Hello and welcome to the 47th issue of this regular Sunday email. This edition contains lots of information about the so-called roadmap that shows us a route out of lockdown. It’s going to be a relatively slow process but it certainly looks as though the government is showing great caution.
I hope you find this email’s 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 week’s Covid statistics
• There have been more than 4.2 million confirmed cases of Covid in the UK. Yesterday 7,434 cases were confirmed. The number of new cases of Covid fell by 17% compared to the previous week.
• 4,257,255 Covid tests were conducted last week.
• 1,111 people were admitted to hospital on a daily basis (8,452 in the week). Those figures are 22% down on the previous week. The number of Covid patients in hospital dropped from nearly 20,000
Last week to 14,808 this week.
• The R number – which takes into account cases, hospitalisations and deaths – has remained at between 0.6 and 0.9.
• Almost 20 million people have now had a first dose vaccination. So far, 768,800 second doses have been administered.
• Yesterday 290 UK deaths were reported. There were 2,341 in the seven-day period to Saturday. These two figures represent a 32% drop on the previous week, so the downward trend is continuing.
The total number of UK deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test now stands at 122,705. Worldwide, the number of deaths is now over 2.46 million.
The government’s roadmap to recovery
The design of the roadmap has been guided by some important principles. Due to the current relatively uniform spread of the virus across the country, the four steps out of lockdown set out in the roadmap are designed to apply to all regions. Decisions on easing restrictions will be led by data rather than dates. It takes around four weeks for the data to show the impact of easing restrictions and the government will provide a further week’s notice to the public and businesses ahead of any further changes. For that reason, there will be at least five weeks between the steps in the roadmap. The indicative, ‘no earlier than’ dates in the roadmap are all contingent on the data and subject to change.
The Four Tests
- The coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan.
- Vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or needing hospital treatment.
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions.
- New Covid variants do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions.
On 8 March
- All schools and colleges will reopen. University students can return for practical courses. There will be a review by the end of the Easter holidays for all other students.
- Face coverings are recommended in class for secondary school students (and possibly teachers) and also for parents and staff in primary schools.
- Wraparound childcare can also return for vulnerable pupils and where it is needed for parents or carers to go to work, support groups or to seek medical care.
- Two people from different households can meet outside for recreation, which can include "a coffee on a bench".
- One nominated person can visit care homes, but will need PPE, a lateral flow test and must "keep physical contact to a minimum".
- Weddings attended by up to six people can take place in any circumstances.
On 29 March
- People will be allowed to meet outside, either with one other household or within the "rule of six", including in private gardens.
- The stay at home rule will end but people should stay local as much as possible.
- Outdoor sport facilities will reopen, including golf courses and tennis and basketball courts.
- Formally organised outdoor sports can also restart.
- Parents and children groups can return but are capped at 15 and must be outdoors. Indoor groups can take place for vulnerable children and where parents need the groups to go to work.
No earlier than 12 April
- All shops allowed to open. Restaurants and pub gardens will be allowed to serve customers sitting outdoors, including alcohol.
- Gyms and spas can reopen.
- Hairdressers, beauty salons and other "close contact services" can reopen.
- UK domestic holidays away from home permitted, with self-contained accommodation able to reopen for use by members of the same household.
- Children allowed to attend indoor play activities, with up to 15 parents or guardians allowed to join them.
- Libraries, community centres, village halls, theme parks, zoos and drive-in cinemas can reopen.
- Weddings attended by up to 15 people can take place.
No earlier than 17 May
- People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors.
- Six people or two households can meet indoors.
- Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues can seat customers indoors.
- Up to 30 people can meet to celebrate weddings or other life events, like christenings.
- Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas can open.
- Indoor entertainment such as museums, theatres, cinemas and children’s play areas can open.
- Performances and large events will be subject to limits though. For indoor events they can be at half capacity or 1,000 people, and outdoors they can be at half capacity or 4,000 people – whichever is lower. For large venues (at least 40,000 capacity) up to 10,000 will be allowed to attend.
- Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen. You should only stay in the accommodation with a maximum of two households (with support bubbles) OR a maximum of 6 people from different households.
- International leisure travel may resume.
- Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes can start up again.
No earlier than 21 June
- All legal limits on social contact will be removed.
- Limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, funerals and other life events will be removed.
- Nightclubs will be allowed to reopen.
BUT – Don’t wreck it now
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer has warned everyone "do not wreck this now" as some areas have seen a rise in Covid infections. He said: Some areas of the UK are burning quite hot in terms of Covid infections. Although it is generally good news, I’m afraid it is better news in some places than in other places and it is not a battle we have won yet. Do not wreck this now, it is too early to relax. The rules still apply even if you have had the coronavirus vaccine. This is going all going very well, but there are some worrying signs that people are relaxing, taking their foot off their brake at the wrong time."
Progress with vaccination programme
The vaccine programme continues to progress extremely well. Everyone in the first four priority groups – those aged 70 and over, care home residents, healthcare workers and people required to shield – were offered a jab by mid-February. The rollout is now being expanded to include those aged 60 and above and those with underlying health conditions. The rest of the over-50s will follow, with the government aiming to offer everyone in priority groups five to nine a jab by 15 April. Once all the top nine priority groups have been offered at least one jab, it will be given to people according to age group, rather than profession, as follows:
- All those aged 40-49 years
- All those aged 30-39 years
- All those aged 18-29 years
Scientists and the government decided against giving priority to people in particular jobs, such as teaching, because they said this would be more complex to deliver and might slow down the vaccine programme.
Lateral Flow Tests for schools
Free Covid tests will be offered to the families of all pupils under plans to reopen schools from 8 March. Rapid test kits will be provided twice a week to pupils and anyone in their household or support bubble regardless of whether they have symptoms. They will also be available to adults who work with schools, such as bus drivers and after school club leaders. Lateral flow tests, which give a result within 30 minutes, will be available from tomorrow. Tests will be available in-person via workplace testing, at local authority testing sites or through a new ordering service that will allow people to order the kits online to collect from a local testing site. Home testing for secondary pupils will be twice weekly, with parents expected to carry out the testing at home after three tests in school.
Over the last few months the government has argued against the introduction of passports identifying those who have had their vaccines or tested negative for Covid. But this week the PM promised a review of the position but said there were "deep and complex issues" to consider. Covid passports would be like a status certificate or app you produce as you enter a pub or theatre, or even go abroad. Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove will lead the vaccine passport review.
Transition from pandemic to endemic
Over time, scientists expect Covid to become endemic, meaning the virus will reach a stable, and hopefully manageable level. It may have seasonal surges. Scientists do not yet know how or when that transition will occur. Vaccines will be key to managing the transition from pandemic to endemic state. Like some strains of flu, Covid is a relatively mild illness for much of the population, but it is more dangerous to vulnerable groups. The government aims to ensure the country can live with the virus in the longer-term without imposing restrictions which bear heavy economic, social and health costs.
Building resilience to future pandemics
It’s now fairly obvious that this government and those that went before it, failed to invest and build resilience for pandemics. But according to recently published information the government is getting on track to create a new, powerful body – the National Institute for Health Protection. This new organisation, to be launched in April this year, will be responsible for monitoring, identifying and ensuring the nation’s readiness to respond to public health hazards in the future. It will combine the health protection capabilities of Public Health England with NHS Test and Trace, including the UK-wide Joint
Biosecurity Centre, and at a much more coordinated approach with local authorities and Directors of Public Health, at a local level.
Book a coronavirus test locally
Every day sites 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
Green Card required for European driving
Following the publication of the roadmap out of lockdown lots of us have started thinking about holidays. International travel may still be a while off, but after Brexit anyone planning to drive in the EU will need a Green Card. It’s best to be prepared and request one before you travel. You may also need an International Driving Permit, depending on where you’re travelling. When travelling you are advised to take all your important documents away with you, including your insurance certificate, and any Green Cards or permits if applicable. Check things out here – https://www.gov.uk/driving-abroad
Budget Day – Wednesday 3 March
Next Wednesday is Budget Day when Chancellor Rishi Sunak will set out the government’s plans to haul the UK economy out of the deepest recession in 300 years, but particularly how the government intends to support the recovery as Covid restrictions are eased. The Chancellor Rishi has said he will use the Budget to level with the British people about the state of the economy in the wake of the Covid crisis, adding that public finances face a "challenge".
Parish Council meetings
- The next Topcliffe Parish Council meeting will be via Zoom on Thursday 4 March at 7pm. Any members of the public wishing to join in electronically should contact the clerk for log in details by mid-day on the day of the meeting by email to topcliffeparishcouncil 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.
- The next Asenby Parish Council meeting will be held online at 7.30pm on Wednesday 17 March 2021. Residents wishing to join this meeting should email the clerk at asenbypc for log in details.
Local Government Reorganisation.
Last October, two proposals were submitted to the Secretary of State for the reorganisation of local authority areas in North Yorkshire. There’s plenty to read about this subject on the internet. But in a nutshell, the proposals are:
- Six of the seven districts (all bar Hambleton) have proposed two unitary councils – East and West. The East would include Ryedale, Scarborough, Selby districts and the current unitary of York, and the West take in Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate and Richmondshire districts.
- North Yorkshire County Council has proposed a single unitary combining all seven districts operating alongside the existing unitary City of York Council.
The consultation on the two proposals has now been launched. It will last for eight weeks closing on 19 April 2021. https://consult.communities.gov.uk/governance-reform-and-democracy/northyorkshire/
As a result of the local government review consultation, the county council elections due to be held in May this year have been rescheduled to May 2022. The elections for local Police and Crime Commissioners will still take place on 6 May 2021. The Village Hall will act as the Polling Station in Topcliffe. I’ve asked where the Asenby polling station will be this year, but I haven’t the answer yet. I’ll let you know next week.
Postal or Proxy Voting
You don’t have to attend a polling station to cast your vote. And as the pandemic continues to haunt our lives, some might prefer voting another way rather visiting a polling station. So what are the options? To vote by post you must apply to the Electoral Registration office at your local council. Application forms can be downloaded from your council’s website. You then complete a couple of questions, sign it and send it off by post. You’ll hear back fairly quickly. You can also choose to vote by proxy – where you authorise another registered voter to cast your vote – if you are unable to attend at a polling station and haven’t applied for a postal vote. Again, you need to apply and explain your position.
- Write to Electoral Registration, Hambleton District Council, Civic Centre, Stone Cross, Northallerton DL6 2UU – elecreg or call 01609 779977 or print off a form from www.hambleton.gov.uk/electoralregister
- Write to Electoral Registration, Harrogate Borough Council, Civic Centre, St Luke’s Avenue, Harrogate HG1 2AE – call 01423 500600 or apply using the online form at
Survey launched to gather views on dog theft in North Yorkshire
North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Julia Mulligan, is inviting dog owners to complete a new national survey to better understand dog theft. The research comes after a spate of high-profile incidents nationally leading experts to believe criminals are exploiting the huge hike in prices and demand for puppies during the Covid restrictions. The Home Office is now reviewing pet theft nationally and considering additional options for enforcement, including harsher penalties for offenders. The results of the survey will help find out how widespread the fear of dog theft is, and whether there is support for tougher enforcement. The 60-second survey can be completed at http://bit.ly/DogTheftSurveyNY and will be open until 5pm on Friday 12 March.
St Columba’s PCC will be holding the following services:
• Wednesday, 3 March at 7pm, Compline or Night Prayers, a short evening service (no more than 15 minutes) of prayers, readings and responses, providing a simple and peaceful way to close the day.
• Sunday, 7 March at 6.30 pm, Evensong (Book of Common Prayer)
• Wednesday, 10 March at 7pm, Compline
• Wednesday, 17 March at 7pm, Compline
• Sunday, 21 March at 10.45 am, Matins (Book of Common Prayer)
• Wednesday, 24 March at 7pm, Compline
• Wednesday 31 March 7pm, Compline
The PCC hope that Rev Terry Dyer will be able to come and conduct a service of Holy Communion for Easter, either on Saturday evening 3 April, or on Easter Sunday morning 4 April, but that of course will be subject to future government announcements about any lifting of Covid restrictions. As regards to Covid, the PCC does continually assess the risks and it operates ‘track and trace’ arrangement. All the usual precautions apply – please bring a face covering with you – and we will provide hand sanitiser for use before and after each service. Most importantly, for everyone’s sake, if you have any suspicion you might have contracted Covid-19, please don’t join us on that particular occasion.
The March edition of The Tattler is at the printers this coming week and will be distributed to all households in Asenby and Topliffe on 10 and 11 March.
Topcliffe Post Office
The current temporary opening hours are: weekdays 7.30am – 3:30pm for the shop and 8:30am – 3.30pm for the post office counter. Saturdays – 8.30 – 11.30am. Sunday closed.
From Monday 8 March the opening hours will revert to normal – Shop – weekdays 7am to 5pm and Saturday 7 to 11.30am. Post Office – weekdays 8.30am to 5pm and Saturday 8.30 to 11.30am. Sunday closed.
The Angel at Topcliffe – Happy Mother’s Day treat
Please see the attachment to this email for the fantastic Mother’s Day menu on offer from The Angel on 14 March. What a wonderful treat for all the mums out there!
The regular ‘Dine at Home’ takeaway service menu can be found on The Angel website. 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. Check out the details at www.theangelattopcliffe.co.uk
• Fish and Chips – The Fish & Chip van is in Topcliffe on Fridays between 5 and 7pm.
• The Elm Gallery – The gallery remains closed. Liz and Dave will continue to promote items on the gallery’s Facebook page and website. Collection of purchases at the gallery door can be arranged.
More information can be found on their website at www.the-elm-gallery.co.uk and they can be contacted on 01845 577316 or 07709 223920.
• The Milk Churn Farm Shop – Until the lockdown restrictions end, the shop will close at 3pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Thursdays and Saturdays it will close at 1pm. Don’t
forget that the farm shop is operating a home delivery service to anyone in Topcliffe, Asenby or Cundall who is isolating. They are also making free deliveries to Dalton, Sessay and Husthwaite every
Tuesday and to Rainton, Dishforth and Ripon areas every Wednesday (£10 minimum order applies). Ring 01845 400446 to arrange a delivery. https://www.milkchurnfarmshop.co.uk/
• The Swan – The Swan is closed until further notice.
• The Tea Time Café – the Afternoon Teas for Mother’s day have completely sold out. Rosa Fothergill has asked me to give a huge thank you to everyone who has placed their order …and an apology to
anyone who wanted to order a tea but has missed out.
• Thirsk Garden Centre is open 10am to 4pm for all your gardening requirements. The coffee shop is closed. https://www.thirskgardencentre.co.uk/
• Refuse – Mondays 1, 15 and 29 March
• Recycling & green waste – Thursdays 11 and 25 March
• Recycling – Mondays 1, 15 and 29 March
• Refuse – Mondays 8 and 22 March
• Green waste – 25 March
Green waste will only be collected if you have paid the subscription for 2020-21.
• A Hambleton licence for the year 2021-22 will cost £40 per licence per bin. To subscribe or for further information please visit www.hambleton.gov.uk/newbins
• A licence from Harrogate for 2021-22 will cost £41 per bin. To subscribe or for more information please visithttps://www.harrogate.gov.uk/garden-waste-subscription-service
That’s all for this week. Keep safe and remain well.