⚠️ New national restrictions to fight against Covid-19 ⚠️

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The Prime Minister has addressed the nation to outline new measures required to fight against the spread of Covid-19 across the country. 

With cases rising, both around the UK and here in London, the government is right to bring in stricter restrictions to prevent the transmission of the virus. In Tower Hamlets we need to keep each other safe by following these new rules. I cannot stress this enough. 

It's now clear that cases are rising across age groups and we must act to protect both the vulnerable and the NHS and save lives. I know we're all weary and want this to be over, but the virus doesn't see it that way. If you break the rules remember that you're putting other people's lives at risk. The government has said that it will ramp up enforcement and increase fines for the minority of people who are doing the wrong thing. I support this. There is no easy alternative. 

We know that ongoing restrictions are difficult for individuals and businesses but, by following the rules, we can do our best to avoid additional restrictions that would further affect us even more. We want to ensure we can keep our schools, shops, restaurants, places of worship and other venues, that are so important to our communities, open for business and keep our families safe. 

Testing is key to stopping Covid-19 and we're working with partners to improve access to tests in the borough. We're also urging the government to ensure adequate testing is available and that there is continued support for those who need it.

The next few months will continue to be challenging – together we’ll remain resilient and can get through this. 

Remember that support to self-isolate is available from the council. Please contact us if you need help and also look out for your family, friends and neighbours.

Please read about the new restrictions below, along with how we can all play our part to stop Covid-19.

Stay safe, 

Mayor Biggs

New measures introduced to stop covid-19

New national restrictions to stop Covid-19

The government has outlined new measures for England, with similar restrictions being introduced across the UK. These new restrictions include:

  • Working from home where possible: Office workers are being told to work from home again if they can do so. People should continue to attend their workplaces where this is not possible. 
  • Hospitality venues: From Thursday 24 September, all pubs, bars and restaurants will be restricted to table service only. Takeaways can continue. Also from Thursday, hospitality venues must close at 10pm (which means shutting then, not calling for last orders, although deliveries can continue).
  • Face coverings: The requirement to wear a face covering will be extended to retail staff, all users of taxis and private hire vehicles, and staff and customers in indoor hospitality, except when seated at a table to eat or drink.
  • Gatherings and the 'rule of six': Exemptions to the rule of six will be cut back. From Monday 28 September, only 15 people will be able to attend weddings and civil partnerships, in groups of six. Funerals can still take place with up to 30 people. Also from Monday, you can only play indoor sports in groups of less than six. 
  • Enforcement: Penalties for not wearing a mask or gathering in groups of more than six will increase to £200 on the first offence.
  • Covid-secure measures: In retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors, the Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations. Businesses will be fined and could be closed if they breach these rules.
  • Further ahead: The planned return of business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events will no longer be possible from Thursday 1 October.
  • Shielding: Please note, the guidance for people who were shielding earlier in the pandemic continues to be that shielding is not required, but the government is keeping this under constant review.

A video summary of the new restrictions is available on Twitter. You can also watch the Prime Minister's address to the nation on YouTube

Read more >

Hands face space - protect yourself and others from Covid-19

Remember the basics: Hands, face and space

We are concerned about the recent rises in cases and how the infection can spread quickly, and be passed on to more vulnerable groups. It is vitally important we all remember the basics and follow the rules:

  • Wash your hands regularly, for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not available, then use hand sanitiser. 

  • Wear a face covering on public transport, in shops, other enclosed areas and anywhere it is difficult to socially distance. It's easy to make your own.

  • Keep a safe distance from other people outside your household (two metres where possible). 

  • Book a free test now if you have any symptoms of Covid-19 (a high temperature, a new or continuous cough or a change/loss in your normal sense of taste or smell) and stay at home until you get your result.  

  • Stay at home if you test positive for Covid-19 or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive and been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. 

  • Follow the rules and stay up to date with the government restrictions, many of which are now legal requirements for individuals and businesses to stop the spread of Covid-19.

You can view the data on cases of Covid-19 in Tower Hamletson our website. 

Local Covid-19 advice >

NHS Covid-19 App

Get ready for the NHS Covid-19 app

A new NHS Covid-19 tracing app is being launched this week to help stop the spread of the virus. Everyone in the country will be encouraged to download and use it.

The government is asking any business that is open to the public to support the app by downloading a poster to be displayed at their entrance. The same request is being made of places of worship and community facilities. Each poster will include a unique QR code which is a bit like a barcode that can be scanned using the camera on most mobile phones.

Used alongside the app, the code will help public health teams to record where a person has been so that they can find out who might have been in contact with a particular person if they later test positive for Covid-19. 

For businesses:

  • Businesses must produce their unique poster online and print it as soon as possible. Please read more and ensure you're ready. 

For individuals:

  • We will update residents with details on how to download the app in the near future.

What the app does >

Test and trace

With cases rising, testing is more important than ever

We know there has been an increase in demand recently for tests, resulting in some delays in people accessing a testing slot locally. This is because care homes and high-risk areas in the country are being prioritised. However, new appointment slots are becoming available all the time, so if you have been unable to get a slot at a local testing centre, please try again in a few hours.

Typically, additional appointments for tests are released in the evening for the following morning and in the morning for that afternoon. If you are still unsuccessful in getting a slot, you can request a postal test by calling 119. It is recommended you take the test within 72 hours of first developing symptoms wherever possible, as this is when the test will be most accurate.

A new government run Covid-19 local test centre opened on Friday 18 September at our Idea Store Watney Market in Shadwell to help increase testing capacity for our residents. Testing at the unit is offered on an appointment only basis – bookings can be made at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119 

We continue to work with partners to improve access to tests locally. Please remember, if you have symptoms of Covid-19 and are struggling to book a test, you should self-isolate until you can book a test (unless for an urgent reason such as a medical emergency or to access food). Also, please remember – do not attend a GP surgery or hospital if you are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19.

Book a test >

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