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Local Reaction to COVID-19

Written by on 20th March 2020

The East Herts Radio CIC team have been out and about this week in Ware and Hertford to find out what is really going on at our local supermarkets and local High Street busineses. We will list what businesses and organisations are closed and which are open with a limited or restricted service.

ALL supermarkets have reported Panic Buying leaving very little essentials on the shelves. Even frozen chips etc. or bread was nowhere to be seen at Tesco Ware. Tesco have informed East Herts Radio CIC that they will open as usual this Friday Morning at 0600 and will be offering a priority shopping service for the elderly between 0900 and 1000.

Sainsbury’s in Star Street reported that the deliveries arrived as scheduled but the stock is being purchased at an alarming rate by panic buyers through fear that they have to self isolate. Recent Government Advice suggests at least a 14 day isolation period for the whole family if one member show any symtoms. Sainsbury’s have made no provisions for the elderly at their Star Street Store.

Costa Coffee has closed its doors to “Sit in Customers” but instead, its offering customers a takeaway services only.


DELIVERY SERVICES
(Including Home Delivery, Takeaway and parcels)
Hermes
 is offering a Non Contact Delivery Service. Some Local Pizza Companies have offered the same service.
Dominos
From today, we’re pleased to be able to offer Contact Free Delivery across all our stores.
This service comes at no additional charge and is in response to some customers wishing to limit physical contact during the current COVID-19 outbreak.
Contact Free Delivery is live on the website and will be available in our app later this week.
You can select a Contact Free Delivery at the checkout on our app or website when placing your pre-paid order. Your driver will call you when they arrive to agree where you want your food left. Once the order has been placed in the agreed location, the driver will stay at least two meters away while you collect your food.

Everyone at Domino’s is working tirelessly to ensure we continue to provide you with the level of service and quality you’d expect from us during these challenging times.

Many thanks from Domino’s

CLOSURES

Wares The Music

It is with sadness that we have to announce that Ware’s The Music will be postponed until the autumn.
With the recent guidance from the government it was inevitable that this was going to effect our fabulous, cross-town festival-in-day.
Watch out for details of LIVE online performances from some of the the musicians who had agreed to support Ware’s the Music. We’ll be promoting them via these pages.
We hope to see you all online soon and will share details of the new date once it has been agreed with the venues.
Stay safe everyone.
The WTM Committee

Ware Library

Ware Coffee Lab

Southern Maltings – Cancelled all events.

East Herts Citizens Advice
These are unprecedented times but I have been struck this week by the commitment of our team – and the wider community – to supporting those most in need. I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on how we are delivering advice for the foreseeable future.
Whilst we’ve had to close our face to face service we are still here to help those who need us.
There are a number of ways in which people can access support, all set out on our website:
· Online advice at citizensadviceeastherts.org.uk
·  call Adviceline on 03444 111 444 Monday to Friday (10am-4pm)
· call Message Line on 01920 459944 and an adviser will call you back as soon as they can
· Complete an online form at citizensadviceeastherts.org.uk/webadvice

(Please note that we are a small volunteer-led service dealing with a large number of queries so it may take a little longer than normal to respond.)
I attach a poster/leaflet which summarises the above as well as an information sheet which covers some of the FAQs we are seeing – please do cascade as you see fit.
If you are an agency providing support to people, please do let us know if you have changed your service model so we can keep up to date.
Very best wishes,
Laura 
Laura Hyde 
Chief Exec, Citizens Advice East Herts

SCHOOLS
(Information for parents of children who have free school meals)

ALL SCHOOLS IN ENGLAND AND WALES WILL CLOSE ON FRIDAY 20
th MARCH 2020 AND WILL REMAIN SO UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

Government Guidance
As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
That is why the government has given clear guidance on self-isolationhousehold isolation and social distancing.
And the most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear. If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.
That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

It is important to underline that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.

Schools are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

Vulnerable Children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ childrenyoung carersdisabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

We know that schools will also want to support other children facing social difficulties and we will support head teachers to do so.

Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined below. 

Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

Please, therefore, follow these key principles:

• If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.

• If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.

• Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.

• Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

• Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.

If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision:

Health and social care

This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

Education and childcare

This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.

Key public services

This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.

Local and national government

This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.

Food and other necessary goods

This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).

Public safety and national security

This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.

Transport

This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

Utilities, communication and financial services

This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.

For further information, please refer to the Department for Education :  

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

FREE SCHOOL MEALS
Low-income families whose children are eligible for free school meals will be offered vouchers, food or meals to make sure they continue receiving this support, even if they are no longer attending school due to the coronavirus outbreak.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/plans-set-out-to-support-pupils-eligible-for-free-school-meals

The Government has today, Thursday 19 March, published guidance for schools giving them the flexibility to provide meals or shop vouchers to the 1.3 million disadvantaged children entitled to free school meals if they are no longer attending school, either due to closures or as a result of self-isolating at home.

Schools will be able to provide meals or vouchers for supermarkets or local shops, which can be sent directly to families who are either self-isolating at home or whose schools are closed on government advice. This follows the Education Secretary’s announcement on Wednesday that schools will close from Monday until further notice, except for children of key workers and vulnerable children.


DOCTORS

SURGERIES

TRAVEL
TRANSPORT FOR LONDON

We’d like to thank you for following the government’s advice not to travel unless your journey is absolutely necessary. 

Ridership on our services has fallen dramatically over the last few weeks. This is helping fight the spread of the virus, protecting the NHS and maintaining safe and reliable transport for health, logistics and other critical workers. 

Only travel if your journey is absolutely essential. If you do travel, follow the expert advice on hand washing and other health measures. We are running reduced services and closing a number of stations, and also still need to undertake essential engineering work at weekends.

However if you need to travel, this information will help you get around London this weekend, 21 and 22 March, and the following week.

Always check Journey Planner and our travel tools to plan your journey.

Please continue to help us and our hardworking staff maintain this action in the weeks and months ahead.

Stay safe and only travel if it is absolutely essential.

Yours sincerely,

Vernon Everitt
Managing Director, Customers, Communication & Technology

From today, Friday 20 March, the Waterloo & City line will be closed and there will be no Night Tube or Night Overground services until further notice.


From Monday 23 March, we will also gradually reduce other services across the TfL network. 

Our extensive night bus service will continue, in order to provide critical workers with a reliable night option as they continue to support the city throughout Covid-19.

These measures allow us to keep helping critical workers make their essential journeys, and keep the most used stations and services open and running.

For the latest information on what we’re doing to tackle Coronavirus on our network, check back to our Covid-19 page

From today, Friday 20 March, the Waterloo & City line will be closed and there will be no Night Tube or Night Overground services until further notice.
From Monday 23 March, we will also gradually reduce other services across the TfL network. 
Our extensive night bus service will continue, in order to provide critical workers with a reliable night option as they continue to support the city throughout Covid-19.
These measures allow us to keep helping critical workers make their essential journeys, and keep the most used stations and services open and running.

For the latest information on what we’re doing to tackle Coronavirus on our network, check back to our Covid-19 page

SUPERMARKETS

ASDA Ware

Dear Customer,

I know these are worrying times and that you’re probably trying to ‘carry on as normal’ whilst doing your best to look after friends and family. I’m massively aware that Asda – and all the supermarkets – have such an important role to play in making sure you and your community have the essentials you all need and I wanted to personally reassure you that we are working really hard to keep our shelves stocked and to serve your community.

We’re taking our responsibilities to respond to Coronavirus – Covid 19 really seriously. First and foremost, let me promise you that looking after you and colleagues is our number one priority, which is why we’re staying close to the advice from Government to make sure we’re doing the right things.

In our shops
Just as you are at home, we’re making every effort to try and help limit the spread of bacteria and viruses and have put additional cleaning materials in our stores. We’ve also asked our cleaners to focus on cleaning more frequently in the ‘high traffic’ areas. To make it easier for you to clean trollies and baskets before you use them, we’re topping up the cleaning stations in our foyers even more regularly.

Online
Demand for online shopping has increased and we’re delivering as many orders as we possibly can. If you can be flexible in your delivery or collection time, that would be fantastic and we’ve made sure our drivers all have sanitizer spray so they can continually ensure they’re able to keep your shopping and the totes clean and hygienic.

If you do need to self-isolate for any reason, I’d just ask that you let us know of your situation in the ‘Other Information’ section when placing your order. Let us know where you’d like your order to be left – be that your doorstep or communal entrance and our drivers will bring it there for you. They’ll use bags rather than our usual totes and let you know they’ve arrived. If you’re unable to collect your order quickly then drivers will give you a call, but because they have so many deliveries to make at the moment, if they can’t get hold of you after a few minutes, then the order will be returned to the store and the order cancelled and refunded. For your reassurance and theirs our drivers will wear gloves when they’re delivering to anyone who is self-isolating.

On our shelves
We’re working around the clock to make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep products available – and in some cases, such as with hand sanitizer, cleaning products and baby formula – we have implemented a limit on the number of items that can be purchased to make sure everyone can get what they need. I’d also ask that you try to shop responsibly and not buy more than you need so that everyone, including the vulnerable, have access to the essentials.

We want to do all we can to support this effort and so have made the decision that on 
Friday 20th March, from store opening until 9am, we are going to make our larger stores available for those vulnerable people – and those caring for them, to let them shop and get what they need.
 
 So – if you’re in a vulnerable group and need to get your shopping – or are caring for someone in a vulnerable group, we’ll do everything we can to support you in stores on Friday morning before 9am. You can find out the opening time of your local store by clicking here.  

To our other customers, please help us do this by leaving your shopping until later in the day.We’re doing everything we can to keep our shelves stocked and our deliveries coming – and our colleagues are doing an amazing job working around the clock to support you. 
Please let us help you – together, we can look after each other during these challenging times.

Take care, and I will continue to keep you up to date on everything we’re working to do for you and your community.

Finally, I want to take a moment to thank our colleagues for their incredible efforts during these unprecedented times. I apologise if shopping with us at the moment is not a perfect experience, but I would ask that you be patient with my colleagues as they try to do their very best during these unprecedented times.

I know that this is a worrying situation and I can promise you that everyone at Asda is focussed on providing a safe shopping experience for you all. If you have any concerns or questions then please do contact our customer service team on 
0800 952 0101 and they’ll do their very best to help.

Roger 
 

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