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Sunday Email: Issue 17

Good afternoon and welcome to the 17th issue of this regular Sunday email.

The main news this week is that the wearing of face coverings in shops and other covered indoor places is now mandatory and that experts have started talking about the danger of a winter flu epidemic. One such expert said: “If a flu epidemic collides with the Coronavirus pandemic it could be a catastrophic for the UK”. The thought of an epidemic and a pandemic at the same time is definitely a worrying thought. I wonder if that’s ever happened before? Anyway, the flu problem might be quelled if those entitled to a flu jab get one. It seems odd that only 3 in 5 of those entitled to one last winter actually took advantage of the offer. Let’s hope the numbers will improve this time around.

Detailed ‘Shopping’, ‘Take away food’ and ‘Places to Visit’ information lists are in a separate Word attachment (there have been some changes made to this week’s information). As most places are now open again and operating ‘as normal’, I intend to drop this attachment from future emails. So if you think the document is worth keeping for reference, please save or copy it.

As usual, get in touch with me if you have any news or information that you think village residents might like to hear about.


07785 223707

Latest government advice

Sports facilities and venues, including indoor gyms, fitness and dance studios, indoor swimming pools and indoor water parks, are now able to reopen.

From Saturday, 1 August, subject to rates of transmission and in line with Covid-secure guidelines:

• Employers will have more discretion, in consultation with their employees, on how to ensure people can work safely in their workplace or continue working from home.

• The clinically extremely vulnerable will no longer need to follow advice on shielding, though should still take particular care to follow the social distancing guidelines when meeting people.

• Bowling alleys, skating rinks, casinos and all close contact services, such as beauticians, will be allowed to reopen. Live indoor theatre and concerts will be able to resume with socially distanced audiences.

• Small wedding receptions – sit-down meals for no more than 30 people – can take place.

• All remaining close contact services – such as facial treatment and make up application – will start to re-open.

From October, the government intends to allow audiences to return to stadiums.

Cover your face

The government now says that evidence suggests that when used correctly, face coverings may reduce the chance of infecting others. So, last Thursday the government announced new rules on wearing face masks and coverings. They are now mandatory in enclosed public spaces including supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, transport hubs, banks, building societies and post offices. Face coverings are also needed in NHS settings, including hospitals and primary or community care settings, such as GP surgeries. They are advised to be worn in care homes. Individual settings may have their own policies and require you to take other measures.

Face coverings must also be worn when buying takeaway food and drink, although they can be removed in a seating area. You are allowed to remove a face covering in certain situations, for example to prove identification in banks or when buying age restricted products.

Masks are not mandatory in indoor venues which have other safety measures in place, including eat-in restaurants, pubs, hairdressers and salons, gyms and leisure centres, cinemas, concert halls and theatres, and visitor attractions like museums.

There are exemptions for children under 11, those with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering. Public Health England has warned parents not to buy coverings for babies and young children because of the risk of choking or suffocation. It is not compulsory for shop workers to wear face coverings, but there is strong advice that they too should wear a mask.

If you are eligible, you can carry an official exemption card or phone screen. Download them, respectively, from or

Those who break the rules could face a fine of up to £100, though there is much controversy about who will enforce the new rules. The government said it was the responsibility of individuals to wear a face covering, although businesses are encouraged to take steps to encourage customers to follow the law, such as with signs. Police will have powers to enforce the rules, although forces have said this will be a last resort and officers will not be patrolling premises.

What is an acceptable face covering?

A face covering is defined by the government as “something which safely covers the nose and mouth”. You can wear single use face coverings, reusable face coverings or can opt for a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth face covering, according to government advice.

Can I wear a face shield instead of a mask?

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that it is currently unknown whether face shields do very much in the way of protecting others from the spread of respiratory particles. They say: “we do not recommend the use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings. If someone opts to use a face shield instead of a face covering, then it should wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend below the chin”. In several countries face shields can be worn with masks to further enhance your own protection.

The fact is that while the government has emphasised the importance of following the new rules and wearing face coverings in public, there has been no official guidance about whether a face shield or visor can be worn as an alternative to face coverings in England. Since there is no specific guidance from the government, you should be prepared for shops and public transport to potentially refuse you service or entry.

Where can I buy face masks and shields?

Online retailers like eBay and Amazon, plus countless other retailers, have plenty of face masks and face shields to choose at a wide range of prices.

Why not make your own?

Rather than print loads of detail in this email, I would recommend the Which? website as a site worth looking at. Here’s a link to it:

REMEMBER – Face coverings do not replace social distancing. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, and/or high temperature, and/or loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste, you and your household must isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19. It is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off.

Review of holiday flights – midnight shocker!

As of midnight last night anyone arriving back from Spain must undertake a two-week isolation. The ‘shock’ announcement has caught out thousands of holidaymakers already in Spain and thrown many more holiday plans in to disarray. The removal of Spain from the holiday corridors scheme follows a surge in Covid-19 cases in many parts of the country. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has also advised against travel to Spain and so travel insurance is now likely to be invalid. UK holidaymakers continue to have to quarantine for 14 days on their return from Portugal. The government has rejected Portugal’s bid to be added to a “safe” list of over 70 countries and territories exempt from UK quarantine. On the brighter side, as of next Tuesday, 28 July, five new countries will be added to the list of countries with an air corridor with the UK. They are Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Estonia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Flu Vaccine

In England about 30 million are to be offered a free flu vaccine this year. It is to prepare for a winter that could see the annual flu season coincide with a surge in Coronavirus. Flu, which can be deadly or need hospital treatment, poses additional threats during the pandemic. There is some evidence a double infection with Coronavirus and flu is more deadly than either alone and a big flu season combined with Coronavirus could overwhelm hospitals. If lots of NHS or care-home staff are sick with flu, then it may not be possible to respond to Covid-19 in the same way as during the peak in spring. But it is impossible to predict how big a flu season we will have. Social-distancing and hygiene measures in place to stop Coronavirus should, in theory, also have an impact on the amount of flu going around.

Those who will be offered a vaccine include:

  • people who were required to shield from coronavirus and anyone they live with
  • people with some medical conditions including diabetes, heart failure and asthma
  • pregnant women
  • pre-school children over the age of two
  • all primary school children, as last year, and, for the first time, Year 7 pupils
  • initially all people over 65, before the programme is extended to the over-50s.

The NHS will get in contact with those who are eligible. It wants to ensure the highest risk patients are at the front of the queue when the immunisation programme starts in September. Last year around 15 million people in England were vaccinated as part of the NHS campaign, though 25 million doses were available. This year more than 30 million doses have been ordered. The vaccine will also be available privately in pharmacies and some supermarkets to adults who are not eligible for an NHS jab. It usually costs around £20.

Thirsk Leisure Centre reopens

Thirsk Leisure Centre (and those at Northallerton, Bedale and Stokesley) has now reopened, but pre-booking is essential. The gym, group fitness classes and Toning Suite opened yesterday. The swimming pool also opened to clubs yesterday, and there will be public swimming from tomorrow, Monday 27 July. At each centre there is a range of safety and hygiene measures in place. You can pre-book and see the guidelines for use at

The Swan

The Swan is now serving food at socially distanced tables. Reservations are necessary. The pub is also providing takeaway meals to order. Times are: 5 to 8:30pm Monday to Saturday and 12 noon to 4pm on Sunday.

Bags 2 School – date set for next recycling event

Don’t forget that the next ‘Bags 2 School’ recycling event will be on Monday 21 September. So please 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. 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.

Bin Collections

Hambleton (Topcliffe):

• Recycling and green bins – Thursdays 30 July, 13 and 27 August

• Refuse –Mondays 3, 17 and 31 August.

Harrogate (Asenby):

• Refuse – Mondays 27 July, 10 and 24 August.

• Garden waste – Thursdays 30 July, 13 and 27 August.

• Recycling – Mondays 3 August, 17 and 31 August.


• Local Facebook sites: ‘Top Residents’, ‘Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall’ and ‘Asenby Institute Community Space’.

• Parish Councillors and Parish Clerks remain available to deal with any urgent matters. Details are on the two parish council websites – and

• Asenby Bus Shelter Library – a ‘community hub’ with library exchange.

• Asenby Playing Field – The playing field continues to be open for exercise purposes, but the Parish Council is keeping the playground section (swings, slide, roundabouts etc.) closed until further notice.

• 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.

That’s all until next Sunday. Stay alert, keep safe and keep well.