Hello and welcome to the 31st issue of this regular Sunday email. This week’s email had to be rewritten at the last minute to reflect the last minute announcement from Downing Street that from Thursday the whole country will again go into lockdown. Most people will consider this dramatic set of restrictions on our lives inevitable considering the medical advice and massive increase in infections and deaths. It will be difficult for us all, but for the vulnerable in particular. No doubt local communities will again respond to the pandemic and lockdown by organising to help those who need support. So watch out for more details in future Sunday emails.
I hope you find the contents interesting and informative. As usual, get in touch with me if you have any news or information that you think Topcliffe and Asenby residents might like to hear about.
Here we go again! Lockdown for four weeks
Last night the Prime Minister announced a new lockdown across the country starting at 00.01 on Thursday, 5 November and lasting until Wednesday, 2 December. The new restrictions in lockdown include:
- People must stay at home except for specific reasons. These include work which cannot be done from home, childcare or education, exercise outdoors, medical reasons, essential shopping, providing care for vulnerable people or for volunteering, and visiting members of your support bubble.
- Meeting indoors or in private gardens will not be allowed, but individuals can meet one other person from another household outside in a public place.
- Pubs, bars, restaurants will have to close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery, excluding takeaway of alcohol
- Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, such as gyms and swimming pools, will also close, along with entertainment venues and personal care facilities such as beauty salons.
- People will be allowed to exercise and socialise in public spaces outside with their household or one other person, but not indoors or in private gardens.
- Single-adult households will continue to be allowed to form a “support bubble” with one other household, and children can move between homes if their parents are separated.
- Unlike in the lockdown during the first wave of the pandemic, schools, colleges and nurseries will remain open.
- Furlough payments at 80% are extended for the duration of the new restrictions.
- Those classed as clinically vulnerable will be told to take “extra precautions” but will not be formally asked to resume shielding.
- Overnight stays, staying in a second home, and holidays will not be allowed – including in the UK and abroad – although there are exceptions, such as work trips.
- People will be told to avoid all non-essential travel by private or public transport.
- Places of worship will close for services other than funerals (maximum 30 people, although it is advised that only close family members attend), but people can attend for individual prayer. Weddings are only allowed in “exceptional circumstances”.
- Job centres, courts, and civil registration offices will remain open.
- Construction sites and manufacturing workplaces can remain open.
- Elite sport will be allowed to continue behind closed doors.
- “Rapid turnaround tests” for coronavirus will be rolled out in “a matter of days”, and the Army will be brought in to help distribute the swabs, which could help partners attend labour wards.
Mr Johnson warned that Christmas could be “very different” this year, but offered a glimmer of hope that families may be able to be together after the lockdown. However, another Minister, Michael Gove, suggested that the four week lockdown could be extended if necessary.
The national picture – why the lockdown became inevitable
The government had been reluctant to reinstate a national lockdown – or even a lighter touch ‘circuit-breaker’ – but in the end the enormous pressure became intolerable and it had to rethink the matter.
This week we reached a tragic milestone as the UK recorded over a million confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 46,000 deaths so far. These official figures include only people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus and other methods of calculation suggest the number of deaths is higher. Almost 11,000 people are now in hospital with Covid-19, including 978 on ventilators.
The three tier regional system had not worked effectively in reducing the numbers being infected with the virus. At the end of the week over eleven million people were living in areas where the tightest Tier 3 restrictions were in place and slowly but surely more areas were gravitating towards the highest level. The north has suffered much higher infection numbers over the last two months but it had become clear that other parts of the country were seeing significant increases. A major study last week suggested that nearly 100,000 people are catching coronavirus every day in England. The study, by Imperial College London, stated that the pace of the epidemic was accelerating out of control and estimated the number of people infected is doubling every nine days.
The current Covid situation in North Yorkshire
The number of Covid cases in North Yorkshire continues to increase. As of 25 October, there have been 7,047 positive tests since 3 March, with 1,716 new cases reported in the past two weeks. Last week, the average number of new cases was 121 cases per day. Until the lockdown decision sealed out fate, it had been intended that North Yorkshire would remain in the medium (Tier 1) alert level, but discussions between local and national health chiefs had been held to consider putting us up a level to Tier 2. All that’s now academic.
Until the lockdown is implemented on Thursday, North Yorkshire remains in Tier 1 and these restrictions apply:
• You may not meet in a group of more than six people, indoors or outdoors, unless you’re in a larger household or a support bubble.
• Pubs, bars and restaurants must close by 10pm.
• You can holiday anywhere in England that’s also in Tier 1.
• You can holiday with people from other households in private accommodation (as long as you socially distance), but only in groups of six and under (unless your own household or support bubble is bigger).
• You can stay in a hotel or B&B with another household, but you should avoid sharing rooms with people outside your household.
• You should try not to share a vehicle with those outside your household or support bubble.
At the conclusion of the lockdown North Yorkshire will likely return to Tier 1 restrictions, although they are likely to be reviewed in the light of developments.
With the announcement of a four-week lockdown, community support organisations and their voluntary sector partners are preparing for a massive increase in demand for help. Not everyone has family, friends or neighbours to check on them. Community support organisations have been set up across North Yorkshire. If you or someone you know needs help they can call North Yorkshire County Council on: 01609 780780 every day between 8am and 5.30pm. You can also check out this website to search for local organisations: https://northyorkshireconnect.org.uk/
Book a Coronavirus test locally
Testing sites in North Yorkshire are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. The Department is asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms. This is important to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.
Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:
- Sunday 1 November – Richmond – Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
- Monday 2 November – Skipton – Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
- Monday 2 November – Northallerton – Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
- Monday 2 November – Selby – South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
- Monday 2 November – Whitby – Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
- Tuesday 3 November – Sherburn in Elmet – White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
- Tuesday 3 November – Thornton Le Dale – National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 7RR
- Wednesday 4 November – Scarborough – Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
- Wednesday 4 November – Skipton – Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
- Wednesday 4 November – Selby – South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
- Wednesday 4 November – Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby Town, YO8 4QH
- Thursday 5 November – Whitby – Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
- Thursday 5 November – Richmond – Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
- Friday 6 November – Sherburn in Elmet – White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
- Friday 6 November – Thornton Le Dale – National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 7RR
- Friday 6 November – Northallerton – Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. If test sites are fully booked they will not appear on the government’s website. To book a test visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
In certain cases, home test kits can be delivered to someone’s door so they can test themselves and their family without leaving the house. There’s a link on the North Yorkshire County Council website to request a home test – https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/home-testing
Asenby’s Spooky News
Young Oliver Robertson has produced the third edition of his newsletter for Asenby residents. It was nice to see that he mentioned that he had featured on the front of the last Tattler. I particularly liked my portrait. Take a look at the attachment to read Oliver’s latest news. He’s definitely a journalist in the making.
Big Thank You Awards
JPI Media – publishers of local newspapers including the Yorkshire Post, York Evening News and Harrogate Advertiser – has launched the inaugural “Big Thank You Awards” to recognise the heroic efforts of the key workers, neighbours, communities, families and friends who have helped to keep us safe and healthy during the months of the pandemic. These awards are an opportunity to say a big thank you to those that have done so much to help others. Anyone is eligible to win an award: It could be anyone who has inspired you – NHS staff, key workers, volunteers, local shops and neighbours who have set up and got involved in the uplifting and motivational initiatives in local communities. Nominations, which close 12 November 2020, can be made online at: https://bigthankyouawards.evessiocloud.com/bigthankyouawards2020/en/page/nominate
The awards event will take place as a virtual ceremony on Friday the 11 December at 7pm. Everyone in Yorkshire will be able to tune in and watch the Big Thank You winners get their awards live.
The Milk Churn Farm Shop
The return to lockdown will mean visits to our local farm shop will need to be undertaken in an even more Covid aware fashion than they have recently been. In order to keep customers and staff safe the number of people in the shop at any one time will be restricted to two. Owner Debbie Roberts says: “Please can I ask that we only have one customer in the front and one in the rear of the shop? Carers, of course, can accompany the person they are looking after but I regret I must restrict numbers in larger family bubbles. I understand it’s not ideal but the new rules require tighter controls. Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience caused.
“Customers, particularly those who are vulnerable and in isolation, may like to consider ordering their meat and veg boxes, as well as fresh bread, dairy products and fish, via the telephone and we can make arrangements for collections or deliveries to Topcliffe and Asenby households. We will be organising an easy process for people to order goods and would be grateful for a couple of days’ notice before food boxes are ready. In view of demand increasing, fruit and veg seasons changing, certain items may have to be exchange for something similar. We will start taking orders from Monday 2 November. Payment is preferred by BACs, but cash can be accepted if necessary. Ring 01845 400446 to order and talk through the payment steps. You can see what is on offer by visiting www.milkchurnfarmshop.co.uk
• Orders for Christmas are now being taken. This includes free range turkeys, turkey crowns, real Christmas trees, handmade wreaths by Lavender & Bee, plus everything for a full festive lunch or dinner. Examples of the Christmas puddings and Christmas cakes that can be ordered are now on display. Both have a gluten free option.
• Orders are now being taken for Christmas hampers from The Little Yorkshire Hamper Company, the Milk Churn’s sister company. There’s a fantastic range of hampers in a wide range of sizes and prices. Call in at the farm shop for more information or to place an order. Alternatively, check out the hamper website at www.thelittleyorkshirehampercompany.co.uk
Current opening times are Monday to Saturday 9-5pm, Thursday 9-1pm and Sunday closed.
The Halloween alternative – the Pumpkin Trail
Well done everyone who took the time to make the Halloween spooky pumpkin trail such a success last night. There was an amazing number of spooky pumpkins and other scary objects on display in both Topcliffe and Asenby and the kids appeared to be having a fantastic time, even though the normal Halloween trick or treat door knocking was abandoned. There was great community spirit during these difficult times.
St. Columba’s Church
Today’s Choral Evensong, with St Columba’s Choir, will be the last service until after lockdown. It will take celebrate the Feast of All Saints and will be led by Reverend Fiona Mayer-Jones, Area Dean and Vicar of All Saints Northallerton. The service starts at 6.30pm. Full Covid safety arrangements will be in place.
As local Remembrance Sunday parades are cancelled because of the lockdown it has been suggested that we might like to stand in silence on our doorsteps for two minutes at 11am on Wednesday 11 November as a mark of respect.
Air Ambulance clothes bank
The Auction Mart in Thirsk has installed a clothes and shoe bank to support the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. The bank can accept any unwanted clothes and shoes. Please bag them before depositing. The mart car park is always open with lots of parking so nice and easy to drop stuff off. https://www.facebook.com/ThirskRuralBusinessCentre/
It’s great to offer support to this invaluable service which helps save lives across North Yorkshire and beyond, but please don’t forget that there’ll be another Bags2School event in the spring to raise cash for two local organisations – the Village Hall and Topcliffe 1st Scout troops. It’s hoped that residents will store bags of unwanted clothes and other textiles until then. Watch out for an announcement of time and date in due course.
Parish Council Meetings
Fortunately both forthcoming Parish Council meetings will be staged online so can still proceed despite the lockdown.
• Topcliffe – to be held online at 7pm on Thursday, 5 November. There’s a 10 minutes session at the beginning of the meeting set aside to receive questions and comments from members of the public. Any members of the public wishing to join this meeting electronically should contact the Parish Council Clerk for log in details. All enquiries to the Clerk by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or any Parish Councillor – details are available on the village website at www.topcliffe.org.uk
• Asenby – to be held online on at 7pm on Wednesday, 18 November. Information will be available before the meeting from the Parish Clerk via email on email@example.com and details will also be made available on the village website at www.asenby.net
The Angel at Topcliffe
The Angel will continue to operate a take away meal service throughout the lockdown – see their website- www.theangelattopcliffe.co.uk – for more details. The Angel will be open until 10pm each day until it has to close at the close of play on the evening of Wednesday 4 November. IMPORTANT NOTE: 50p is being offered off cask ales until stocks last.
The Swan will be open and serving food until Wednesday evening after which it will close for the duration of the lockdown. Telephone 01845 595185.
• Recycling and green bins – Thursdays, 5 and 19 November
• Refuse – Mondays 9 and 23 November
• Refuse – Mondays, 2, 16 and 30 November
• Garden waste – Thursdays, 5 and 19 November
• Recycling – Mondays, 9 and 23 November
That’s all until next Sunday. Stay at home, keep safe and remain well.