Local restrictions in Sandwell
Please note - this webpage will be updated as more information becomes available
The Government has announced that new restrictions are now in place to stop the spread of Covid-19 in Sandwell.
From Tuesday 15 September 2020:
- You must not allow people you don't live with in your home or garden.
- You must not visit people you do not live with in their home or garden - inside or outside Sandwell.
- Only essential visits, such as from carers or those providing childcare, are allowed. Read full restrictions below.
- The new restrictions will be law and you could be fined for breaking them.
- The new restrictions will not affect schools, transport or workplaces.
No one wants to see another spike in deaths from Covid-19. Protect yourself, your loved ones and your community.
We are already seeing a significant rise in Covid-19 patients needing critical care in our region.
Don’t take unnecessary risks because you think you’re safe.
Please keep a safe distance from others, wash your hands regularly and wear a face covering in shops, on public transport and in other enclosed spaces.
Frequently asked questions
What are the new restrictions on households in Sandwell?
From Tuesday 15 September 2020, Sandwell residents will not be able to mix with people they don’t live with, in their homes or gardens.
Your household is defined as the people you live with and any support bubble.
Households that have formed a support bubble with another single adult household behave as if everyone lives in the same house.
These new Government restrictions are coming into effect for Sandwell, Birmingham and Solihull to reduce the coronavirus rates of infection which is rising fast.
What is a support bubble?
A support bubble is a close support network between a household with only one adult in the home (known as a single-adult household) and one other household of any size.
Once you’re in a support bubble, you can think of yourself as being in a single household with people from the other household. It means you can have close contact with that household as if they were members of your own household.
Once you make a support bubble, you should not change who is in your bubble.
Can I still go to a hospitality venue like a pub or a restaurant and meet up with family or friends that don’t live with me?
Pubs and restaurants have to have Covid-safety risk assessments in place and must be managing the space to keep you safe. From Monday 14 September, the rule of six applies for meeting up OUTSIDE private homes and gardens in Sandwell, this is the same as the rest of the country.
Why can I go to the workplace, school, or hospitality venues, but I can’t visit other households?
We understand that it can be frustrating to be able to go to these certain places but not visit your family and friends within their household.
However, the reason that these restrictions have come in place is that the data shows that the infection rate has risen mainly due to social interactions, particularly in private household gatherings.
In places such as shops, cafes and restaurants, there are strict measures in place to ensure safety, whereas it is much easier to cause a spread in someone’s house where people are less vigilant.
Can I still meet other households in outdoor public spaces e.g. local parks?
Yes, these rules only apply to households, including indoors and gardens. However, you must still be in line with the maximum numbers stated in the national guidelines.
Can I go to meet a friend or relative in their home in an area not subject to these restrictions such as Dudley or Wolverhampton?
No – and they cannot come to your home either.
Can I still travel to work or school?
People living inside and outside of these areas can continue to travel for work or school. Workplaces and schools themselves should also be implementing secure measures.
How are community activities like support groups, clubs and classes affected?
Activities organised by community and voluntary organisations, including physical activity, education, providing support to vulnerable people, youth groups, charitable and voluntary work, are allowed to exceed the limit of 6 people based on their individual Covid risk assessment. However, particular care must be taken to stringently follow guidance on social distancing, handwashing and the taking of attendees’ details for purposes of contact tracing.
Can I have someone in my house (or go into someone’s house) to do repairs or other work?
You can go to other people’s homes for work purposes as long as you follow national guidance on how to work safely there. This includes limiting contact with customers, explaining your safety measures to them, making sure your staff are properly trained and understand what they need to do and avoiding crowded areas. Check before you go if anyone in your customers’ house has symptoms.
Can I go to a wedding or a funeral?
Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, and funerals (including ceremonies at crematoriums) can still go ahead if they comply with the guidance and venue capacity, these are limited to a maximum number in national guidelines.
People living in Sandwell can travel to attend a wedding, civil partnership ceremony, or funeral, but they must not meet with another household in a private home or garden.
Can I go to a place of worship?
You may attend a Mosque, Church, Synagogue, Temple, and other place of worship, but you should socially distance from people outside of your household. Please also follow guidance that these establishments have set out.
Can businesses that visit other households continue?
Businesses can continue as normal as per national current guidance if they are Covid safe.
Does this affect education?
All schools, colleges and other educational establishments should remain open and continue to allow all their students to attend.
Can I still move to university outside Sandwell, even though I will be living with other people? What if my university says I can’t move to their student accommodation because I currently live in Sandwell?
If you moving away from home to start university then your new accommodation will be your new place of residence, and you will therefore be subject to any restrictions in that area (and of course national ones) rather than your current home. If your university suggests you can’t move into accommodation you must go back to them and remind them that you will no longer be a Sandwell resident, and that they can check with government regulations if in doubt.
Do pupils now need to wear face coverings in schools?
The only difference in education settings as a result of the updated rules is that where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.
Does this affect childcare?
All nurseries, childminders and breakfast/after-school clubs should remain open and continue to allow all their children and young people to attend.
What about if a relative provides childcare for me?
Please read the latest announcement from the Government on childcare.
From Tuesday 22 September 'care bubbles' will be able to form in areas of intervention, such as Sandwell, to allow families to share caring responsibilities with another household.
We await the full guidance on this from the Government, but essentially people who don’t live in the same household must not visit each other’s homes unless they are specifically looking after children under the age of 14 or because of other essential reasons outlined in law by the Government. This does not extend to playdates or parties.
Infection rates remain high in Sandwell and household transmission is one of the key ways the virus is being passed onto others. So please follow the rules and all the advice to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Is this a local lockdown?
No, these restrictions only apply to the mixing of households in private households and gardens.
Is shielding being reintroduced?
No. These new restrictions only apply to the mixing of households in private households and gardens.
What do I do if I see people breaking the rules?
If you encounter individuals breaching the restrictions, you can fill out a reporting breach of restrictions form with West Midlands Police.
If you are concerned that a business or venue is not following the Government's regulations, you can raise a concern with the Public Health team.
What is the council doing to improve Covid-19 safety in restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes where there has been cases of transmission?
We have an ongoing programme of visits to business premises across Sandwell, to check on Covid-19 secure arrangements and to provide advice.
This includes a mixture of reactive visits, drawing on public feedback and data from Public Health England and proactive visits, focusing on high-risk premises (hospitality venues, hairdressers, salons, etc).
If you have concerns about a business, you can raise it with our team.
How long can we expect these restrictions to go on for?
These restrictions will go on for as long as is needed to bring down the coronavirus rates of infection. They will be reviewed regularly with Government.
The Government website has its own page dedicated to the restrictions in Sandwell, Birmingham and Solihull.
This webpage will be updated with more information as we get it. Please check back later for more information.