These are difficult and unusual times. Amid the welter of information ‘out there’ some is confusing and some is not up to date. The Government website is regularly updated to provide information on current regulations and any planned changes. The Government ‘roadmap’ out of the 2021 lockdown sets out the rationale for changes in regulations.
For up to date information across the UK go to:
Regular, rapid, coronavirus tests if you do not have symptoms: free to all from 9th April 2021 to help stop the spread
Find out here where and how to get rapid lateral flow tests for your household.
A Somerset County Council online service provides regularly updated local information.
A county wide helpline, open from 8am to 6pm weekdays, is available for anyone needing assistance from Somerset’s county or district councils during the Covid-19 situation. Phone 0300 790 6275 and read more about this service here
Covid-19 is circulating in Somerset and it is vital that people actively reduce their risk of contracting and transmitting the virus. For advice about what to do if you have symptoms of Covid-19, ring 111, or use the 111 online coronavirus (COVID-19) service.
If you have symptoms and want to get tested, use the new NHS portal to arrange a test. Please click here to go to the website.
For the latest local information and digital resources, posters and flyers visit: https://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/
For information and resources on staying healthy happy and safe at the time visit: https://www.healthysomerset.co.uk/covid-19/
There is also a support phone number for anyone self-employed available at 0300 456 3565.
Information about government support for businesses is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses
Our area Trading Standards team offers advice to businesses seeking to respond to the current situation. A dedicated information and advice page for businesses and consumers is available online.
When a case of Covid-19 is suspected or confirmed in a workplace, no matter where it is or what it does , a series of actions are required. Detailed guidance is available here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-workplace-guidance
Somerset West and Taunton ‘Help for Business’
For more information and to sign up for the newsletter, please visit www.visitsomerset.co.uk/business
To date, SWT has been able to issue Restart Grants totalling £9.1m to eligible businesses within the District. The Government requires the Council to undertake certain checks through 3rd Party companies in order to identify any potential fraud or irregularities before making payment. Staff are undertaking manual reviews on a large number of cases prior to approving payments hence the delay in some businesses receiving their grant.
Please click here for further information.
For our community:
The Community Council for Somerset (which supports the network of community / village agents) is working in communities with different groups and individuals to make sure the vulnerable are identified and supported. Local village agent details can be found at https://somersetagents.org/somerset-village-agents/
Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK is compiling a list of local groups set up on social media in an effort to share learning, resources and support. To find out what groups may be in your area, or to register a group, go to: https://covidmutualaid.org/local-groups/
For all of us:
The legal duty to self-isolate came into force on 28 September 2020 and requires people who test positive for Covid-19, or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace, to self-isolate.
The NHS webpages for Covid-19 provide information including about tests and vaccines.
A webpage at https://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-mental-health-information/ provides advice on a range of matters in the current situation including: healthy lifestyles and keeping in touch when isolated; advice for those of us who are self-isolating; supporting children.
If you would like to talk to someone, Somerset Mindline is open seven days a week on 01823 276892.
The Somerset Community Council for Somerset can take calls from vulnerable / self-isolating individuals. The number to call is 01823 331222. People can also use the CCS website (https://somersetagents.org/) to ask for a call back. They will need to give their name, number, postcode and an outline of the person’s need. The CCS will then look at how help may be provided via village agents and volunteers.
Information for parents, carers and guardians:
- New COVID Checker for parents: https://www.cypsomersethealth.org/resources/covidchecker-schools_V2.pdf
- Resources for parents to understand the difference between a cold and Covid-19: https://www.healthysomerset.co.uk/covid-19/info/ipc/
- School self-isolation guidance: https://www.healthysomerset.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/School-Self-Isolation-Guidance-1.pdf
Our area Trading Standards team offers a series of consumer guides on the following COVID-19 topics:
- Face masks and hand sanitisers consumer guide.
- Contracts cancelled due to coronavirus – general advice.
- Accommodation holidays cancelled due to coronavirus – guide for consumers.
- Weddings cancelled due to coronavirus – guide for consumers.
The Trading Standards information and advice resource for businesses also includes consumer information available online.
Somerset West and Taunton Council is inviting anyone struggling to pay their Council Tax due to the pressures of Coronavirus to get in contact. The Council offers a range of information on this and other support available at: https://www.somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-and-information/
It appears that scammers and doorstep traders are exploiting people’s fear and anxiety in the current situation with offers of false testing kits, also some people are posing as helpers or volunteers. Financial scams have included false donation schemes like a ‘COVID-19 vaccine’, fake holiday refunds and fake calls from people claiming to be your bank or other financial service. BEWARE. If in doubt put the phone down, shut the door, dont respond. For advice contact the service the scammer was referring to or Trading Standards: https://www.devonsomersettradingstandards.gov.uk/contacts/
or the 0808 223 1133