We have, naturally, received a lot of calls to the office and emails raising concerns and looking for clarification on specific points relating to the latest measures.
Please note – Due to the extremely high number of emails we are receiving, we have to prioritise responding to the most critical of cases. We are trying to respond to each constituent individually, however, there will be a delay to our usual timeframes. Many people are raising similar issues, which you will find have been addressed in the briefing below.
This bulletin sets out the latest advice and Government action and will aim to address questions which have been raised.
NEW – The Prime Minister has introduced more restrictive measures to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Everyone must abide by the Social Distancing orders and all gatherings of more than two people in public will be stopped.
Stay at Home
You should only leave the house for one of four reasons:
- Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
- One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with direct members of your household.
- Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
- Travelling to and from work, but only where your work absolutely cannot be done from home – for example if you are a keyworker. – which means remaining at least 2 metres (6.5ft) away from others.
- Shops (apart from food stores and chemists)
- Leisure centres
Should I still be working?
Following current UK Government guidelines, work must only continue where it is safe to do so, according to the Social Distancing order, or if your work is one of the identified vital services.
For work places to be considered safe, changes must be made to work practises in order to ensure health and safety whilst working. This means that you must remain at least 2 metres away from customers and colleagues at all times and consideration must be given to preventing contact with surroundings. Protecting yourself but also your customers, is paramount.
You can find guidance on Social Distancing on my website: https://www.aluncairns.com/guide-social-distancing
Support for Self-Employed
A number of people who are self-employed have raised concerns that the measures set out by the Chancellor last week, while offering unprecedented intervention to help businesses and workers, do not offer the support that they need at this time.
I recognise the challenge that self-employed people face and I have raised the matter directly with the Chancellor. I understand that a statement will be made and we await the content. You will recognise that the the work which needs to take place around this is more complicated than that for employees but I am calling for assistance to be brought forward at the earliest opportunity.
Businesses in the Vale, with a rateable value of up to £51,000, will be eligible for a 100% cut in their business rates.
I have had confirmation from the Council Leader that all businesses in the Vale of Glamorgan will be written to requesting information that proves occupation or ownership. Once processed, they can benefit from having the business rate relief applied.
UK Nationals Abroad
All UK Nationals must return home.
Please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice [/your country] to subscribe to email alerts and check for updates. This is crucial due to the rapidly evolving nature of the situation.
Some UK Embassies require you to register your location with them. This will be stated on the country’s section of the above website.
All UK Nationals should be trying to return to the UK, this includes staying in or near the airport with bags packed ready to move at very short notice.
Flights are being negotiated and announced at short notice. They are often first come first served with limited availability.
Some nations and airlines are implementing ‘Fit to Fly Forms’. These expire every few days. It is crucial you keep these forms up to date to allow you to board and transit through countries.
The UK does not have a ‘Fit to Fly Form’ however you will need to self-isolate for 14 days after you arrive in the UK.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Some clinicians have concerns about PPE, which I have raised with the relevant authorities.
I have had confirmation that further supplies are being made available and I understand that health authorities are working closely with the clinicians and listening to their concerns.
Free School Meals
I contacted the Vale Council about the situation surrounding Free School Meals and received confirmation from the Leader of the Vale Council that the Vale has opened all schools for the purpose of pupils accessing Free School Meals and is promoting attendance for pupils eligible. The Council will be constantly revisiting the situation as clearly things change very quickly.
To support social distancing the Vale Council has introduced the following measures:
- Barry Island car parks – Closed
- Cosmeston and Porthkerry Country Parks car parks – Closed
- Penarth Pier – Closed
- All Council-owned beach car parks – Closed
- All gated parks – Closed
- Play areas – Closed
- Public toilets – Closed
- Beach Huts – Closed (If you have an annual permit, you will only be charged the pro rata amount)
- Paget Road and Friars Road to be closed for parking – Access only.
- Civic Offices and all other Council buildings – Closed
- Recycling Centres – Closed
If you would like to see more advice, please visit my website which has a Coronavirus page. This contains information on health, travel, help for businesses, among other things: https://www.aluncairns.com/coronavirus
I hope you found this helpful.
Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP
Vale of Glamorgan