Message from Jacquie Pepper, Chief Social Work Officer FAO social work and social care staff

Colleagues,

I am mindful of the reliable workforce we have in Perth and Kinross, you have stepped up to the plate to provide essential services for our most vulnerable people from the point of lockdown, learning to work in new ways and managing increasingly complex circumstances and entrenched difficulties.  Your work in response to the unremitting demands of the pandemic is greatly respected and appreciated.

You will have seen coverage of the changes announced yesterday to restrictions for social gatherings in relation to the pandemic. These are set out at: https://www.gov.scot/news/new-measures-to-drive-down-infection-rate/

These restrictions do not relate to the delivery of social work and social care services. All staff should continue to operate using the current guidance for risk assessment and use of personal protection equipment and continue to provide the most appropriate response including face to face contact and home visiting.

In children’s services, this will include the provision of essential foster care and respite care services for children, contingent on appropriate risk assessment.  We can continue to facilitate face to face supervised contact between children and their parents as part of the child’s plan in our premises; and where a child in residential or foster care has a plan which included visits to their family home that this can continue.

Previous guidance can be viewed here.

However, there is a need for heightened vigilance, given the accelerating rate of transmission of the virus across the country, and necessary public health measures should be followed.

The following advice to the general public may also be helpful for your role in supporting service users to live safely in accordance with the new changes.

HOUSEHOLD MEETING RULES

What are the new meeting rules for socialising indoors?

You cannot meet people from any other households indoors in your home or another person’s home socially, unless they are in your extended household. These rules also apply to children, however children whose parents do not live in the same household can move between homes. Exemptions apply for childcare.

What are the exemptions to the rule?

The rules apply to people meeting socially. The current approach to exemptions for people receiving care and support, or informal childcare and shared parenting and tradespersons will continue. Children whose parents do not live in the same household can move between homes.

Can I meet people socially in other settings indoors?

You can meet people from one other household at a time, up to a maximum of 6 people, in public indoor spaces such as cafes, pubs and restaurants.

Children under 12 from the two households meeting do not count towards the maximum of 6 people.

What about vulnerable people, can I visit their home?

You can go into someone’s house to provide essential care or support, but you should be careful to follow good hygiene measures.

What are the new household meeting rules for outdoors?

A maximum of 6 people from 2 households will still be permitted to meet together outdoors – including outside areas of, pubs and restaurants – and outdoors including in private gardens. There will be some limited exemptions.

Children under 12 won’t count towards the 2 household limit or the limit of 6 people.

Children aged 12-17 can meet in a group of up to 6 people who are all aged under 18 outdoors. Physical distancing is still required. This position will be monitored carefully and reviewed based evidence of transmission and incidence of the virus in this age group.

Can I enter someone’s house in order to reach their garden / use their toilet?

If you are meeting another household in their garden, you should only go into their house to:

  • access the garden – do so quickly and without touching anything
  • use the toilet – avoid touching surfaces with your hands as much as possible, wipe any surfaces that you do touch with antibacterial wipes, wash your hands thoroughly,  dry your hands with a freshly laundered towel or a paper towel  which you should dispose of in a closed bin.

What are the new household meeting rules for children and young people?

Children under 12  from the two households meeting outdoors do not count in the maximum number of households or people that can meet outdoors. They do not need to maintain physical distancing. This means that an adult from another household looking after young children does not need to physically distance from the child. However, care should be taken to follow hygiene measures and keep proximity to a minimum where possible.

Young people aged 12 to 17 year olds can meet in a group of up to 6 people, who can be from 6 different households, who are all aged under 18 outdoors. Physical distancing is still required. This position will be monitored carefully and reviewed based evidence of transmission and incidence of the virus in this age group.

What is the scientific evidence to agree the under 12 exemption?

At present, on the balance of known risks, children under 12 are not required to physically distance due to the greatly reduced chance of them contracting the virus, and according to the Advisory sub-group for Education and Children, transmission risk in this age group is understood to be limited.

Can children under 12 years of age play outside with their friends or do they have to follow the 2 household, 6 people rule?

Children under 12 do not count towards the maximum number of households or people who can meet outdoors and do not have to physically distance.

What about large families?

A household with more than 6 people (not including children under 12) can continue to gather socially.

How do these changes affect extended households?

There is no change to your ability to form an extended household. An extended household can be formed when there is only one adult in one of the households or (for non-cohabiting couples, plus any children living with the adult). People in an extended household are treated as being in the same household. They can visit each other, stay overnight and do not need to physically distance. But you can only be part of one extended household.

Does this effect the number of households I can meet in a day?

You should limit as far as possible the total number of households you meet in a day.

Do these changes apply in hospitality settings?

There continues to be a maximum of 6 people from 2 households in hospitality settings, both indoors and outdoors.

CHILDREN/ FAMILIES

Will this have any impact on Childcare, including ELC and school wraparound care?

No. The restriction does not apply where there is sector specific guidance in force.

 

Can parents still use grandparents / friends as childcare and does this count towards their limit?

Informal childcare can continue within the new household limits. We are encouraging people to limit the number of daily interactions that they have with other households.

Could your child go for a playdate in the morning to someone’s house, then a sibling (or the whole family) have another household or child over in the evening?

You cannot meet people from any other households indoors in your home or another person’s home socially, unless they are in your extended household. These rules also apply to children.

A maximum of 6 people from 2 households will still be permitted to meet together outdoors at any one time. Any children under 12 who are part of two households meeting up won’t count towards the limit of 6 people.

Young people aged 12 to 17 year olds can meet in a group of up to 6 people who are all aged under 18 outdoors. Physical distancing is still required.

You should also limit as far as possible the total number of households you meet in a day.

If children under 12 are exempt from making up the number of people to 6, can the children be from more than one household or not ie if children have siblings only one child in the family can have a friend over, meet a friend in a park etc?

You cannot meet people from any other households indoors in your home or another person’s home socially, unless they are in your extended household. These rules also apply to children.

A maximum of 6 people from 2 households will still be permitted to meet together outdoors at any one time. Any children under 12 who are part of two households meeting up won’t count towards the limit of 6 people.

You should also limit as far as possible the total number of households you meet in a day.

INDOOR/ OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

Many organised indoor and outdoor activities (adult and child) are / have restarted – what will the impact be for these? e.g. October school holiday clubs, sports clubs, other clubs, toddler groups

These changes will not impact on organised activity. Relevant guidance should be followed.

Can I still participate in sport?

You can participate in organised sport, where there are the necessary risk assessments and sport specific guidance in place.  People meeting friends for informal sport would need to abide by the rules on meeting other households.

People meeting friends for recreational sport would need to abide by the rules on meeting other households.  If it is an organised event then greater numbers might be permitted depending on the specific guidance.

Is car sharing permitted?

You should only share a vehicle with those from your household or extended household. However, if  you have no other option, including if the journey is necessary to deliver deliver care or support, you should follow the safe travel guidance at the Transport Scotland website which provides advice on how to share vehicles safely.

On such occasions, you should:

  • share the transport whether it is a car or minibus or other private vehicle with the same people each time
  • keep to small groups of people at any one time
  • maintain good ventilation by keeping the car windows open if possible
  • ask everyone, unless they are exempt, to wear a face-covering
  • clean your hands before and after your journey
  • and if the vehicle is your responsibility clean the door handles and other areas that people touch

KEY PRINCIPLES

 

Remember the FACTS:

F – face coverings – wear these in enclosed spaces.

A – avoid crowded places, for example bars which look a bit too busy.

C – clean your hands and any hard surfaces.

T – 2 m distancing. Keeping your distance from friends and family can be really difficult. But it’s an important and effective way of reducing transmission.

S – self isolate. If you have symptoms, self-isolate and book a test. If you are named as a contact of someone with Covid, self isolate for 14 days and get a test if you develop symptoms.