Highland Council Update Jan 2021
Group Update January 2021
The following is hopefully helpful information given the new restrictions introduced from 5 January and also a summary and update of previous key numbers and sources of guidance and support. This includes:
• Summary of the New Restrictions.
• Support available for individuals including food/prescription support and financial support.
• Support for mental health and wellbeing.
• Support if you are concerned about a vulnerable adult or child.
• Support for business.
Regular updates are published on the Council’s website at:
Summary of New Restrictions
There is now a legal requirement not to leave home except for an essential purpose. Wherever possible, people are being advised to stay as close to home as possible, to shop local or online and to travel as little as possible in order to exercise in a non-crowded place. Essential purposes include the following reasons – a full list can be accessed at the following link:
Essential reasons for leaving home:
• for work or an activity associated with seeking employment, or to provide voluntary or charitable services, but only where that cannot be done from your home.
• for education including, school, college, university or other essential purposes connected with a course of study.
• for essential shopping, including essential shopping for a vulnerable person. You should use online shopping or shops and other services in your immediate area wherever you can.
• to obtain or deposit money, where it is not possible to do so from home.
• for healthcare, including COVID-19 testing and vaccination.
• for childcare or support services for parents or expectant parents.
• to provide care, assistance, support to or respite for a vulnerable person.
• to participate in or facilitate shared parenting.
• to visit a person in an extended household.
• for essential animal welfare reasons, such as exercising or feeding a horse or going to a vet.
• local outdoor recreation, sport or exercise, walking, cycling, golf, or running that starts and finishes at the same place (which can be up to 5 miles from the boundary of your local authority area) as long as you abide by the rules on meeting other households.
• to attend a marriage ceremony or registration of a civil partnership.
• to attend a funeral or for compassionate reasons which relate to the end of a person’s life. This includes gatherings related to the scattering or interring of ashes, a stone setting ceremony and other similar commemorative events.
Can only take place outdoors and a maximum of 2 people from 2 separate households can meet for outdoors sport or exercise. Children under 12 don’t count towards these numbers.
• All restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars are closed except for take-away purposes.
• All holiday accommodation is closed except for essential customers e.g. key workers.
• Tradespeople can only go into someone’s home to carry out essential work or services e.g. repairs, utility/safety checks.
• Community centres can continue to operate for the delivery of essential services only, such as emergency shelter, medical services or meals for the homeless.
• Places of worship must close but can open to broadcast online or conduct a marriage or funeral ceremony.
• Sports – all indoor facilities are closed. Outdoor non-contact e.g. golf/tennis can continue based on a single household group or no more than 2 adults from 2 households.
• From 5 to 29 January, all schools will remain open but the only pupils who will be in school will be those identified as vulnerable by schools and the children of Key Workers. Online learning will be in place for all pupils including those children and young people in school.
• A letter has been sent to all parents and carers advising of key worker criteria and that attendance in school should only be if no other options are available.
• There is not a full return to the shielding measures in place earlier in the year. However, new guidance includes:
• People who were shielding are now being asked to work from home and if they cannot work from home, then they should not go to work. Everyone who had been on the shielding list will be sent a letter by the Chief Medical Officer and this can act as a ‘fit’ note for work while the additional restrictions are in place.
• Everyone who was on the shielding list and signed up for text notifications has already been sent a message advising them of this. Letters should arrive in the next few days.
• Guidance provided to people previously shielding in December remains and this includes:
• People should minimise contact with people from outwith their household.
• People should not take public transport.
• If people are attending shops, advice is to do this at quieter times.
• Children who were shielding have already been advised not to go to school/college under tier 4 measures.
Support for Individuals
The Council, working with its third sector and community group partners, continues to provide help to those affected by the Coronavirus outbreak.
The Council’s Coronavirus Helpline can provide advice and support to individuals and businesses at this time.
(operates Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm and is FREE to call)
Food support can be provided for those in crisis who require emergency access to food. This includes people who have to self-isolate because they have tested positive for Covid or are a close contact of someone who has.
Prescriptions can be collected for people who have no way to collect or get their prescription delivered.
Support can be accessed by phoning:
The Council’s Welfare Support Team can provide advice, guidance and support to people who are struggling financially.
The Team will identify all the benefits that are available for an individual’s circumstances and will complete applications on someone’s behalf. For example, if someone is self-isolating and on a low income, it may be possible to help with heating, travel and other costs. The Welfare Team will also claim on an individual’s behalf any benefits they may be entitled to, including reductions that may be available on Council Tax.
This service is free and confidential.
(9am – 5pm); or