Good afternoon and welcome to the 14th issue of this regular Sunday email.
The process of easing lockdown restrictions is now well and truly underway. The government hopes that it’s the beginning of a return to normal but we are all warned to continue to stay alert, control the virus, and, in doing so, save lives. It’s acknowledged that the dangers of Coronavirus are as real and deadly as ever, but as transmission is generally reducing, the easing of restrictions is seen as acceptable. Ok, there have been local spikes and renewed lockdowns in some places, such as Leicester, and worries emanating from other mainly larger cities, but we are generally being told that if we are sensible we can begin to live near-normal lives again. As I said last week, the responsibility is ours. If we act responsibly we can have more freedoms but if we don’t, we’ll be back in lockdown pretty sharpish and the consequences could be dire.
As part of the return to normal, it’s good to see The Swan open again and owners returning to Swaleside Holiday Park.
I am circulating this week’s email at a slightly earlier time than normal so that those of you who wish to visit the Farmer’s Market in Thirsk Market Place have time to get organised and get down there. It opened at 10am and is on until 3pm. The stalls are set up at a safe distance from each other and all visitors are asked to act responsibly by following the usual sage social distancing rules. Enjoy.
This week I have again included ‘Shopping’, ‘Take away food’ and ‘Places to Visit’ information in a separate Word attachment. This helps cut the size of the Sunday email and means you only need open the attachment if you have reason to access the information it contains.
As usual, get in touch with me if you have any news or information that you think village residents might like to hear about.
Lockdown relaxations from yesterday, 4 July
• You can meet in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household) in any location – public or private, indoors or outdoors. You do not always have to meet with the same household – you can meet with different households at different times. However, it remains the case – even inside someone’s home – that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. This change does not affect the support you receive from your carers.
• When you are outside you can continue to meet in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines.
• Those who have been able to form a support bubble (i.e. those in single adult households) can continue to have close contact as if they live with the other people in the bubble, but you should not change who you have formed a support bubble with.
• You can stay overnight away from your home with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household (where you need to keep social distancing).
• It will be against the law to gather in groups larger than 30 people, except for a limited set of circumstances to be set out in law, including attending weddings. Police will have the power to break up groups larger than 30, apart from the exceptions set out in law.
• Hairdressers are now open for business.
• Venues, including restaurants, pubs, social clubs, cinemas, visitor attractions, hotels, campsites and bingo halls can now reopen if they are prepared. They must be able to follow secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers.
• Other public places, such as libraries, community centres, places of worship, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be able to open. For the time being, swimming pools, spas, indoor gyms, bowling alleys, nightclubs, nail bars, beauty salons and conference facilities will remain closed.
The government trusts people to continue acting responsibly, and to follow the guidance on what they should and should not do. Everyone is expected to continue to do everything possible to reduce the risk of transmission, whether they are at work, leisure, or using public services. You should continue to practice social distancing from anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble – even inside other people’s homes. You should wash your hands regularly.
Family and friends
You should only have close social contact with others if you are in a support bubble with them. If you or someone in your household or support bubble are showing Coronavirus symptoms, everyone in your household or support bubble should stay home. If you or a member of your support bubble is contacted as part of the test and trace programme, the individual contacted should stay at home. If the individual becomes symptomatic, everyone in the support bubble should then isolate.
Getting out and about
You can spend time outdoors, including for exercise, as often as you wish. At all times, you should follow the guidance on group sizes and the guidance on staying safe outside your home. A list of some local places to visit is included in the attachment. If possible, you should avoid using public transport, and aim to walk, cycle, or drive instead. Do not share car journeys with people outside your household or bubble. If you need to use public transport to complete your journey you should follow the guidelines in place, and must wear a face covering. It is important to avoid large crowds where it may not be possible to socially distance.
Clinically vulnerable people and those who are ‘shielding’ (clinically extremely vulnerable)
From yesterday, clinically vulnerable people are able to meet other people, both indoors and outdoors, but they are advised to be especially careful and be diligent about social distancing and hand hygiene.
From Monday (6 July), those who are ‘shielding’ on medical grounds can spend time outdoors in a group of up to 6 people (including those outside of their household). Again, they are advised to take extra care to minimise contact with others by maintaining social distancing. This can be in a public outdoor space, or in a private garden or uncovered yard or terrace. Those shielding will no longer need to observe social distancing with other members of their household and they will be able to create a ‘support bubble’ with one other household, as long as one of the households in the bubble is a single adult household (either an adult living alone or with dependent children under 18). All those in a support bubble will be able to spend time together inside each other’s homes, including overnight, without needing to maintain social distancing. This follows the same rules on support bubbles that apply to the wider population now.
From 1 August the advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people will move in line with advice to those who are clinically vulnerable. In practice, this means staying at home as much as possible, and if people do go out, taking particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household (unless you are in a support bubble) and robustly practising good, frequent hand washing. The relaxation of the shielding guidance will mean people who are clinically extremely vulnerable will be advised they can go to work or to the shops, as long as they are able to maintain social distancing as much as possible and their workplace is Covid-19 secure.
Holiday travel abroad
The government has relaxed its travel quarantine rules for around 60 countries and some overseas territories, including the popular destinations of France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Austria, Croatia and Italy. Greece is on our government’s list but the Greek government won’t allow Brits in until 15 July. It is no longer necessary for people travelling in both directions between the UK and these nominated countries to self-isolate. The fact that Portugal is excluded from the list has caused some consternation, especially as the Algarve has a very low number of Covid-19 cases. The government has made it clear that the list will be constantly reviewed as agreements are reached with more countries. The travel quarantine for people arriving in the UK from other destinations, including the USA, Brazil, Russia, China and India, remain in place.
Test and Trace
The position relating to Test and Trace is unchanged from last week. Contact tracers (NHS Test and Tracers or local public health officials) are in place to ask infected persons to list all the people with whom they’ve recently been in ‘prolonged’ contact. Those people are then obliged to self-isolate for 14 days, whether sick or not. The person asked to isolate will not be tested and the rest of the person’s household need not isolate. Anyone who develops symptoms of Coronavirus must isolate for seven days and the rest of their household for 14 days. Everyone with symptoms should ask for a test online or telephone 119 to arrange a test. If the test is negative, everyone in the household can go back to normal. But if positive, the person will receive a text, email or phone all to discuss where the person has been and with whom they have been in contact. If NHS Test and Trace calls you by telephone, the service will be using a single phone number 0300 0135 000. The only website the service will ask you to visit is https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk
Don’t forget to clap for carers tonight
At 5pm this evening there’ll be a one-off nation-wide clap for carers. This country-wide coming together will give the nation the chance to thank all those who have been helping us through the pandemic and recognise the vital community connections that continue to support us all. Everybody will be encouraged to stop what they’re doing and join with others – following social distancing advice of course – in their streets or neighbourhoods to applaud not just the NHS and other key workers but all those who have volunteered or helped keep services and community networks going. Following the applause organisers hope people will enjoy a drink or a cup of tea and reflect with family, friends and neighbours on the bonds that have sustained us in recent months. It will be a wholly inclusive occasion, with those still shielding also encouraged to take part in any way they feel able to.
Topcliffe’s two pubs
• The Swan opened its doors for customers yesterday – but for drinks only. Not surprisingly, they were extremely busy. Customers had to book a table in advance and were not allowed to stand or sit at the bar.
To book a table call 01845 595185.
• The Angel has announced that all of its facilities – bars, restaurant, gardens and rooms – will reopen for business at 4pm on Wednesday 15 July. Reservations for rooms and meals can be made between 10am and 5pm from Wednesday 8 July onwards by calling 01845 578000 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
St Columbas Church
As of yesterday, churches can open for acts of worship, but not for other gatherings such as social events or meetings. But St Columbas will not be opening just yet as the Church Wardens and the Area Dean (who is involved because we don’t presently have our own vicar) have only just received guidance from the Diocese and need more time to consult and plan. As St Columbas is part of a Benefice (a grouping of parish churches) it is expected that the Area Dean will need to consult with the wardens of all the churches before any dates are fixed. The Area Dean will also need to be satisfied that the church is able to fully comply with the new guidance. So, at present, no actual change. Our Church Wardens are not convinced that they have the resources to undertake the necessary cleaning to guarantee visitors safety. Even when the church does reopen there will be ongoing restrictions – for example, no singing will be allowed, there’ll be no ‘social interaction’ or mingling before or after services, and there’ll probably be limits on both numbers attending and the length of services.
Committee announces the Village Hall will remain closed until at least 1 September
At an online Zoom meeting of the Village Hall Committee held on Friday evening, committee members agreed that the hall will remain closed at least until Tuesday 1 September. The government has declared that community buildings can reopen for certain activities from 4 July but the restrictions and safety requirements are so onerous that committee members agreed, after consulting regular hirers, that it is best to remain closed for the summer months. The committee will meet again in August to review the situation and decide whether the hall can be opened safely in September or if a further delay (perhaps because of any local spike in Coronavirus cases) is required.
The 2020 Produce Show
It has been decided that the annual Produce Show this year will be cancelled. It has become apparent that the arrangements for an event of this sort will be extremely difficult to organise and manage bearing in mind all the restrictions and rules governing the use of community facilities.
Swaleside welcomes owners back on site
Swaleside Holiday Park this weekend is allowing owners back on site after an absence of over three months. I asked Site Managers Amanda and Andrew to write a piece for this email and this is what they said:
“As promised, here’s a little of what we have in place on Swaleside in order to give villagers a bit of peace of mind. Naturally, we are very aware that more people on the site means a potential impact on the village but we
want to assure everyone that we have systems in place to make sure everyone is kept well and safe. Swaleside has been a very lonely place these last three months: the heart and soul – the people – have been missing so we are so glad our owners are coming back and putting some normality back into life.
“We are painfully aware that there is a now new kind of normal, that we have to be more alert in everything we do and how we behave on the park. Owners will not be allowed in each other’s caravans – they have strict rules and advice about how things are now and as managers we will ensure that these are followed. Our risk assessments are in place, notice boards are full of information. The reception area, office, library and laundry room are closed. Sanitising units are in place at important points around the park and safe distancing will be a requirement at all times. There are many elderly people on this site so they are more at risk and we will do everything we can to protect them.
“We are bound by the government’s and Visit Britain’s strict guidelines for holiday parks and closely involved with the government’s Test and Trace scheme. Records must be kept of anyone visiting the site in case any cases of Coronavirus occur. Owners planning to visit their holiday home must email or telephone in advance to indicate when they plan to arrive. We are required to keep details for 21 days of everyone who visits the park. Owners will be allowed to have guests from 11 July and these too must be recorded.”
The Elm Gallery
The Elm Gallery in Front Street re-opened yesterday, 4 July, following the lockdown. Liz and Dave have been really looking forward to seeing old and new customers and catching up with friends and neighbours. Please note that only one person or household will be allowed in the gallery at any one time, so if there is someone in the gallery, you will be asked to wait outside until that customer(s) leaves. There is a hands free hand sanitiser just inside the gallery entrance and customers are asked to sanitise their hands before they go into the gallery. There is also a protective screen round the counter to keep everyone – customers and staff – safe. If you haven’t been to the gallery before, pop in and see the wide range of lovely things on display, including cards, prints, paintings, glass, wood, basket ware, jewellery, ceramics, sculptures, hand-made bags and lots more! A warm welcome awaits you.
Asenby Playing Field
Although the Asenby playing field continues to be open for exercise purposes, the Parish Council has decided that the playground section (swings, slide, roundabouts etc.) will continue to be closed until further notice.
Drainage works on Whaites Lane, Asenby
North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) will be carrying out drainage works on Whaites Lane, the Asenby to Cundall road, commencing Monday 13 July for five days. The works, which will be on the section around Poplar Hill Farm, will be controlled by traffic lights on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but then the road will be closed on Thursday and Friday. As with all NYCC roadworks, these dates may change due to “unforeseen circumstances”.
The Great Yorkshire Show
Organisers of the Great Yorkshire Show have announced that the agricultural show will be a virtual event this year. The show will be accessible via the internet during the original dates from Tuesday, 14 July to Thursday, 16 July. Three days of entertainment and video footage will be available free on the show’s site – https://greatyorkshireshow.co.uk/ Normally 130,000 people would flock to the event in Harrogate. Charles Mills, show director said: “While the coronavirus has caused the cancellation of our iconic annual event we recognise the show offers a fantastic platform to celebrate and champion the very best of British agriculture and so we hope to achieve that virtually. Attractions include TV stunt performers Atkinson Action Horses, a cook-off between top chefs Rosemary Shrager and Stephanie Moon, a Q&A with the stars of The Yorkshire Vet, Peter Wright and Julian Norton, and a behind the scenes tour with Olympic showjumper Graham Fletcher. Livestock, farriery, beekeeping, cheesemaking and many other events will be showcased alongside performances by sporting soprano Lizzie Jones and the Leyburn Band. There will also be a chance for retail therapy with a directory of businesses who would have welcomed show visitors to their trade stands in the past.”
Engineers say the unprecedented flooding caused by back to back storms in February caused the failure of the scheme at Dalton Bridge. Despite the £4.1m scheme being designed to protect Dalton Bridge and Dalton Lane, from a one in 100-year flooding event, alongside a 20 per cent allowance for climate change, Dalton Lane flooded on three occasions in February this year – just 19 months after the scheme opened. A Hambleton Council report states an inquiry into the February flood events revealed various defects with the road drainage pipes …due to poor workmanship such as unsealed connections, open joints and sections of crushed pipe, drainage pipes forming a ‘choke point’, and possible flood water piping beneath the flood banks. Now there are plans for further works to ensure the scheme performs as intended in the future. The proposed project, which will be jointly funded by Hambleton District Council and North Yorkshire County Council, aims to raise part of Dalton Lane which will solve the issues which an investigation identified led to the flooding. The cost of this work is estimated to be £250 – £300,000.
Final reminder about drive-in cinema dates
There are two opportunities to go to a drive in cinema in the coming weeks – first at Harrogate’s Great Yorkshire Showground on 11 and 12 July and then at Ripon Racecourse on 18 and 19 July. Social distancing measures will be in place. The films will be shown on large screens using LED technology, and cars will be spaced out to enable everyone to see. The sound for the film will come through the car stereo system, with everyone tuning into a specific FM frequency. Portaloos will be installed at both sites. More details and bookings via https://tinyurl.com/y7jy3ykd
• Refuse – Mondays 6 July and 20 July.
• Recycling and green bins – Thursdays 16 July and 30 July.
• Recycling – Mondays 6 July, 20 July.
• Refuse – Mondays 13 July and 27 July.
• Garden waste – Thursday 16 July and 30 July.
MESSAGES & INFORMATION FROM EARLIER EMAILS, BUT WORTH MAINTAINING FOR REFERENCE
• ‘Top Residents’ and ‘Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall’ Facebook sites have lots of useful information and chat about what’s going on during lockdown. Asenby’s community Facebook page ‘Asenby Institute Community
Space’ is keeping villagers well informed and in touch with each other.
• Our two Parish Councils are not meeting during the crisis. However, our Parish Councillors and Parish Clerks remain available to deal with any urgent matters. Details are on the two parish council websites –
• Asenby Bus Shelter Library – a ‘community hub’ with library and games exchange. Organiser, Heather Allon, also runs a magazine and book loan scheme in the village for the housebound or those in lockdown. Telephone her on 01845 595080.
• Sowerby Waste & Recycling Centre – the site is now back to operation at its normal hours and days – 8:30am to 5pm six days a week. Closed on Wednesdays.
That’s all until next Sunday. Stay alert, keep safe and keep well.