Dear Ealing Resident,
On Sunday, 20 December London, including Ealing moved into a new Tier 4 of COVID-19 restrictions. The new strain of the virus is thought to be spreading much faster than it has before and there is significant concern that the NHS could be overwhelmed without urgent action.
We are all being asked to act as if we all have the virus. This means staying at home as much as possible and when we do go out to strictly observe social distancing rules. If you do not have symptions, you may only go out for work, exercise, education, essential shopping or for a medical appointment; or to visit your existing support or childcare bubble.
The planned Christmas easing has been cancelled in all Tier 4 areas. This means you cannot go to anyone else’s house or garden (including over the Christmas period) or invite people into your home unless they are part of your support or childcare bubble.
Tier 4 rules:
- Stay at home as much as possible - meet with one other person in public outdoor areas, such as parks
- Non-essential retail, gyms, leisure, libraries and personal care services must close.
- You must not leave Tier 4 areas and should only travel for essential reasons.
- You must not stay overnight away from home.
- Work from home if possible.
- Support and childcare bubbles remain in place.
After an already difficult year, we know that this news will be a bitter blow for many people who can no longer see their family or friends in person. If you need or are concerned about someone’s mental health you can visit the West London Mental Health Trust for advice and support, or ring on 0800 328 4444.
Sadly, given the rapid spread of the virus across London in all communities and age groups we have no choice but to follow these new rules to protect health services and prevent more serious illness and deaths.
Advice for clinically extremely vulnerable
Advice for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) or were previously shielding, came into effect on Sunday, 20 December, in line with the new Tier 4. The advice is the same as applied during the November National Restrictions and can be found in the “Shielding” section of the CEV government guidance.
People are advised not to visit shops including pharmacies during this period and should not attend work if they cannot work from home.
This shielding advice will be reviewed every two weeks. The National Shielding Service website has been activated, so CEV individuals can use it to request support.
You can also access support through Ealing Together. This includes support if you are worried about how you will source food and essentials. Help with securing an online delivery shop or putting you in touch with local volunteers who can collect shopping you have paid for on your behalf. There is also support if you are in financial crisis and cannot pay for food.
COVID testing sites will continue to be open on all days including bank holidays. It is essential to get a test if you believe you may have COVID and to self-isolate immediately.
If you have a different health concern you should seek help from your GP.
Thank you for everything you have been doing to keep Ealing safe. We all have a responsibility to slow the spread of the virus. Vaccines have started to be rolled out with those over 80 and front line workers being prioritised, but it will be a few months before the most vulnerable have received it, and longer for others. Those on the government priority list will be contacted directly by their GP when an appointment becomes available – please do not contact your GP requesting a vaccine appointment or go direct to vaccine sites.
We will get through this faster if we continue to follow the rules and remember:
- Hands – wash your hands regularly
- Face – wear a face mask
- Space – maintain a two-metre distance when out and about.
Please share this message with your contacts to ensure we keep Ealing safe and beat this virus in 2021.
We wish you a safe Christmas and a happy New Year.
Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council and Anna Bryden, director of Ealing public health