Thorner’s Homes: Coronavirus Update from the Government

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021-summary

Changes on 29 March

Social contact

The evidence shows that it is safer for people to meet outdoors rather than indoors. And this is why from 29 March, when most schools start to break up for the Easter holidays, outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either 6 people (the Rule of 6) or 2 households will also be allowed, making it easier for friends and families to meet outside.

Business and activities

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.

Travel

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. Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons. Holidays abroad will not be allowed, given it will remain important to manage the risk of imported variants and protect the vaccination programme. The government has launched a new taskforce to review global travel which will report on 12 April.

Step 2 – not before 12 April

Business and activities

Step 2, which will be no earlier than 12 April, will see the opening of non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons; and public buildings, including libraries and community centres. Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will also reopen (but only for use by people on their own or in household groups); as will most outdoor attractions and settings including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas. Self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.

Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors at Step 2 and there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew, although customers must order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’). Wider social contact rules will apply in all these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households.

Events

While funerals can continue with up to 30 mourners, the number of people able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15.

Step 3 – not before 17 May

Social contact

As part of Step 3, no earlier than 17 May, the government will look to continue easing limits on seeing friends and family wherever possible, allowing people to decide on the appropriate level of risk for their circumstances.

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 or 2 households will apply – we will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.

As soon as possible and by no later than Step 3, we will also update the advice on social distancing between friends and family, including hugging. But until this point, people should continue to keep their distance from anyone not in their household or support bubble.

Business and activities

Most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors will be able to reopen. In all sectors, COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place and businesses may not cater for groups bigger than the legal limits. Indoor hospitality will reopen – and as in Step 2, venues will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks; nor will there be a curfew. Customers will, however, have to order, eat and drink while seated.

Other indoor locations to open up in Step 3 include indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas and children’s play areas; the rest of the accommodation sector, including hotels, hostels and B&Bs; and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes. The government will also allow some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number), and in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number). In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).

Events

Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. This limit will also apply to other types of significant life events including bar mitzvahs and christenings.

Review of social distancing

Finally, before Step 4 begins, the government will complete a review of social distancing and other long-term measures that have been put in place to cut transmission. This will inform decisions on the timing and circumstances under which the rules on 1 metre plus, the wearing of face coverings and other measures may be lifted. This will also inform guidance on working from home – which should continue wherever possible until this review is complete.

Step 4 – not before 21 June

Social contact

By Step 4 which will take place no earlier than 21 June, the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact.

Business, activities and events

We hope to reopen remaining premises, including nightclubs, and ease the restrictions on large events and performances that apply in Step 3. This will be subject to the results of a scientific Events Research Programme to test the outcome of certain pilot events through the spring and summer, where we will trial the use of testing and other techniques to cut the risk of infection. The same Events Research Programme will guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and other life events.

As we move through each of these phases in the roadmap, we must all remember that COVID-19 remains a part of our lives. We are going to have to keep living our lives differently to keep ourselves and others safe. We must carry on with ‘hands, face, space’. Comply with the COVID-Secure measures that remain in place. Meet outdoors when we can and keep letting fresh air in. Get tested when needed. Get vaccinated when offered. If we all continue to play our part, we will be that bit closer to a future that is more familiar.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What has changed and what can we expect from Thorner’s Homes in coming months?

The main changes for our residents are;

  • The move back to undertaking routine maintenance. We ask all residents to mask up, keep their distance and clean after a contractor has been in their flat. It may be sensible to also open windows whilst they are in.
  • Conversations will continue to be made over the phone, when Scheme Managers are not in the office.
  • The gardens may be used to socialise and exercise in, but strict social distancing of 2m (6 feet) is still essential, unless that person forms part of your bubble. Please respect other people in the scheme.

There have been many changes for everyone in their daily lives and it remains a difficult time for many people.  We are here to help, and our team are on standby to have conversations with any residents who are worried.

The situation continues to be monitored with the Government’s Road Map out of Lockdown. We will continue to digest these changes and do the right things for our residents and colleagues. 

We’ll keep you updated as the situation evolves.

Are the offices open?

Our office staff continue to work from home. If you need to speak to any of the Admin Team, please call 023 8063 6772 and leave a voicemail and someone will return your call. Alternatively email on enquiries@thorners.org.uk. Whilst we are working from home we will be providing the same service to our residents.

Both Scheme Managers will be seen in their offices, though timings may vary. We ask that you do not enter their offices but communicate from outside the office, via phone or the pull cord in home. This may change however, if a local lockdown is initiated.

Our Scheme Managers continue to contact residents on what would be their usual visit days and for some more vulnerable residents, more often. If you do not get to speak to your Scheme Manager directly, please leave them a voicemail to confirm that you are okay.

Where can I find out more information about Coronavirus?
If you would like further information about Coronavirus, please visit:

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Weekly Maintenance Charge Contributions and finances

I’m worried about paying my Weekly Maintenance Charge Contributions. What can I do?

We understand this is a really difficult situation for some of our residents. Our team are on standby to help you with this and make sure you get the support you need.

If you can’t pay your weekly maintenance contributions because you normally go out to pay it, and you’re currently in isolation or staying safe in your home, call the team on 023 8063 6772. Leave a message and we will return your call to take a payment via your card.

To help, and if you are not in receipt of Housing Benefit and do not savings or other income, please contact our Chief Executive to discuss a payment plan. You might be able to pay less for a while, whilst waiting for your Housing Benefit payment to be made.  Although you will still have to pay the balance at a later date, we will set a sensible repayment agreement with you and you can be confident that in this current situation, reduced contribution payments will not affect your appointment with us.

If you have any questions about benefits, please visit Southampton City Council’s Housing & Council Tax Benefit online claims: https://revenuesbenefits.southampton.gov.uk/OnlineApplication/Introduction.aspx?form=ADECLAIM

Repairs and maintenance

Are you still doing repairs?

At present within the parameters of Government advice we are undertaking routine maintenance and repairs. The contractors will follow the Government advice and they will wear Personal Protective Equipment when they enter your home. We ask that you keep your distance from anyone entering your flat on behalf of the Charity and especially if distancing is not possible, please wear a mask. This may revert to ’emergency repairs only’ if we enter another lockdown.

Is it still the same telephone number to contact for repairs?

Yes, please call your Scheme Manager to log all repairs calls:

  • Robert Thorner Court – 023 8052 9477
  • Thorner’s Court – 023 8022 7188

SYMPTOMS & SOCIAL DISTANCING

Should I notify you if I have symptoms?

Please let your Scheme Manager know if you have symptoms, or if a member of your ‘bubble’ has symptoms.  Whilst the Government may track and trace, we do need to be aware, especially if you have inadvertently come into contact with another resident or visitor to the building.  

You should then self-isolate as the Government advises. If you need an emergency repair, we will ask if you are self-isolating as part of any conversations before the repair is booked.

How are you checking in on vulnerable residents?

We are contacting all of our residents weekly, on the usual visit day to check on their welfare and whether they need any help.  If you are more vulnerable, we may make contact more often.  If you are worried or concerned, please do not hesitate to call your Scheme Manager on their office number. 

In the event of an emergency, please use the pull-cord in your flat.

Can my family visit?

We ask that you be sensible during this time, as we ease our way out of lockdown, especially given the vulnerabilities of many in the almshouses. Please continue to only allow the household you have ‘bubbled’ with, to visit your flat. Your Carers or Medical Staff are not included as being in a bubble. You may meet other members of your family or friends in the gardens, but you MUST maintain social distancing.

Find out the coronavirus restrictions in your local area – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

We ask that you ensure that visitors do not visit the building if any of them have come into contact with anyone with the virus or if they have themselves, symptoms.

Still uncertain?

If you are unsure of anything do not hesitate to seek clarification from one of the Thorner’s team.