On 18 July 2020, legislation to grant local authorities in England new powers to prevent COVID-19 transmission in a local area took effect.
These regulations include lockdown powers for local authorities to restrict access to, or close, individual premises, prohibit certain events (or types of event) from taking place and restrict access to, or close, public outdoor places (or types of outdoor public places), where necessary and proportionate to manage spread of the coronavirus in the local area.
Which areas have had local lockdowns so far?
Leicester, parts of northern England and Luton
The Government updated local lockdown guidance for Leicester, parts of northern England and Luton on July 31. These areas face stricter restrictions than the rest of England because of a higher rate of coronavirus cases. Many of Luton's restrictions are due to be eased on August 1. The Government has detailed the latest guidance about local restrictions on its website.
What has been said about the rest of the UK?
Public Health Wales said that a local lockdown was under consideration after recent outbreaks in Anglesey and Wrexham. However, First Minister Mark Drakeford said that any decision ‘would be not be taken lightly’.
In Scotland, public health teams work for the NHS, rather than councils, and the Scottish Government says it is developing a responsive system of community surveillance at a national, regional and local level to identify outbreaks quickly.
On 31 July the Scottish Government has urged that travel between Scotland and Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire “should only be undertaken if absolutely essential”.
In Northern Ireland, the government says that any potential clusters or outbreaks, such as those in Limavady, county Londonderry will be handled using "appropriate infection control" in line with its normal guidelines for handling the outbreak of any disease; though local lockdown measures have not been ruled out.
What should I do if my area is in lockdown?
Follow the advice and guidance appropriate to your local area, in England this would come from your local council, depending on the particular circumstances. In Scotland, NI and Wales Public Health Authorities (PHAs) will issue guidance as and when this becomes necessary, with specific plans yet to be announced.
Support for business
The UK government has made it clear there are no plans to extend or change the scope of its current financial support package, leaving many businesses at further disadvantage due to local restrictions.
There have been, as yet unanswered, calls to redistribute existing unallocated funds from the initial government support grants. In Leicester this stands at £10 million in unallocated grant funding, a sum that would provide considerable relief to many businesses.
Campaign for change
BACP is working with stakeholders, including ExcludedUK to call for urgent changes to the existing Government support. We are actively lobbying MPs and the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to highlight the plight of our members, many of whom are facing significant financial hardship.
Guidance and resources for members
In the context of a challenging employment market, driving growth in paid opportunities and bringing employers closer to our professions is a key priority for BACP.
Sharing your experiences
We’re sharing our members' blogs about how you’ve been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it’s had on you and your practice.