Covid-19 ‘Stay At Home’ Update
Emergency Government measures came into effect Monday evening, aimed at reducing the speed of COVID-19 infection in the UK and requiring ‘every citizen’ to comply with new restrictions on social interaction.
An order to “stay at home” has been issued, with exceptions for essential journeys and exercise. Those leaving their home must not gather in groups of more than two, unless they are members of the same household or it is necessary for work purposes. The provisions will remain in place until 13 April, when they will be reviewed.
All ‘non-essential’ shops (including clothing and electronic stores, hairdressers, beauty salons and non-food market stalls) have been ordered to shut, along with playgrounds, community centres, bowling alleys, places of worship, hotels, caravan parks and campsites.
Locally, this affects community resources like the Nunsmoor Centre, FAR Centre, Fenham Library, Stanton Street Lounge, The Spitler, Newcastle Central Mosque, Madina Mosque, the Central Gurdwara, Hindu Temples, The Beacon, The Bike Garden in Nuns Moor Park and a number of places of worship and study in the area.
Restaurants and fast-food outlets have been allowed to continue home deliveries and takeaway pick-ups, providing people keep two metres away from each other (social distancing). Supermarkets will continue to open, as will chemists, pet stores, newsagents, post offices, garages, petrol stations and corner shops.
The ‘stay at home’ order is designed to reduce “day to day contact with other people” and follows recent widely-shared images of people at crowded supermarkets and leisure destinations flouting Government guidelines to observe ‘social distancing’.
The new policy only allows people to leave their homes for the following reasons:
- To occasionally shop for basic necessities like food and medicine;
- To exercise once a day (either alone or with other members of your household);
- For medical need or to provide care for a vulnerable person; or
- To travel to and from work, where this “absolutely cannot be done from home”.
New law is likely to be introduced by the Government on Thursday with the passing of a Coronavirus Act, which will give police and other authorities the power to enforce the new measures through fines and dispersal of public gatherings. It will also bring in a raft of other provisions allowing fast-track procedures to authorise other emergency measures.
In Arthur’s Hill, a mutual aid support group has been set up by local residents, offering help to those in the community experiencing difficulty accessing what they need at this time. Those wanting to offer help, or those wanting help, should email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (0191) 6911 363 or post on the group’s Facebook page.
A Wingrove mutual aid support group has also been set up and can be contacted through their Facebook page. They are also contactable on (0191) 666 0165 and by email email@example.com
Meanwhile, the City Council has announced that in partnership with community and voluntary groups, it will be handling responsibility for ‘shielding’ the city’s most vulnerable residents from coronavirus contact. A Citylife Line service is in the process of being established. People wishing to volunteer need to complete an online form.
The Royal Voluntary Service is co-ordinating an NHS volunteer scheme. Volunteers would be asked to provide a variety of support to NHS patients and other individuals in need within the NHS system during crises and emergencies. Such support would include, for example, a telephone befriending service, help with daily living tasks (such as shopping) and help with transport. Volunteers are free to decide what support they are able to provide and when. You can sign up online.