Good afternoon and welcome to the 15th issue of this regular Sunday email.
As everyday life begins to look a bit more normal, it’s easy to forget that we are still in a very dangerous place, with relatively high levels of new Covid-19 infection in many places and a threat that is still as deadly as ever. Naturally we have been keen to get back to living our lives in a more conventional manner but it’s still very important to stay alert and control the virus. There is still some strong government guidance about what we can and shouldn’t do, but increasingly the advice is that we should all take personal responsibility and practice sensible precautions to stay safe. Ministers say they will trust people to continue to do everything possible to reduce the risk of transmission, whether they are at work, leisure, or using public services, by practicing social distancing, wearing a mask at appropriate times and continuing to wash our hands regularly. As the restrictions ease it would be dangerous to also relax our safety first precautions, so let’s hope that we can all live up to that trust.
One safety first precaution that might be coming our way is the compulsory wearing of masks in enclosed spaces, such as shops. Many experts have long argued that it would be beneficial and the fact that last Friday we saw the Prime Minister wearing one – possibly for the first time – suggests that the rules might be about to change. Leading infectious diseases expert, Professor Peter Piot, the director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said he did not understand why the government had only ordered their use on trains, tubes and buses in England. Face masks should be compulsory for adults in all public and enclosed spaces, he added. Watch this space!
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 now in place
• Two households (your support bubble counts as one household) can now meet in any location – public or private, indoors or outdoors. 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. When you are outside you can continue to meet in groups of up to six people from different households, again following social distancing guidelines.
• Those in 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 should not change who they 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).
• 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.
• You can spend time outdoors, including for exercise, as often as you wish. There is guidance on group sizes and on staying safe outside your home.
• We are all advised to avoid using public transport, and should aim to walk, cycle, or drive instead. We shouldn’t share car journeys with people outside our household or bubble. Anyone who must use public transport must wear a face covering. It continues to be important to avoid large crowds where it may not be possible to socially distance.
What does the review of 2m mean in practice?
We all knew what was meant when the rule was that we should stay 2m apart from other people, but what should we make of a ‘1m plus’ rule? Apparently it doesn’t mean one metre plus a number of centimetres – it actually means one metre plus mitigations. Hands up all those who know what one metre plus mitigations entails. Well I’ll tell you, it means a range of things depending on where you are – it could be the need to wear a face covering on public transport as it is not always possible to stay 2m apart. In other spaces, mitigations could include having screens, ensuring people face away from each other, having handwashing facilities available, or even simply minimising the amount of time you spend with people outside your household or bubble, or being outdoors. Got that?
Clinically vulnerable people (over 70s and pregnant women) and clinically extremely vulnerable people (those who are ‘shielding’)
It is likely there are quite a few residents in Topcliffe and Asenby who are classed as clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable, two groups of people who have had more comprehensive guidance to help them stay safe. So although this general information has been included before, I feel it is appropriate to again spell out how the guidelines are changing this month and next.
• Clinically vulnerable people are now 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.
• Clinically extremely vulnerable people can now spend time outdoors in a group of up to 6 people (including those outside of their household). This can be in a public outdoor space, or in a private garden or uncovered yard or terrace. Those shielding no longer need to observe social distancing with other members of their household and they can 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 are 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. Clinically extremely vulnerable people are advised to take extra care to minimise contact with others by maintaining social distancing and by practicing strict hand hygiene.
From last Friday, it is no longer necessary for people travelling in both directions between the UK and a list of around 75 nominated countries to self-isolate (but if in the preceding 14 days you have stopped off in any country not on the list you will have to isolate). This means that holiday destinations are effectively open for business again. The list includes the popular destinations of France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Austria, Croatia and Italy. Greece will allow Brits in from Wednesday. Portugal is still excluded. 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. The Foreign Office’s advice against taking a cruise holiday remains in place. Not surprisingly, travel agents report that whilst they are seeing increased demand for short-haul destinations, there is considerable confusion among travellers about restrictions both in the UK and abroad.
The relaxations continue
As the government continues to ease restrictions a range of new activities become possible again.
- You can now participate in team and other grassroots sports where the sports’ governing body has issued guidance on how to do so safely.
- You can now go to an outdoor swimming pool or water park, or attend an outdoor performance as part of a live audience (indoor rehearsals can take place in Covid-19 secure venues).
From tomorrow (13 July):
- Close contact services, such as nail bars, salons, tanning booths, spas, massage parlours, tattoo parlours and body piercing studios, can open. Only services that do not involve work in the highest risk zone – directly in front of the face – will be made available. This means that, for the time being, treatments such as face waxing, eyelash treatments, make-up application and facial treatments, will not be provided due to the much greater risk of transmission.
From 25 July:
- Sports facilities and venues, including such as indoor gyms, fitness and dance studios, indoor swimming pools and indoor water parks, will be able to open – subject to evidence closer to the time.
Test and Trace
The position relating to Test and Trace is unchanged from last week. NHS Test and Tracers could contact you at any time if they identify that you’ve recently been in ‘prolonged’ contact with an infected person. If they call you, you will be obliged to self-isolate for 14 days, whether sick or not. You won’t be tested and the rest of your household will not need to isolate. However, anyone who develops symptoms of Coronavirus must isolate for seven days and the rest of their household for 14 days. Everyone with symptoms should call 119 or go online 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 call 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
Topcliffe’s two pubs
• The Swan is now open but for drinks only. Customers must to book a table in advance. There is no standing or sitting at the bar. To book a table call 01845 595185.
• The Angel’s 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 by calling 01845 578000 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
St Columbas Church
Although churches are now able to reopen for acts of worship, St Columbas will remain closed for the time being. Discussions are taking place to see how and when the church can reopen safely and an announcement will be made in due course. As explained last week, our Church Wardens are not convinced that they have the resources available 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.
Village Hall remains closed
Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall will remain closed at least until Tuesday 1 September. The committee will meet again in August to review the situation and decide whether the hall can be opened safely at that time or if a further delay is needed.
Bags 2 School – date set for next recycling event
This is just to let you all know that the date has been agreed for the next ‘Bags 2 School’ recycling event. It’s between 8.30am and noon on Monday 21 September – which is well into the distant future, but make a note in your diary and start cleaning out your wardrobes and drawers. As last time, the event will be held at Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall and the proceeds will be shared between the Village Hall and Topcliffe Scout groups. There’ll be more detailed information in emails nearer the day.
As a reminder, we would welcome any of the following items: – Men’s, Ladies’ and Children’s clothing – paired shoes (tied together or elastic band around) – handbags – hats – bags – scarves and ties – jewellery – lingerie – socks – belts – soft toys – household linen – household curtains – household towels – household bedding (bed sheets, pillow cases and duvet covers). Please note that we are unable to accept duvets and blankets, pillows and cushions, carpets, rugs and mats (including bath, shower and toilet mats), soiled, painted, ripped or wet clothing, school uniforms with and without logo, corporate clothing and workwear or textile off cuts, yarns or threaded material.
Pollards of Thirkleby
Here’s a message from Ruth Pollard who regularly sells chickens and other meat products to homes in Topcliffe and Asenby. “Hello to all our lovely chicken customers. We have some exciting news on the chicken front. Over the next few weeks we will have some chicken products for you. As our duck business has suffered over the Coronavirus lockdown, we have had more time in our lives to welcome back our original feathered friends. We have been growing two batches of chickens and the aim was to be able to offer pretty much all our usual produce, and even to put together a chicken box with a bit of everything. That hasn’t quite happened as our big chickens, used for all our products like sausages, burgers and meatballs, are quite clearly ready before our smaller chickens which will be the oven readies. This means that we are preparing some of our products, which you can order and collect from the farm in a socially distanced way. Or we can arrange a delivery for those of you who are still shielding. Besides whole chickens, we offer sausages – farmhouse, tomato & basil, apple & honey:
burgers – original and different (slightly spicy) and meatballs – Italian and spicy (all made using gluten free rusk). Please get in touch if you would like to put in an order – email@example.com
Beau Fraise Soft Fruit Farm
The farm is open for pick your own fruit or simply buy pre-picked, including strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants. Full social distancing measures in place and timed slots available. It is great fun for all the family. Beau Fraise is prepared to deliver soft fruit to vulnerable residents in local villages to help during lockdown. The farm is on Dishforth road towards Sharow, 500 yards from the A1 junction 49 and A168 interchange YO7 3DB. Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am-5pm, except Wednesday and Saturday 10am-8pm. For more details call 07985 693692 or visit www.facebook.com/P.Y.Ofruitfarm
Thirsk Community Library
Yesterday, the library reopened with limited hours. Click and Collect and deliveries are still available for all those who need them – you still don’t need to come to the library in person. For the first phase of reopening the library will be open to the public – Monday, Thursday and Friday: 10am-noon, 2-4pm: Tuesday: 2-4pm: Saturday: 10am-noon; closed Wednesday and Sunday. Entry is via the side door only. You can browse and borrow books, and use the PCs. There’s no need to make an appointment or warn us you are coming. There is a one way system and changes in the way books are issued and returned. www.thirskcommunitylibrary.org.uk
Social Media for Beginners
There is a free, two hour online course – Social Media for Beginners – being organised at 1pm on Tuesday 28 July by the Adult Learning and Skills Service. You can learn about different social networks, how to connect with people and share pictures, videos and messages online and how to stay safe when using social media. Delivery will be over Zoom, giving learners the opportunity to ask the tutor questions and speak to others across the county. If you know anyone who could benefit from an introduction to social media please tell them about this free course. To book a place visit firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01609 532536.
Drainage works on Whaites Lane, Asenby
The drainage works on Whaites Lane, the Asenby to Cundall road, should start tomorrow, 13 July, and will last 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 county council roadworks, we are warned that these dates may change due to “unforeseen circumstances”.
The Great Yorkshire Show
A quick reminder that this week – Tuesday 14 to Thursday 16 July – you can virtually attend the Great Yorkshire Show. There’ll be three days of entertainment and video footage will be available free on the show’s site – https://greatyorkshireshow.co.uk/ 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.
• Recycling and green bins – Thursdays 16 July and 30 July.
• Refuse – 20 July and 3 August.
• Refuse – Mondays 13 July and 27 July.
• Garden waste – Thursday 16 July and 30 July.
• Recycling – Mondays 20 July and 3 August.
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 –
www.topcliffe.org.uk and www.asenby.net
• 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.
• Asenby Playing Field – Although the playing field itself 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.
• 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.