With the Government announcing new national guidelines for England from Thursday 5 November to Wednesday 2 December, we appreciate some carers and family members may be concerned about the new guidance and what it means for the services we deliver at Vivo.

Our intention is for all our services to remain open as essential public services need to be delivered wherever possible during this period. This includes our supported living services, learning disability day services, older people day services (except for Curzon House), respite services, Shared Lives respite and long-term placements, and dementia care and respite delivered at Curzon House. Community sessions in our Shared Lives service will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and support will generally be given indirectly, such as over the phone and help with shopping and medication.

We’ve been following the latest NHS and Government guidance throughout the pandemic and we’ll continue to review the care and support we deliver on a regular basis. As we have done throughout, we’ll look at each person we support and their individual needs. The safety of everyone connected with Vivo is always our priority.

We can’t thank all Vivo staff enough for how flexible they’ve been during this period to make sure everyone is supported in the best possible way. We’ve invested heavily in personal protective equipment (PPE) and issue regular guidance to staff so they’re following the correct procedures.

The key things to note from the new national guidelines from 5 November include the following.

  • Residents will be told to stay at home except for specific reasons.
  • These include work that can’t be done from home, childcare or education, exercise outdoors, medical reasons, essential shopping, providing care for vulnerable people or for volunteering, and visiting members of your support bubble.
  • Schools, colleges and universities will remain open.
  • Meeting indoors won’t be allowed, but individuals can meet one other person from another household outside in an outdoor public place. This doesn’t mean a private garden. Children under school age and those dependent on round-the-clock care who are with their parents don’t count towards the two-person limit.
  • Non-essential retail will close, but can remain open for click-and-collect delivery.
  • Pubs, bars and restaurants will have to close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery.
  • Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, such as gyms and swimming pools, will also close, along with entertainment venues, museums and personal care facilities, such as beauty salons.
  • Places of worship will close unless they are being used for funerals, to broadcast acts of worship, individual prayer, formal childcare or essential services, such as blood donation or foodbanks.
  • Construction sites and manufacturing workplaces can remain open.
  • Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies won’t be able to take place apart from in exceptional circumstances and funerals will be limited to a maximum of 30 people.
  • Children will still be able to move between homes if their parents are separated.
  • Clinically vulnerable people will be asked to be “especially careful”, but people won’t be asked to resume shielding at this stage.
  • Overnight stays, staying in a second home and holidays won’t be allowed, including in the UK and abroad, although there are exceptions, such as work trips.
  • People will be told to avoid all non-essential travel by private or public transport.

You can also read the new national guidelines in full on the Government’s website.

If you have any questions about the new guidelines and the plans we’re putting in place at Vivo, please email: communications@vivocarechoices.co.uk.

Don’t forget, the Council still has a COVID-19 helpline for you to access support. Call: 0300 123 7031. The Live Well Cheshire West website also has plenty of useful information about support you can receive across the borough.

We’ll keep you updated as more guidance emerges and we know how this will specifically affect Cheshire West and Chester.