You can leave home for a medical reason, including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies, to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse),or for animal welfare reasons – such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment.
You can also leave home to visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home (if permitted under care home guidance), hospice, or hospital, or to accompany them to a medical appointment.
If you are planning to visit, or accompany someone to, a care home, hospice, hospital or other healthcare setting, you should check that this is permitted by the facility.
Communal worship and life events
You can leave home to attend or visit:
- a place of worship for communal worship
- a funeral or event related to a death
- a burial ground or a remembrance garden
- a wedding ceremony
However, weddings, funerals and religious, belief-based or commemorative events linked to someone’s death are all subject to limits on the numbers that can attend (see below).
Meeting others safely
In general, you must not meet socially or carry out any activities with another person. However, you can exercise or meet in a public outdoor place with people you live with, your support bubble (or as part of a childcare bubble), or with one other person.
You should minimise time spent outside your home. When around other people, stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household – meaning the people you live with – or your support bubble. Where this is not possible, stay 1 metre apart with extra precautions (for example, wearing a face covering).
You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble.
You can exercise or visit a public outdoor place:
- by yourself
- with the people you live with
- with your support bubble
- or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household
Children under 5, and up to 2 carers for a person with a disability who needs continuous care are not counted towards the outdoors gatherings limit.
Public outdoor places include:
- parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
- public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
- the grounds of a heritage site
- outdoor sports courts and facilities
You cannot meet people in a private garden, unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them.
You must wear a face covering in many indoor settings, such as shops or places of worship where these remain open, and on public transport, unless you are exempt. This is the law. Read guidance on face coverings.
Support and childcare bubbles
- you are the only adult in your household (any other members of the household having been under 18 on 12 June 2020), or are an under 18 year old living without any adults
- you live with someone with a disability who requires continuous care and there is no other adult living in the household
- you live with a child under 1, or who was under 1 on 2 December 2020
- you live with a child under 5, or who was under 5 on 2 December 2020, who has a disability and requires continuous care
You may need to change your support bubble if your circumstances change. Find out more about changing your support bubble.
You are permitted to leave your home to visit your support bubble (and to stay overnight with them). However, if you form a support bubble, it is best if this is with a household who live locally. This will help prevent the virus spreading from an area where more people are infected.
Where and when you can meet in larger groups
There are still circumstances in which you are allowed to meet others from outside your household or support bubble in larger groups, but this should not be for socialising and only for permitted purposes. A full list of these circumstances will be included in the regulations, and includes:
- for work, or providing voluntary or charitable services. This includes picketing outside workplaces. This can include work in other people’s homes where necessary – for example, for nannies, cleaners, social care workers providing support to children and families, or tradespeople. See guidance on working safely in other people’s homes). Where a work meeting does not need to take place in a private home or garden, it should not – for example, although you can meet a personal trainer, you should do so in a public outdoor place
- in a childcare bubble (for the purposes of childcare only)
- for registered childcare, or for supervised activities for children where this enables a parent to work, seek work, attend education or training, or for respite care
- education or training – meaning education related to a formal curriculum or training that relates to work or obtaining work
- for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
- to allow contact between birth parents and children in care, as well as between siblings in care
- for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
- to place or facilitate the placing of a child or children in the care of another by social services
- for birth partners
- to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
- to see someone who is dying
- to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
- for gatherings within criminal justice accommodation or immigration detention centres
- to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable, or to provide respite for a carer
- for a wedding or equivalent ceremony in exceptional circumstances and only for up to 6 people
- for funerals – up to a maximum of 30 people. Wakes and other linked ceremonial events can continue in a group of up to 6 people
- to visit someone at home who is dying, or to visit someone receiving treatment in a hospital, hospice or care home, or to accompany a family member or friend to a medical appointment
- for elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) to compete and train
- to facilitate a house move
Support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support – but they must take place at a premises other than a private home. This includes, but is not limited to, support to victims of crime, people in drug and alcohol recovery, new parents and guardians, people caring for those with long-term or terminal illnesses, or who are vulnerable, people facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, those who have suffered bereavement, and vulnerable young people, including for them to meet youth workers.
Parent and child groups can continue where they provide support to parent and/or child, and children under 5 will not be counted within the 15 person limit – meaning parents and carers can attend such groups in larger numbers. These cannot take place in private dwellings.
Where a group includes someone covered by an exception (for example, someone who is working or volunteering), they are not generally counted as part of the gatherings limit. This means, for example, a tradesperson can go into a household without breaching the limit, if they are there for work, and the officiant at a wedding would not count towards the limit.
If you break the rules
The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups. This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty notices).
You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.
Keeping you and your friends and family safe
When meeting friends and family you should also:
- follow guidance on social distancing and letting in fresh air
- limit how many different people you see socially over any period of time
Residents are being urged to only get a Coronavirus test if you are displaying symptoms of the virus.
The reason we stress that you should not get a test unless you are displaying symptoms is because it will only give you a snapshot of that particular time and you could still be incubating the virus – many people have the virus and show no symptoms at all.
More advice and guidance on Coronavirus
As ever, if you want to know more about Coronavirus and need to clarify anything, you can visit the .Gov website at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.