Lots changed over the weekend for those of us now living under tier 4 covid restrictions. This means that many things are now very different to Friday. We have taken a look at how these new restrictions will affect our elderly and vulnerable communities.
As from the early hours of Sunday morning we are unable to leave or be outside of the place we live unless we have a reasonable excuse. A reasonable excuse is leaving home for work purposes when your place of work remains open and you cannot work from home. You must shop local in the essential shops that remain open. These shops are pharmacists, supermarkets and food shops, click and collect food purchases and banks. You can also access critical public services. You are allowed to fulfil legal duties ie buying and selling a house and you can leave home for educational related purposes ie school and registered childcare.
We cannot meet people indoors unless we live in the same house as them or they form part of our support bubble, even then we are only allowed to meet one person from a different household.
Outdoor exercise is still permitted with certain rules and some outside spaces are open.
Medical reasons are reasonable excuses. You can travel to have a covid test and for routine appointments. You can travel for emergencies and to be with someone who is giving birth. You can also leave home to visit someone who is dying, in a care home, hospice or hospital within the rules of the establishment concerned. The government have not forgotten pets. You can still take your pet to the vet.
You can still worship, attend a funeral, visit a place of remembrance or attend a wedding, within the prescribed rules.
For those who are considered to be clinically vulnerable ie
under 70 and instructed to get a flu jab
living with a respiratory disease
living with heart, kidney, liver or neurological conditions
a weakened immune system
or a BMI over 40
the government have advised that you should be especially careful to follow the new tier 4 rules and minimise contact with others.
For those who are considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable ie
organ transplant recipients
cancer patients and those receiving chemotherapy
people living with blood cancer
people with lung cancer
people with severe respiratory conditions
those with rare diseases
adults with Down's Syndrome
people on dialysis
those who have received a letter from the NHS or your local GP confirming you are clinically extremely vulnerable
the above rules on social interaction should be closely followed. If you fall within the clinically extremely vulnerable category you should not attend work. You can apply to the Access to Work scheme to provide support and assistance to work at home. A child should also not attend school if they live in the tier 4 areas.
If you need assistance with shopping or going to the pharmacy you can call on the assistance of NHS Volunteer Responders on 0808 196 3646 to receive support.
Originally these rules were going to be relaxed for five days over the Christmas period but this is now not the case. You are only able to mix with one person from another household and if you are clinically extremely vulnerable the recommendation is to not form a Christmas bubble, just mix with those you live with. If you do decide to form a Christmas bubble then you must ensure you avoid physical contact, maintain social distance, keep rooms well ventilated and make sure that hygiene measures are increased in communal spaces.
This Christmas is going to be difficult for many families as a result of these Tier 4 changes but to sacrifice seeing those near and dear to us this year in favour of many more to come is a no brainer, surely! Just remember that you can make someone's day not just by being with them but by phone calls, videocalls, face time, Whatsapp calls. Be inventive for this year. Some of us in the office are going to put gran at her place on the table on an IPad and compare who made the best dinner!
However Tier four affects you make sure you stay safe and well.