Coronavirus News in Brief – 1st June 2020

Over the last few weeks’ we’ve noticed lots of people have stopped making sure they keep 2m away from everyone else.  So, although shops will be doing their best to be safe for all shoppers and staff, when out and about you should use whatever protection makes you feel safe e.g. glasses, masks, or gloves, etc. 

But, if you do this, please make sure you put them on, and take them off, as safely as possible.  You can find guidance on this here.

Does having had the virus result in immunity and how long does it last?

No-one knows yet if having had the virus means you are immune from catching it again.  COVID-19 is a new disease and the science around immunity to the virus is still not clear.

There is currently no firm evidence that the presence of antibodies means someone cannot be re-infected with the virus or will not pass it on to someone else.

This means that if you test positive, or think you have had the virus, you must still follow social distancing measures.

New places to go that have re-opened

Can’t wait to get to a garden centre or have a cuppa at one of Bristol’s parks?  Well, now you can!

  • Riverside Garden Centre is open again (except for Tuesdays and Wednesdays).  Allow plenty of time, and get there early if you can, because it is extremely popular at the moment. 
  • Blaise Plant Nursery shop re-opens from 8:00am to 4:00pm, between 4-7 June and then 10:00am-4:00pm every day until 31 July.
  • Café at Blaise Castle Estate will open from Monday 1 June.
  • Cafes and golf facilities at Ashton Court will open from Monday 1 June.

Cabot Circus will be re-opening on 15 June

A range of measures to keep everyone safe have been introduced, to make re-opening possible.

St. Nicholas Outdoor Market and Broadmead

Floor markings and social distancing markers and advice will be introduced in St Nick’s outdoor market and in Broadmead next week, to support visitors to shop safely.

Council Housing Repairs

Bristol City Council (BCC) are aiming to start work on the large number of non-urgent repairs for Council tenants that has built up during the pandemic – a backlog of about 3,000 repairs. 

BCC will be contacting residents in advance and all tenants with a repair will be contacted directly to book an appointment.  They will not be taking any new non-urgent repair requests until July but they are still taking and completing emergency repairs.

Volunteers Week

This week is Vounteers week and BCC will be celebrating the way that Bristol’s communities have pulled together to support neighbours and fellow citizens, as part of Volunteers’ Week.

They will be thanking Bristol’s new wave of community action through radio and social media channels.

New Test and Trace Service

The Government has launched its NHS Test and Trace service.

From now on, anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions. 

People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, to stop unknowingly spreading the virus.

If those in isolation develop symptoms, they can book a test at or by calling 119.  If they test positive, they must stay at home for 7 days or until their symptoms have passed.  If they test negative, they must finish completing their 14-day isolation period [link].

New Rules on Socialising Start

Groups of up to six people will be able to meet outdoors in England from Monday 1 June [link].  Please note that this means six people in total, not all those you share your home with plus 6 people.

The Prime Minister emphasised that it is critical that those from different households continue to stay 2 metres apart.  He also said people should still not spend time inside the homes of their friends and families, other than to access the garden or use the toilet. 

The Government added that people should try to avoid seeing people from too many households in in a short period of time [link].

Further information 

  1. Updated guidance on Covid-19 testing, including who is eligible for a test and how to get tested [link]
  • Latest news on which businesses can, and can’t, be open [link].

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News Update from Bristol City Council 29th May 2020

Distancing measures to support walking and cycling in the city

Bristol City Council is making changes to some streets, to help people follow social distancing across the city, so that it is safer for people to travel on foot or by bike.  

The aim of the changes is to protect people from infection, keep them moving and create space outside shops for safe queuing before non-essential shops re-open on 15 June.

The changes include: 
•    Gaol Ferry Bridge – now a one way system (marked by painted arrows, and extra warning signs).
•    Bedminster Parade (eastern side) – the parking bays on the eastern side have gone and there are yellow lines. 
•    Clifton Village – the parking bays on both sides of Princess Victoria Street from Regent Street to The Mall, and on the east side of the Mall between Princess Victoria Street and Caledonia Place will disappear, from Tuesday 2 June.
•    St Mark’s Road, Easton – most of the parking bays on the part of St Mark’s Road between Berwick Road and Henrietta Street will disappear, from Tuesday 2 June.

The Council are speeding up their plans for pedestrianising the Old City, which will help improve the air quality in Bristol and create more space for cultural events and activities.

The Council are also looking at sustainable transport options and assessing other areas of the city that could be improved by having wider pavements.

Whilst the focus on walking space for pedestrians makes a nice change, Bristol Disability Equality Forum is concerned that these changes don’t mention creating any Blue Badge parking for Disabled people, to make up for the number of parking bays that have been taken away.

We have written to the Council about this but not had a reply yet – and the changes have gone ahead, despite what we have said.

 So, if you think Disabled people who can’t walk far should still be able to shop, contact your local councillor, asking them to get the Council to:

a.      replace just a few of the parking spaces they have taken away with Blue Badge parking, OR

b.      put in clear signage exempting Blue Badge holders from the new parking restrictions, OR

c.      your own idea on how to make these streets accessible to those who need to park close to where they need to shop.

You could also ask them what they are going to do to stop cyclists using these pavements, so that we can all keep the right distance from other people when we are out shopping.

The councillors’ contact details are:

Gaol Ferry Bridge and Bedminster ParadeCouncillor Mark Bradshaw and Councillor Celia Phipps

Clifton VillageCouncillor Paula O Rourke and Councillor Jerome Thomas

St. Mark’s RoadCouncillor Ruth Pickersgill and Councillor Afzal Shah

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New Accessibility for Google and Apple Users

Both Apple and Google have started promoting some new tools to make their phones, and Google Maps, more accessible to Disabled people.

Title: Google sign - Description: Photo of the space outside of one of Google's buildings, with a large sign letting people know that Google is based there.

Google: For neuro-diverse people and those with learning difficulties
Image by: Thinkstock

Google is introducing new features to make it easier for neuro-diverse people and those with learning difficulties to use a smart phone.  

This new app for Android phones, tablets and laptops, called “Action Blocks”, is designed to make common smartphone tasks — like calling mum or turning the lights off — quicker and easier.  It was announced on World Accessibility Awareness Day, but they didn’t say when you will be able to buy it.

Every day, people use their phones for regular tasks—whether it’s video calling family, checking the weather or reading the news. Usually, these activities involve several steps e.g. you might have to scroll to find your video chat app, tap to open it and then type in the name of the contact you’re looking for.

With the new app, you can create a one-touch button, on your home screen, to complete actions that usually need you to go through several steps.  So, you can get your phone set up to let you do things like making calls, sending texts, playing videos and controlling devices in your home, with just one click

Why not give it a try, when is it available to buy, and let us know what you think.

Apple: For Everyone who uses one of their Accessibility Apps

Title: Apple sign 

 Description: A photo of an Apple shop front, above the door, where they always have the apple logo of an apple with a small part missing on the right-hand side..
(Image by: Laurenz Heymann/Unsplash)

Apple said that it is introducing a dedicated support team to address accessibility questions as well as a new support site and how-to videos focused on using accessibility features.

The company is also now offering one-on-one virtual coaching sessions for Disabled students and their teachers who are engaged in remote learning.

The developments, which build on existing accessibility features within Apple products, come as social opportunities and education have largely moved online due to coronavirus concerns, the company said.

Apple said it is also promoting a collection of apps designed to address communication, fitness, gaming and other interests for Disabled people in its App Store. 

The specialised customer support for Disabled people can be accessed through Apple Care by phone, online and through chat.




Google: For All Disabled People

Separately, Google also said that Google Maps will have an option called “Accessible Places.”  When they click on this option, users see a wheelchair icon clearly showing if the place they are looking up has an accessible entrance.

As well as details about entrances, Google Maps will also have information about whether a place has accessible seating, toilets or parking.  Google Maps will also let you know if it has confirmed that a business or other venue doesn’t have an accessible entrance.

“With the introduction of this feature, it’s easier to find and provide wheelchair accessibility information to Google Maps.  That benefits everyone, from those of us using wheelchairs and parents pushing strollers to older adults with tired legs and people who have heavy items with them,”

wrote Sasha Blair-Goldensohn, a software engineer with Google Maps, in an article about the new development.  

“And in this time of COVID-19, it’s especially important to know before you go so that you won’t be stranded outside that pharmacy, grocery or restaurant.”

Google said that, so far, it has accessibility information for more than 15 million places around the world, a figure that has doubled since 2017.

Google has also said it is improving Live Transcribe, an app that provides real-time transcription for conversations, and Sound Amplifier, which makes the sounds around you clearer.

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Coronavirus Update 27th May 2020

Latest Coronavirus Update for Bristol (27th May 2020)



All Bristol licensed vehicles have been asked to follow these guidelines: 

  1. Only work if you are not putting anyone at risk.
  2. Ask new customers if they have any symptoms of Covid-19 before you agree to carry them.
  3. Wipe down all surfaces likely to be touched, with disinfectant or alcohol hand gel before starting your shift and after each and every journey.
  4. Clean the vehicle thoroughly between shifts.
  5. Carry a suitable alcohol based hand gel and/or wipes.
  6. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  7. Provide a suitable alcohol based hand gel for customer use prior to entry into the vehicle.
  8. Avoid touching your face, and if you have to cough or sneeze use a tissue.
  9. Provide plastic bags for customers.
  10. If carrying more than one customer, ensure they are from the same household.   
  11. If passengers are not from the same household you must only carry one passenger and refuse to carry the remaining passengers.
  12. Increase ventilation by keeping windows open where possible.
  13. Always wash your hands or use sanitizing gel.
  14. Wear a face covering as a safety measure.
  15. If your vehicle breaks down, you and your customers should get out of the vehicles if safe to do so and stay two metres apart pending recovery or another car arriving to complete the journey.
  16. Consider getting contactless/card payment facilities.
  17. Ask customers to sit facing away from you if possible, and avoid physical contact with a customer.
  18. Where it is not possible for customers to sit away, request they sit in the rear passenger seat behind the front passenger seat.
  19. Passengers with accessibility requirements: drivers are still under the same legal obligation to provide reasonable assistance to passengers who may require it.

“It is crucial that we do all we can to protect both taxi drivers and their passengers in this crisis, and so I welcome these guidelines which are designed to do that in Bristol.  Taxis are also the only public transport available to many Disabled and older people and I am really pleased that, in Bristol, we are doing what we can to make them as safe as possible.”

Councillor Ruth Pickersgill, chairperson of Bristol City Council’s Public Safety and Protection Committee

Recycling centres

Recycling centres are now open 8.45am – 6.45pm.

Coronavirus rules for using the recycling centres:

  • Only one person out of car or small van (no transit vans or trailers) at a time unless two are necessary.
  • Licence plates with last number 0,2,4,6,8 can visit on Thursday 28 May and 30 May.
  • Licence plates with last number 1,3,5,7,9 can visit on Friday 29 May and 31 May.
  • Take photo ID and proof of residency in Bristol (utility/council tax bill).


  1. All non-essential sellers – from department stores to small independent shops – can reopen in England from 15 June, if they put in place social distancing measures.
  • Outdoor markets and car showrooms can reopen from 1 June, if they are “Covid secure”.

But the government has said these dates could change if the number of people catching coronavirus increases.

Garden centres have already reopened in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  DIY chains – some of which stayed open throughout the lockdown – have also reopened many of their shops.

What about hairdressers, pubs and cafes?

Pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, hotels, cinemas and places of worship will open from 4 July at the earliest, as long as they can meet social distancing measures.

However, indoor public spaces such as beauty salons, where social distancing may be difficult, could reopen ”significantly later”, depending on when the rate of infection goes down.

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Support Hub for Older People

The Support Hub from Bristol Ageing Better has been set up to help older people and their families cope with the impact of the coronavirus, Covid-19 in Bristol. We provide a range of practical, emotional and social support. Our new members include Carers Support Centre, Nilaari, The Exercise Club, Bristol Black Carers, Pocklington Trust, Re-engage, and Bristol Bears Rugby.

We are a growing partnership of voluntary organisations that already work to support older people in Bristol. We’re offering practical support with errands, as well as specialist information and advice on benefits & allowances, housing and social care, phone befriending, social activities by phone, online or post, as well as referrals for professional counselling for those who need a higher level of emotional support including bereavement counselling.

We are keen to support as many people as we can but we are aware that there are many support and signposting services available which older people can access and are keen to ensure we complement what others are doing without duplicating. Our offer is a ‘one-stop’ hub with support from staff who are DBS checked and who have specialist skills and experience in meeting the needs of older people.

If you would like to refer someone for any of these services, please come directly through the Support Hub helpline:

0117 929 7537
For more information about the Support Hub, please visit:

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Support the Deaf Community – Sign this letter in support.

During the Coronavirus outbreak, we have seen an increase in people wearing masks to protect themselves from particles in the air. However, this isn’t accessible for the deaf community, who need to be able to see people’s mouth when they are communicating, so they can lipread.

Read the letter here (BSL version. available in download) –

To get your name added to the letter, email giving them permission to do so. 

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Motability’s top tips for keeping entertained in Lockdown

The Motability Scheme helps you get mobile by exchanging your higher rate mobility allowance to lease a new affordable car, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, scooter or powered wheelchair. While at present they are unable to offer their services. They are sharing their top tips with customers on how to keep fit and entertained during Lockdown.

8 Accessible Virtual Tours

Helen Dolphin’s Guide to indoor gardening

Keeping Fit during Isolation (chair/seated edition)

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Survey: Impact of COVID–19 on Health and Social Care Services at home, in Bristol

Healthwatch Bristol, an independent champion for people using health and social care.  We are conducting a survey amongclients/patients receiving care at home in Bristol, and their carers or family members. 

We need to find out how COVID-19 has been affecting their care, especially what is working well and what is not. Their responses will be used to help service providers to tackle issues that matter most.

Please could you help us disseminate this survey as widely as possible to patients, carers and family members.  If you are in the target group yourself, we would really appreciate hearing about your experience by filling in the survey.

Here is the link  or scan the QR code

The deadline for this survey is 1st June 2020

The online survey is easy to fill in on your phone, tablet or laptop.

If you need a paper version/s or more information, please contact:

Acomo Oloya   07857 055804  

Julie Bird          07944 369180  

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Call out for Psychiatric Hospital patients

From Simone Aspis who is a Director for Changing Perspectives

We are looking for anyone who is stuck in a psychiatric hospital who feels the hospital rules after Corovid-19 outbreak are not fair and would like to challenge them.   We have lawyers who wants to support disabled people to challenge hospital’s blanket policies.  We are keen to talk to inpatients.    

As a member of People First as you might expect, I have provided an easy read document explaining who I am and why we want to hear from people with mental health conditions, autism and learning difficulties.     People can have one or more conditions. 

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Human Rights – How can we unlock them?

Training session

BIHR have teamed up with Learning Disability England to provide a free online session for people with learning disabilities, autistic people & family to learn how human rights can help

you build & keep an independent life.

Date: Friday 22nd May, (Zoom meeting)

Time: 10 – 11 am

Find out more here.

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