Coronavirus - Support for people and communities - February 25, 2021

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Coronavirus - Support for people & communities - February 25, 2021

This week marks national and local milestone developments, as the government released the details of its roadmap out of the current lockdown restrictions, and Councillor Judith Blake stepped down from her role as the first female Leader of Leeds City Council to take on her new role in the House of Lords.

Cllr James Lewis

A message from our new leader, Cllr James Lewis

Dear Resident,

I am honoured to have been appointed the new Leader of Leeds City Council at such a key point for the city. In only a few weeks it will be a year since we entered the first national lockdown.

I know the past year has been a difficult time for many struggling with loss of family and friends, jobs and income, balancing home schooling and working, caring for others, struggling with mental health and wellbeing, and missing contact with family, friends and loved ones.

As you may know, we have worked with national government to tackle the Covid pandemic whilst continuing to raise awareness of the impacts these have been having on our businesses and people in our communities; and to ask for the grants, funding and support needed to help businesses and residents cope with and get through these challenging times. 

The publication of the roadmap to reopening is a time of optimism with the vaccination programme and as restrictions are relaxed, and also caution about the impact that changes will have on transmission. My priority as new Leader is focused on our response and recovery so that we can get the city, our economy and public services moving again safely. Nearly 200,000 people in the city have been given their first vaccine already, with it being rolled out to more over the next few weeks and months. The advice from the NHS remains the same: please wait to be contacted, they will be in touch when it is your turn.

Now, more than ever as we look forward to the easing of some restrictions and the re-opening of schools, retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, we must all continue to play our part and work together to ensure we continue to drive down rates of transmission. In Leeds, our rates have come down slowly but we must all continue to wash our hands, wear face masks, make space from others, take up the vaccine when we are offered it, and self-isolate and get tested if we are to meet the conditions for reopening; which is vital to so many of our businesses and the people who work in them.

Cllr James Lewis

Leader Leeds City Council

Update on infection rates and roadmap out of current restrictions

The latest figures for infection rates in Leeds are currently 165.4 per 100,000 and the positivity rate is at 7.9%. Please continue to follow the key advice and guidance on handwashing, social distancing, self-isolation and wearing face-coverings.

On Monday the Prime Minister set out a roadmap which outlined a four step plan to ease restrictions and provide a route back to a more normal way of life.

The easing of restrictions will be based on data, not dates and will take in to account several factors such as how well the vaccine programme is being rolled out and how the vaccine is working.

Dates outlined in the government plan are subject to change. Details of the plan can be found on the government website and a brief summary is below.

From 8 March, the government plans to reopen all schools and colleges. The priority is to ensure that all children and students can return safely to face-to-face education.  There are plans to introduce twice-weekly rapid testing for secondary and college pupils - in addition to regular testing for all teachers.

As well as this, from 8 March people will be allowed to leave home for recreation and exercise outdoors with their household or support bubble, if they are eligible for one, or with one person from outside their household.

The ‘stay at home’ rule will end on 29 March but many restrictions will remain in place. People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes.

From 29 March, (when most schools start to break up for the Easter holidays), outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either 6 people or 2 households will be allowed.

Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools, will also be allowed to reopen, and people will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.

Please remember that the current message to stay at home and only travel when absolutely necessary applies until at least Monday 29 March.

Coronavirus roadmap

Wellbeing @ Work 2021: Covid-19 and beyond

From 15 to 19 March, Leeds Mindful Employer Network is hosting a FREE week-long series of digital events around wellbeing at work and sharing best practice. The event is for everyone – staff, volunteers, managers, business owners – across Leeds and West Yorkshire. Speakers will explore:

  • How to manage the impact of COVID-19 on workplace mental health.
  • How to maintain mentally healthy workplaces.
  • How to use learning from the pandemic to advance workplace wellbeing in the future

Find out more and book your free place here.

COVID-19 emotional support

COVID-19 has placed additional pressures and challenges on all our lives. If you’re suffering from feelings of anxiety and stress, read these recently-published articles:

Meanwhile, due to recent funding, Relate Bradford has announced FREE counselling for low income individuals/families in Leeds until the end of March. Services include:

  • Family counselling
  • Couples Relationship Counselling (for individuals or couples)
  • Young People’s Counselling

Referrals can be made via the organisation’s website

City and Local Centre Conversation

Cities evolve and Leeds needs to adapt so it can continue to thrive. We want to understand what people would like Leeds to be like in the future and how Covid-19 is impacting on how you use the city and local centres.

We’d like to hear about changes you’ve made to how and where you work, spend your money and travel, and how you see yourself working, living and travelling in the future.

We’d also like to hear your views on the changes taking place in our city and local centres.

Please take ten minutes to complete our survey here.

Eating well with One You Leeds

Working towards a healthier lifestyle starts with small changes. The NHS Better Health campaign has tons of great advice for if you’re looking to eat more healthily in 2021, such as recipe suggestions and quick tips for healthier meals.

If you’re looking for support in Leeds, One You Leeds has you covered, with online advice and guidance, details of handy apps you can download and free personalised support. Find out more and get in contact today at their website.