Coronavirus - Support for people and communities - May 14, 2021

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Coronavirus - Support for people & communities - May 14, 2021

Dear Resident,

As you may be aware, the weekend saw our first ever Mayoral election and the first local elections we have held during the Covid-19 period. I would like to thank everyone who voted, and also everyone involved in delivering last week’s elections and the counts over the weekend, who worked incredibly hard in more challenging than usual circumstances.

I am delighted to have been re-elected as councillor for Kippax and Methley, and proud to continue representing you and working on your behalf both as a ward councillor and as Leader of Leeds City Council. I also look forward to working, alongside my fellow West Yorkshire council Leaders, with our very first Mayor Tracy Brabin. This is a historic and long awaited moment for the city and the region as the Mayor, along with additional funding, will have greater say and powers over transport, housing, regeneration, investment and adult education; as well as control of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office.

Now more than ever we need to continue to work together as we move forward along the roadmap the government has set out, deal with the lasting impact Covid-19 has had and continues to have on our residents and businesses, and look to the future.

This week’s government announcements will have a significant impact on everyone across our city as for the first time in over a year we can choose whether it is now safe for us to hug family and close friends, visit them indoors; and in particular for our care home residents, who have struggled with isolation for much of the past year, who will from Monday be able to receive up to five visitors.

I want to take the opportunity to ask you to continue to follow the guidance and help yourself, your friends and family, and Leeds take this next step safely. From Monday, there’s a lot to look forward to but we ask you to be cautious. Remember that it is still possible to transmit and catch Covid-19, even if you have had the vaccination, and one in three people have no symptoms.

We all look forward to a future when we will be able to hug our friends and family without thinking about the risk of spreading Covid-19. Right now, please stay safe and protect others by continuing to wear a mask, social distance and meet outdoors, which is safer, if you can. If you have symptoms, self-isolate and get a test. Every household in Leeds can now access home testing kits for use twice weekly, which can help you when making decisions on when to visit and have close contact with friends and family.

By following the guidance we can all live, work and socialise safely and keep making progress towards ending restrictions.

Finally, this week marks the end of Ramadan. Eid Mubarak to those who are celebrating, and Chag Sameach to those celebrating Shavuot this weekend.

Councillor James Lewis


Leeds City Council

Continue to follow the guidance – hands, face, space and fresh air

Although we have reached the next step in the government roadmap, it’s important to remember that we aren’t out of the woods yet. The Leeds case rate is still higher than the national average at 51.7 per 100,000 and the positivity rate is 2.0%.

More than 391,000 people have had their first vaccine, and 249,000 have had both doses, as of 10 May.

We must continue to work together to follow the guidance of hands, face, space and fresh air, particularly when meeting with people outside of our household or support bubble.

Free rapid Covid-19 testing is available to everyone in England. If you don’t have symptoms, it’s a fast and easy way to find out if you have the virus. Find out how to order tests here.

Please continue to follow current guidance until Monday to stop the spread of the virus.

Next steps in the government roadmap from Monday 17 May

This week, the Prime Minister announced that restrictions will be further eased from Monday 17 May as we reach the next stage in the government’s Roadmap.

This means that most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal. Indoors, the Rule of 6 people or 2 households will apply.

Guidance on meeting family and friends will be updated. You can make informed, personal decisions on close contact, such as hugging, with friends and family.

Rule of 6 indoors infographic

Changes to care home rules

Care homes residents will be able to have up to five named visitors, with two visitors able to attend at once, provided they are tested and follow infection control measures. Residents will also have greater freedoms to leave their home without having to isolate on their return. More information can be found here.

Business and activities

Indoor hospitality can reopen and indoor entertainment can resume, including cinemas, museums, and children’s play areas. Hospitality venues in England are legally required to make sure visitors check in with the app, or leave their name and contact details, otherwise they must refuse entry. Please support your local businesses by using the app NHS COVID-19 app to check into venues, or providing details when asked.

All remaining outdoor entertainment can reopen and some larger events will be able to take place. Restrictions on the number of attendees will remain.

Up to 30 people will now be able to attend weddings, receptions, and commemorative events including wakes. The number of people able to attend a funeral will be determined by the number that can be safely accommodated in the venue with social distancing in place.

Travelling locally

If you’re travelling locally ensure you plan ahead and remember that as restrictions ease, transport services and roads are likely to be busier.

When using public transport, regularly sanitise your hands, wear a face covering and keep your distance where possible. Open a window to increase ventilation, where possible.

International travel

The government has confirmed that international travel can begin to safely reopen from Monday 17 May, allowing people to go on foreign holidays to ‘green’ list countries. More information can be found online.

Advice on mask wearing in schools

From Monday 17 May face coverings will no longer be recommended for pupils in classrooms or communal areas, in all schools and Further Education provision. Face coverings will also no longer be recommended for staff in classrooms.

In all schools and Further Education providers, the Department for Education recommends that face coverings should be worn by staff and visitors in situations outside of classrooms where social distancing is not possible. Children over 11 should still wear face coverings on school and public transport.

Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. This year’s theme is ‘connecting with nature’, with some fantastic tips from the Mental Health Foundation for using nature to support mental health.

In addition to new youth-led mental health projects for Leeds, there is plenty of dedicated support available in our city.

MindWell Leeds is full of guidance for taking care of yourself, including their coronavirus mental health hub, available here. Younger people looking for support with mental health and wellbeing should visit the MindMate Leeds website.

Celebrating religious festivals safely

Finally, we would like to wish a very happy Eid to the communities and residents celebrating this week.

The Shavuot Jewish Festival also falls this weekend and similarly we would like to wish our Jewish community a Chag Sameach!”

Despite the challenges we all still face due to the pandemic and the ongoing restrictions, we hope you can observe the celebrations within the rules and have a joyful and meaningful time with family and friends.