Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Essential information

Residents in Kent and Medway face an unprecedented challenge from Covid-19 (coronavirus) and the impact it is having on our lives, work and families.

 

The Kent Resilience Forum recognises that these are extremely difficult times for everyone and is committed to ensuring that people in Kent are kept informed and as safe as possible from the effects of Coronavirus.

 

Partners have tried and tested plans in place to respond collectively to health pandemics and all agencies are working closely with Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS to support the measures introduced to manage this evolving situation.

 

All the efforts of our partners are focused on supporting our communities through the challenges that they now face and our priority is to ensure vulnerable people and those most affected by Covid-19 get the support they need.

We urge residents to keep up with updated Covid-19 guidance and advice from government to keep ourselves safe and protect our health and livelihoods. 

 

Latest government advice

 

Coronavirus remains a serious threat across the country.

 

Visit the gov.uk website to find out what you can and cannot do.

Keeping yourself and others safe

You should stay 2 metres apart from anyone who is not in your household or support bubble where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings) if you cannot stay 2 metres apart.

You should follow the guidance on how to stop the spread of coronavirus at all times, including if you have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

You should follow this guidance in full to limit the transmission of COVID-19. It is underpinned by law.

Face coverings

You must wear a face covering in many indoor settings, such as shops and places of worship, and on public transport, unless you are exempt. This is the law. Read guidance on face coverings on the gov.uk website.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable

 

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

 

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you are no longer advised to shield. However, you should continue to follow the guidance for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and are advised to take additional precautions to protect yourself. It is important that you continue to keep the number of social interactions that you have low and try to limit the amount of time you spend in settings where you are unable to maintain social distancing.

If you have been vaccinated against COVID-19

 

To help protect yourself and your friends, family, and community you should continue to follow all of the guidance on this page even if you’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The vaccines have been shown to reduce the likelihood of severe illness in most people. Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective, so those who have received the vaccine should continue to take recommended precautions to avoid infection.

We do not know by how much the vaccine stops COVID-19 from spreading. Even if you have been vaccinated, you could still spread COVID-19 to others.

Meeting family and friends indoors

You must not meet indoors with anybody you do not live with, unless they are part of your support bubble (if you are eligible), or another legal exemption applies.

Meeting friends and family outdoors (rule of 6)

 

You can meet up outdoors with friends and family you do not live with, either:

  • in a group of up to 6 from any number of households (children of all ages count towards the limit of 6)

  • in a group of any size from up to two households (each household can include an existing support bubble, if eligible)

 

If you’re in a support bubble

 

If you are eligible to form a support bubble, you and your support bubble count as one household towards the limit of 2 households when meeting others outdoors. This means, for example, that you and your support bubble can meet with another household, even if the group is more than 6 people.

Where you can meet

You can meet in a group of 6 or a larger group of any size from up to 2 households (including their support bubbles) outdoors. This includes private outdoor spaces, such as gardens, and other outdoor public places and venues that remain open. These include the following:

  • parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests

  • public and botanical gardens

  • the grounds of a heritage site

  • outdoor sculpture parks

  • allotments

  • public playgrounds

  • outdoor sports venues and facilities.

 

If you need to enter through a house to get to a garden or other outside space and there is no alternative access, you should wear a face covering, wash or sanitise your hands when entering, and then go straight to the outside space. If you need to use the bathroom, wash your hands thoroughly and go back outside immediately. You should maintain social distancing from anyone who is not in your household or support bubble.

Support and childcare bubbles

 

You have to meet certain eligibility rules to form a support or childcare bubble. This means not everyone will be able to form a bubble. See the separate guidance on support bubbles and childcare bubbles.

You can only use a childcare bubble for childcare. You cannot use a childcare bubble to mix with another household for any other reason. This means you cannot use a childcare bubble to meet socially with another household.

Going to work

 

You should continue to work from home where you can.

If you cannot work from home you should continue to travel to your workplace. This includes, but is not limited to, people who work in:

  • critical national infrastructure

  • construction

  • manufacturing

  • childcare or education

  • essential public services

  • essential retail, such as supermarkets and pharmacies.

 

You do not need to be classed as a critical worker to go to work if you cannot work from home.

Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working. Where people cannot work from home, employers should take steps to make their workplaces COVID-19 secure and help employees avoid busy times and routes on public transport. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.

COVID-secure guidelines are available for sectors across the economy to substantially reduce the risk of transmission.

Visit the gov.uk website for guidance on reopening businesses and venues

 

Meeting others for work

 

You can gather in larger groups or meet indoors where it is necessary for your work. This does not include social gatherings.

 

Working in other people’s homes

 

Where it is reasonably necessary for you to work in other people’s homes you can continue to do so, for example if you’re a:

  • nanny

  • cleaner

  • tradesperson

  • social care worker providing support to children and families.

 

You must follow the guidance on working in other people’s homes.

Where a work meeting does not need to take place in a private home or garden, it should not.

 

Read more about what you can and cannot do on the gov.uk website​.

Covid-19 coronavirus information

For the latest health advice visit the: 

 

NHS 111 online service

For the latest Public Health England updates and government guidance about  coronavirus go to:

 

www.gov.uk/coronavirus

UK Government free WhatsApp information service

Receive the latest official advice and information via WhatsApp.

 

Follow this link to find out how to get started

Wellbeing

advice

These links take you to support and advice on looking after your health and wellbeing while staying at home:

Kent County Council wellbeing and mental health hub

 

NHS Every Mind Matters

NHS Live Well strength and flex exercise plan

Goverenment advice on mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus

How the rules will change on 12 April

 

Some of the rules on what you can and cannot do will change on 12 April. You can read the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ (the roadmap out of lockdown) for more information on how COVID-19 restrictions will be eased in England. You can also read the law that underpins these changes and the ongoing restrictions.

From 12 April:

  • non-essential retail will be able to reopen

  • personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to reopen

  • public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to reopen

  • outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen, with table service only

  • most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) will be able to reopen

  • some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds will be able to take place

  • indoor leisure and sports facilities will be able to reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble

  • all childcare and supervised activities will be allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children. Parent and child groups can take place indoors (as well as outdoors) for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number)

  • weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events will be able to take place for up to 15 people (anyone working is not included in this limit), including in indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens

  • self-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays in England with your household or support bubble

  • you should continue to minimise the amount that you travel where possible

  • care home residents will be able to nominate two named individuals for regular indoor visits (following a rapid lateral flow test)

Financial support and advice

The coronavirus outbreak has affected different people in different ways. If you have seen a reduction in your household income and are experiencing financial difficulties there is support available for you:

  • the Kent Support and Assistance Service may be able to help with food or utility vouchers

  • you can get advice about how to manage your money and what support is available from your account providers on the Money Advice Service website

  • Kent County Council's wellbeing advice page has advice about how to feel more prepared and feel less concerned about what is happening

  • many of Kent’s Citizen’s Advice branches are now offering advice on employment or financial matters over the phone and online. Find your local branch on the Citizen’s Advice website.

Updates on local services

 

Visit your local authority website for guidance and updates about changes to local services:

Kent County Council website or Medway Council website

Find your local borough or district council website here.

Getting help and volunteering

Support for voluntary groups and individuals is being offered by district and borough councils across Kent communities by visiting our community support page

Information about Coronavirus related scams

 

Information and guidance about coronavirus related scams can be found on Kent County Council's Public protection dedicated web page, This is updated regularly as new scams emerge.

 

Keep up to date with the latest advice by following their social media channels:

Public Protection Information for residents:

Public Protection Business advice and guidance:

Updates on public transport

 

Face coverings on public transport

Face coverings must be worn on public transport..

 

Full guidance on safer travel for passengers is available on the gov.uk website 

Stay up to date with any changes to public transport services

Trains: visit the Southeastern website, check on Facebook @southeasternofficial or Twitter @SE_railway.

 

Buses: for local bus services information visit the Arriva, Stagecoach South East or Nu-Venture websites

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Kent Resilience Forum

Kent Fire and Rescue Service HQ

The Godlands

Straw Mill Hill

Tovil, Maidstone ME15 6XB