Hello and welcome to the 39th issue of this regular Sunday email. Despite the Covid restrictions, I hope you had a good Christmas and I wish you all a very happy, healthy and better New Year.
Hopefully the year will improve quite quickly as the vaccination process proceeds but it starts on a bad note. We are now in tier 3 which tightens the restrictions on our lives and the experts tell us we are likely to have a third spike of the virus this month because of the relaxation of rules over Christmas that allowed us to have contact with others. It’s suggested that the mixing of households on Christmas Day, together with the threat from the new strain of Covid, will lead to an increase in infections. The good news last week was that the authorities have approved AstraZeneca’s vaccine and 100 million doses – enough to vaccinate 50 million people – will be available with roll out starting Monday. Apparently, this vaccine, the second in use in the UK, is easier to store and distribute. It can be kept at normal fridge temperature unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech jab that has to be kept at -70C. There’s now enough vaccine available for the whole population so let’s hope the authorities can get this organised and that the beginning of the end is now in sight.
I hope you find the email contents interesting and informative. As usual, do get in touch with me if you have any news or information that you think Topcliffe and Asenby residents might like to hear about.
The latest Covid situation
Last Wednesday the government announced the latest restrictions imposed on the population to help fight a massive increase in Covid infections. You’ll all realise by now that here in North Yorkshire we are now in tier 3 (very high Covid alert) whilst millions more people now live under the toughest tier 4 restrictions as case numbers continue to rise across the country.
Here’s a reminder of what tier 3 means to us (to check the details on each of these categories by going to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-3-very-high-alert
- Indoor social contact – no mixing of households indoors.
- Outdoor social contact – you must not meet socially (in a private garden or at most outdoor public venues), with anybody you do not live with or have a support bubble with. However, you can see friends and family in some outdoor public places, in a group of up to 6. This limit of 6 includes children of any age. These outdoor public places include parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests, public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them), allotments, the grounds of a heritage site, outdoor sports courts and facilities, and playgrounds. You can continue to meet in a group larger than 6 if you are all from the same household or support bubble. (check out the exemptions via the link above).
- Overnight stays – are advised against, other than with household or support bubble.
- Travel and transport – avoid travelling outside your area, other than where necessary such as for work or education. Reduce the number of journeys where possible. Plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. You should avoid sharing a car with those outside of your household or support bubble.
- Working from home – everyone who can work from home should do so.
- Places of worship – open but members of the congregation cannot interact with anyone outside their household or support bubble.
- Weddings and funerals – 15 guests for weddings and wakes; 30 for funerals. Wedding receptions not permitted.
- Hospitality – all hospitality settings, such as bars, pubs, cafes, restaurants, and social clubs must close except for takeaway, delivery and click and collect services.
- Accommodation – hotels, B&Bs, campsites, holiday lets and guest houses must close (though there are some exemptions – see link above).
- Shopping and retail – remains open.
- Indoor leisure – remains open, but group activities and classes should not take place.
- Sport and exercise – classes and organised adult sport can take place outdoors, but people should avoid higher-risk contact activity. Group exercise activities and sports indoors should not take place, unless with your household or bubble. Organised activities for elite athletes, under-18s and disabled people can continue.
- Large events – events should not take place. Drive-in events permitted.
- Entertainment and tourist attractions – indoor venues closed.
- Education – early years settings, schools, colleges and universities can open, but there’s much controversy about the dangers of re-opening so watch out for separate announcements from the government about arrangements.
- Childcare – registered and wraparound childcare is open. Supervised activities are permitted in private homes. Children’s groups are permitted. Childcare bubbles for under 14s.
- People who are clinically extremely vulnerable – there is special guidance covering these people. Check the details via the above link.
If you break the rules the police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups. This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines. You can be given a fixed penalty notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.
Be prepared for the next spike
If the experts are correct, we can expect a post-Christmas spike in infections any day now, so here’s a reminder of the basic guidance around infection control.
Self-isolate immediately if:
- you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste).
- you’ve tested positive for coronavirus – this means you have coronavirus.
- someone you live with has symptoms or tested positive.
- someone in your support bubble has symptoms and you’ve been in close contact with them since their symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.
- someone in your support bubble tested positive and you’ve been in close contact with them since they had the test or in the 48 hours before their test.
- you’ve been told you’ve been in contact with someone who tested positive.
You may want to tell people you’ve been in close contact within the past 48 hours that you might have coronavirus.
What is self-isolation?
Self-isolation is when you do not leave your home because you have or might have coronavirus (Covid-19). This helps stop the virus spreading to other people. Self-isolation is different to social distancing – general advice for everyone to avoid close contact with other people and to shielding – advice for people at high risk from coronavirus. It’s a legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive or are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. You could be fined if you do not self-isolate.
How to self-isolate
You must not leave your home if you’re self-isolating.
- do not go to work, school or public places – work from home if you can.
- do not go on public transport or use taxis.
- do not go out to get food and medicine – order it online or by phone, or ask someone to bring it to your home.
- do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for people providing essential care.
- do not go out to exercise – exercise at home or in your garden, if you have one.
Protect people in your household
If you have symptoms, you should stay away from other people you live with as much as possible. If you can:
- stay on your own in one room as much as possible and keep the door closed
- avoid using shared spaces (such as the kitchen) at the same time as other people – eat your meals in your room
- use a separate bathroom – otherwise, use the bathroom after everyone else and clean it each time you use it, for example, by wiping the surfaces you’ve touched.
When to get a test
Get a test as soon as possible if you have any symptoms of coronavirus or if you are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other health services. The symptoms are:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
The test needs to be done in the first 8 days of having symptoms. You do not need to get a test if you have no symptoms or if you have different symptoms.
Book a coronavirus test locally
These are government operated ‘every day’ sites close to where we live. They operate 8am to 8pm. The full list of other sites operating in North Yorkshire can be viewed on the county council’s website at https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/book-coronavirus-covid-19-test
- Every day – Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
- Every day – Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
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/ There’s a link on the North Yorkshire County Council website to request a home test – https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/home-testing
Help and support while you’re staying at home
While you’re self-isolating:
- you can get help with everyday tasks, like collecting shopping or medicines, from an NHS volunteer. They can even arrange to give you a call if you want to chat to someone. Call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm, everyday) to arrange help from a volunteer.
- you might be able to get sick pay or other types of financial support if you’re not able to work. Tell your employer if you cannot work while you’re self-isolating. They should tell you if you’re covered by their sick leave or special leave policy. If you cannot get sick pay from your employer, you might be able to get Statutory Sick Pay or another type of financial support. If you’re on a low income and you’re asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, you may be able to get a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment. https://www.gov.uk/test-and-trace-support-payment
Asenby Parish Council
The Parish Council will be meeting remotely on Wednesday 20 January 2021 at 7pm. Residents wishing to join this meeting electronically should email the Parish Clerk at email@example.com for log in details.
Topcliffe Parish Council
The Parish Council will be meeting remotely on Thursday 7 January 2021 at 7pm. Any members of the public wishing to join this meeting electronically should contact the clerk for log in details – firstname.lastname@example.org There is a period of 10 minutes at the beginning of each meeting set aside to receive questions and comments from members of the public.
Tell Julia what you think of her budget
North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner is asking for your view on the amount to be invested in local policing and fire and rescue services from your council tax bill next year. One of Julia Mulligan’s responsibilities is to set the precept – the amount dedicated to policing, fire and rescue from every household. As part of her commitment to ensuring the opinions of residents are reflected, every year she holds a consultation which is then part of the recommendation put to the Police, Fire and Crime Panel. The survey runs until Wednesday 13 January. It can be completed at www.telljulia.info
Parcel delivery scam
Sorry to present more worrying news about scammers, but I think this one is worth drawing your attention to. At a time when many of us are shopping more and more online it seems that fraudsters are using fake DPD (parcel delivery) messages to lure victims into a phishing scam. The messages state that the recipient has missed two attempted deliveries of a parcel and includes instructions on how to arrange another delivery. The links in the messages lead to fraudulent websites that request a small payment to rearrange the delivery. If the victim makes this payment, they receive a phone call within a few days from someone purporting to be from their bank to inform them about suspicious transactions on their account. They may also receive text messages also purporting to be from their bank, confirming these transactions. The victim is informed that their bank account may be compromised and is instructed to transfer their money to what they believe is an alternative secure account in order to prevent further losses. In other cases, suspects have gained enough personal details and security information during the phone call with the unsuspecting victim, to enable them to take out a loan in the victim’s name. The fraudsters then transfer the loan to an account under their control. Fraudsters are able to use a tactic called ‘spoofing’ to make the call or text appear genuine by cloning the phone number, or sender ID, used by the bank.
What you need to do
• There is an easy way to check the email or text is safe, only emails sent from one of three DPD email addresses are genuine. These are dpd.co.uk, dpdlocal.co.uk or dpdgroup.co.uk.
• Your bank, or other official organisations, will never ask you to share personal or financial information over the telephone, or via text or email. If you need to check that it’s a genuine message, contact them directly.
• If you have received an email which you’re unsure about, report it by forwarding it to report You can report suspicious text messages by forwarding them to 7726.
• If you have acted upon a message you have received, and you think you may be a victim of a fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to North Yorkshire Police on 101 or Action Fraud online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
News from The Elm Gallery
Following recent rises in Covid-19 in Hambleton, Liz and Dave have decided to close the gallery temporarily to protect themselves and their customers. The gallery didn’t have to close, but Liz and Dave decided they would now feel much safer if it did. They will continue to post things on the gallery Facebook page and, just as they did during the last lockdown, collection of purchases at the gallery door can be arranged. More information can be found on their website at http://www.the-elm-gallery.co.uk and they can be contacted on 01845 577316 or 07709 223920. The gallery will re-open when infection rates fall and/or Liz and Dave have had their vaccinations.
The Milk Churn Farm Shop
Farm shop staff are taken a much-needed break after a very busy pre-Christmas period. The shop will be open again on 8 January. Because of the tier 3 restrictions customers will be required to be in the shop one at a time, to wear their mask and not to handle products they don’t intend to buy – the names and prices are all clearly presented. For their part, the staff will clean the baskets, door handles and other surfaces on a regular basis. Meat, fruit and vegetable baskets will be on offer again and can be delivered to any Topcliffe and Asenby residents who are isolating or collected in person by arrangement. Telephone 01845 400440 to order and agree a time.
St. Columba’s Church
The church authorities locally have decided that despite the heightened transmissibility of the new virus strain and the rising number of cases in Hambleton, the risks of holding church services still remain at an acceptable level. Of course, masks must be worn and social distancing observed. The situation will be monitored and the covid risk recalculated regularly throughout January. Should the government advice change, or things reach a level where it is considered the risk is unacceptable, then services will be cancelled, maybe at short notice.
- Sunday 3 January – 6.30pm Choral Evensong
- Sunday 10 January – 10.45am Holy Communion led by Rev’d Terry Dyer
- Sunday 17 January – 10.45am Sung Matins
- Sunday 24 January – 10.45am Holy Communion led by Rev’d Terry Dryer
- Sunday 31 January – No service
Note from John Phillips: “I hope people are enjoying the floodlighting of the church tower over the festive period. This will continue until 6 January (Twelfth night). John Blair has provided the floodlighting for many years and we thank him once again for organising this spectacle.”
Because of the tier 3 restrictions, The Angel has had to close its doors. However, Greg and his team are keeping positive and look forward to a brighter spring. In the meantime, the Angel at Home takeaway service is operating with a new menu and reduced prices (see attached). Take away times are Wednesday to Saturday, 4.30-8pm, with orders taken from 3.30pm and Sundays 12-6pm, with orders taken from 11am. Call 01845 578000 to place an order or book a time slot in advance. Greg and his staff wish everyone a very happy new year and thank all customers for their continued support.
The Swan is closed until further notice….hopefully, not too long! George and Jane would like to thank everyone who has supported them throughout the recent difficult and confusing times and they look forward to the time when customers can again visit for drinks and meals. Hopefully 2021 will bring a brighter year which can be celebrated in style. A very happy new year from the team at The Swan.
• Refuse – Mondays 4 January and 18 January 2021
• Recycling – Thursdays 14 and 28 January 2021
• Green Waste – 14 January – this special collection is for subscribing members only. It’s primarily for Christmas trees, which must be cut up and placed completely inside the bin. Other green waste can also be included. The current 2020/21 licences expire 26 March 2021. Subscriptions for the Hambleton 2021-22 garden waste service can now be purchased. Subscriptions cost £40 per licence per bin. The 2021-22 service runs 29 March 2021 to 25 March 2022. To subscribe or for further information please visit www.hambleton.gov.uk/newbins
• Recycling – Tuesday 5 January 2021 (date changed due to Bank Holiday) and Mondays 18 January and 1 February
• Refuse – Mondays 11 and 25 January
• Green waste – subscriptions for 2021-22 open this month. To subscribe or for more information please visit https://www.harrogate.gov.uk/garden-waste-subscription-service.
Residents who don’t subscribe to the green waste collection services can take trees to the Recycling Centre in Sowerby. It’s open from 8.30am until 4pm but closed every Wednesday.
That’s all for this week. Keep safe and remain well.