Latest changes as of 24th March 2020

The number of UK cases of the virus can be viewed on this dashboard.

The Government have announced further measures to stop the disease spreading between households [link]. People will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:

  • shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
  • one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home

The police will have the powers to enforce these measures, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

To ensure compliance with the Government’s instruction to stay at home, the Government has:

  • closed all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship
  • stopped all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with
  • stopped all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals

Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed. The full list of businesses and premises expected to close is available here [link].

The Government has said it will look again at these measures in 3 weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.  Updated guidance on staying at home and away from others has been published alongside this announcement [link].

The Foreign Secretary has also advised all British tourists and short-stay travellers currently abroad to return to the UK where commercial flight options are still available [link].

For businesses, the Government has announced additional measures in the emergency Coronavirus Bill to protect commercial tenants from eviction who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus. The measures will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next 3 months. As commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent after this period, the Government is monitoring the impact on commercial landlords’ cash flow and continues to be in dialogue with them.  [link].

The legislation also includes new measures to support Business Improvement  Districts (BID)  – to ensure no area loses its BID during this period, the legislation will allow a delay to ballots between now and 31 December 2020 until March 2021.

Further guidance has also been issued on:

  • Guidance for local authorities on eligibility and delivery of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) [link]
  • Guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations in response to the impact of COVID-19 [link]
  • Operational guidance for further education (FE) providers on maintaining education and skills training provision [link]
  • As of today, reviews and reassessments for disability benefits are being suspended for the next three months

 Bristol Cases

  • As of 12.00pm on 24/03/20 there have been 28 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Bristol.
  • Please note, the Government has decided not to test people with mild symptoms who do not require hospitalisation
  • The figures do not reflect the extent of spread within the community, which is now assumed to be widespread.  It is this widespread community transmission which makes the current social distancing measures so vitally important, and why the message for people to self-isolate needs to be continued to be conveyed by Members and Stakeholders
  • Local authority numbers of confirmed cases are reported on this dashboard and updated each afternoon

 Bristol City Council

  • We are advising staff to observe the latest government advice about working from home where they can, although we need to continue delivering essential front line services to our communities.
  • To help manage maintain these services, HR colleagues are working with managers of services that are currently closed to identify colleagues that can be reassigned to work in other parts of the organisation.

Public Communication Updates

  • Mayor Marvin Rees, Jacqui Jensen (Executive Director of People, Bristol City Council) and Sandra (CEO, Voscur) showed a short video last from 6:30pm on the key messages surrounding Can Do Bristol and offering help as a volunteer in an organised way. Jacqui and Sandra then followed up from the video with a live Q+A session on the BCC Facebook page, answering questions from the public. There were almost 100 comments on the video with plenty of questions from keen volunteers looking to get stuck into helping out in their local communities as quickly as possible: https://www.facebook.com/BristolCouncil/videos/583573612243951/
  • Mayor Marvin Rees released another bulletin video, announcing: a call out for 450 places for homeless and rough sleepers, that all parks facilities are now shut, and that NHS staff will be able to use Trenchard Street car park for free: https://www.facebook.com/BristolCouncil/videos/210671416703326/
  • A further statement from the Mayor was released to clarify the closure of parks facilities – we are not able to close parklands: https://www.facebook.com/BristolCouncil/photos/a.533536933346377/3145840972115947/?type=3&theater
  • A press release was issued to reinforce the call out for homeless spaces from Airbnb’s, shelters, hotels, and student accommodation providers. People were encouraged to email covid19.accommodation@bristol.gov.uk if they could help: https://news.bristol.gov.uk/news/bristol-city-council-calls-on
  • Mayor Marvin Rees shared his blog platform with Cllr Steve Pearce to share thanks and gratitude to all of the Bristol Waste staff who do their utmost to keep our city clean and tiday: https://thebristolmayor.com/2020/03/23/big-tidy/
  • Bristol 24/7 have continued their live updates on the Coronavirus situation in Bristol, supporting BCC and Mayoral messages: https://www.bristol247.com/news-and-features/news/coronavirus-live-updates-march-24-2020-uk-goes-into-lockdown
  • Allotments: we know allotments are a good way for many people to exercise, so Bristol City Council are continuing to keep them open for now, although some facilities an site (e.g. toilets) will now be closed.
  • Bristol food businesses still operating: Environmental Health have been in regular contact with businesses and a letter is being sent from our Director of Public Health to give clear advice for businesses that are looking to make provision for takeaways and deliveries.

Bristol Volunteering  

  • The following short-link should be used to direct citizens to helping others and volunteering information: www.bristol.gov.uk/wearebristol
  • Videos about volunteering safely are now available in Arabic, Bengali, Kurdish, Polish, Punjabi, Somali and Urdu at the link above. Please do share them.
  • Questions and answers from Sandra and Jacqui’s Q&A on Facebook last night can be viewed here in comments below the video which is pinned to the top of our page: www.facebook.com/bristolcouncil
  • We are updating ourguidance for volunteering page in light of new guidance from government
  • We are supporting the Communities and Neighbourhoods team to improve functionality of the Can Do Bristol website to make it more accessible and easy to use

Bristol Education Sector

  • Last night’s additional information and advice, in relation to social-distancing, will inevitably create increased pressure for head teachers 
  • The current ask of schools and settings to provide childcare for keyworkers and vulnerable children has not changed and, where possible, continue with the same arrangements as yesterday
  • We do not know if we will receive any further information today, specifically for schools and settings
  • We contacted many head teachers yesterday to discuss individual positions and we will continue with those calls today; their feedback was extremely useful and there were a number of common questions and concerns. We are working on circulating a bulletin to all schools by the end of the day today.
  • The communications team are also working with a number of service leads to co-ordinate key messages to parents.

Bristol Social Care Sector

  • The majority of frontline Social Work/Occupational Therapy teams are now working from home and only undertaking essential visits.  We are prioritising resources to respond to urgent need – and supporting the demand in hospitals and ‘front door’ provision.  We are no longer undertaking any non-urgent Deprivation of Liberty Assessments (DOLS) as most care homes are closed.
  • There is a dedicated response set up for Direct Payment users, to ensure they have enough support and can access Protective Personal Equipment (packs are being made available). We have also raised this nationally for advice.
  • Care services are now operating with increasing staff absence due to self-isolation or sickness (25% or more) – we are deploying care staff across all services to keep services running.  We have requested urgent redeployment of staff and are working with HR on recruitment drive through Proud to Care.
  • The Commissioning team is working closely with all care providers to ensure they are operating safely, managing and sharing resources and supporting individual homes where there are several residents with Covid-19 (currently 2).
  • We are working closely with health partners to implement the national requirements for hospital discharge.
  • Additional Government funding is available for Local Authorities for emergency response – a proposal has been prepared for internal BCC sign-off.

Bristol Children’s Services Sector

  • The Children’s Services team are reviewing all risk assessments and adjusting the way in which we see/work with children and families with statutory intervention changing to virtual and telephone contact where possible.
  • PPE is in place where face to face visits are still required and COVID-19 symptoms are present.
  • A reduced capacity across the service means that the Early Help Offer is currently limited.
  • We are pushing information out through local networks and the local offer website for parents and practitioners.
  • Dynamic assessment and reprioritisation is being carried out daily.
  • Assessment and reprioritisation with partners is taking place twice – three times each week.
  • Significant concerns are being raised re: food distribution, costs to families of keeping children home (utility, rent and other bills), inability of poorer families to stay in touch as access to things like free Wi-Fi through communal settings is limited/non-existent.
  • We are attending to contextual risks for young people through reviewed risk assessment and multiagency safety plans – community safety measures are being reviewed (including risk of domestic violence and impact on children).

Bristol Business Sector and Economy

  • The City Office is working with the Economic Development Team, One City Economy Board and Business West to establish mechanisms for city partner organisations to strategically support the city’s economic recovery
  • A current priority for Bristol City Council is to cancel the payments due to be called by direct debit in April for businesses entitled to 100% relief. Discounts will apply as per following guidance: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/business-rates/budget-2020-new-rate-discounts
  • The council is looking to process small business grants (£25k) ASAP. We know that we have circa 5k business who could benefit from this based on those paying business rates. However only 400 have actively requested this so far. Where possible we want to make this available to all ASAP. All we require are business rate account number and bank details for payment by BACs. Please do highlight via your networks to ensure all businesses can benefit. As a council we will promote via our networks and social channels
  • Support can be found at WECA’s Growth Hub which has has set up key information and contacts here https://www.wearegrowth.co.uk
  • We are working with local networks and awaiting further guidance to address key sectors and areas such as the self-employed and help available beyond universal credit and income tax / VAT relief

Bristol Travel Sector

  • Effective from 30th March – First West of England will introduce an emergency timetable to apply on Monday to Saturday. This is a reduction in frequencies to all services, mostly to half hourly or hourly frequency. These frequencies could reduce further in the evenings.
  • We are awaiting schedules for full details and will summarise the picture when we receive them.
  • It is envisaged that an emergency timetable for Sundays / Public Holidays will be introduced for Sunday 5 April 2020.
  • The service changes planned for 5 April have been suspended, including the proposed introduction of service 2A.
  • Travelwest is the main source of information for bus service updates – Real Time Information screens are not predicting and are referring passengers to Travelwest for up to date information. Travelwest will be updated as service levels change.
  • Should we have stability of timetable we will review how best to utilise the RTI screens.
  • To be aware – an issue raised recently about handwashing facilities at Bristol bus station has now been resolved.
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The Forum’s first coronavirus success!


We have just read that Bristol City Councilb has responded to our calls for more support to those on Direct Payments.  In particular they have set up a dedicated response for Direct Payment users, to ensure they have enough support and can access Protective Personal Equipment (packs are being made available).

Bristol City Council tells us they have also raised this nationally for advice – something else we asked them to do.


It is good to know that the Council is responding positively when we lay out what our coronavirus-related needs are. 


Let us hope they continue to do so after the government suspends the Care Act!

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Looking after your Mental Wellbeing

Understandably, you may find that social distancing can be boring or frustrating.  You may find your mood and feelings are affected and you may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping and you might miss being outside with other people.

At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which in turn can make you feel worse.  There are simple things you can do that may help, to stay mentally and physically active during this time such as:

  • look for ideas of exercises you can do at home on the NHS website
  • spend time doing indoor things you enjoy – this might include reading, cooking, other indoor hobbies or listening to the radio or watching TV programmes
  • try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and try to avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs
  • keep your windows open to let in fresh air, get some natural sunlight if you can, or get outside into the garden

You can also go for a walk or exercise outdoors if you stay more than 2 metres from others.

Further information on looking after your mental health during this time is available.

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Corona and Kind offers of help

When times are hard it is always lovely to come across so many people offering to help out others. However, when you are a Disabled and older people who is ‘self-isolating’ or ‘socially distancing’ yourself, it makes sense to take one or two precautions.

So, here is a few we recommend:

If possible, only accept help from someone you know and know is trustworthy.

If this isn’t possible, when a stranger (including someone who says they are your neighbour) offers you help you should make sure you find out:

1. Their name
2. Which group they are volunteering with
3. Who runs the group
4. What their contact details are
5. What the group are doing, where they are doing it and why
6. What health and safety precautions they will take
7. What their policy is on keeping you safe
8. Who you can speak to:
– in an emergency
– if you have concerns about the volunteer you are in contact with or
– if you need help or advice.

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SEND Children and Young People Survey 2020

Following the Ofsted/CQC inspection findings of Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) services across Bristol, Bristol City Council are developing their Written Statement of Action SEND improvement plan.

They want to know what children and young people would like to see improved and what is working well to help them make the significant changes needed across the local area.

Your feedback is really important; please take a few minutes to complete this survey – https://bristol.citizenspace.com/…/send-cyp-survey-2020-sp…/

This survey will close on 27 March 2020

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COVID-19 Caronavirus – Prevent it from spreading!

Corona virus – Let’s stop it taking hold here!
The World Health Organisation is asking that everyone who possibly can does the following:
👏 Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly.
👥 Keep a safe distance from anybody coughing or sneezing (at least 1 metre / 3 feet).
🤦‍♀️ Minimise touching your face.
🗣 Sneeze and cough into your elbow or tissue.
🏠📞 If you have symptoms, stay at home and call for medical care early.

The World Health Organisation is asking that everyone who possibly can does the following:

👏 Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly.

👥 Keep a safe distance from anybody coughing or sneezing (at least 1 metre / 3 feet).

🤦‍♀️ Minimise touching your face.

🗣 Sneeze and cough into your elbow or tissue.

🏠📞 If you have symptoms, stay at home and call for medical care early.

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Have your say on your local green areas and parks in Bristol.

Future Parks of Bristol City Council want to encourage local people to explore how their Parks and Green Spaces benefit their community. What is already happening that can be built on? What opportunities do people see, and how can we as communities make those opportunities a reality?

They want to work alongside community organisations to generate a groundswell of conversations, inspiration and ideas around Parks and Green Spaces.

National Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund have invested significantly in Bristol Future Parks to pilot a programme to transform how we manage our parks into the future. Over the next two years the Bristol Future Parks team will work with a range of partners, investors and local communities to rethink how we fund, maintain and reimagine our parks. This will include finding social and environmental impact investment opportunities, exploring how parks can offset the cost of treating health related issues, building community enterprise capacity, and developing new operating models to generate revenue.

There are no pre-conceived ideas as to what the final solutions will involve. Come and have the conversation.

6.30 – 8.30pm, Tuesday, 10 March Knowle West Media Centre, Leinster Ave, Bristol BS4 1NL

1.00 – 3.00pm, Thursday, 2 April The Park Centre, Daventry Road, Knowle, Bristol BS4 1DQ

REGISTER NOW: bristolfutureparks-easton.eventbrite.co.uk

CONTACT: futureparks@bristol.gov.uk

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Accessibility in Retail – Dissertation

Are you between the age of 18-30? Could you lend your help to Lydia, a Fashion student studying the accessibility of the retail stores and how this affects those with a physical disability?


The idea is a review based app, which allows users to write and read reviews of retail stores, which specifically focus around the accessibility of the store, and everything that entails. This will mean that people can ensure that a store is accessible before arriving there preventing any embarrassment of potential bad experiences in the store. There will be compulsory features, such as whether the store has step free access or an accessible changing room.

This will provide users with an improved enjoyment of their shopping experience, aiming to reduce the difficulty faced when shopping with extra accessibility needs.

The app will have a feature in which people can sort reviews by the location of the store, specifying the city the store is in, or by the brand.

Alongside the review section, a forum feature will be added to the app which means that people can chat with others who face the same issues as themselves, and to discuss issues that they face. The idea of secret forums will mean that the user will not feel any judgement from other individuals, creating a safe environment.

The format of an app has been chosen to allow for the ease of using it in the go. The app will be intended to be used before the shopping trip, on the go to check if a store is accessible, and after the shopping trip to be able to rate the shopping experience in that store, and help others in this area.

A premium feature will be available, which will allow users to pay a small fee for additional features.

Could you please answer this survey – https://forms.gle/bRq8LAyFHyQuk7jM9

Or alternatively email us at bristoldef@gmail.com with your answers to the following (we will then email over the data collected):

What do you like?

What would you like to add?

How much would you be willing to pay for the premium version?

What would you like to see in the premium version?

How would you see yourself using this app?

Would you use the app? Why or why not?

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Have your say on making a Bristol walkway accessible

The forum have been asked to bring a panel of Disabled people together to advise on the design of a walkway.
Would you like to attend a meeting on 23rd March, to give your views on the accessibility of some ideas for improving a shared path? It’s a cycle path that’s shared with pedestrians, not a pavement shared with cyclists. I.E. it’s not a situation where we will discuss the route being for pedestrians only.
Your food and travel expenses will be paid for.
Please let us know if you are interested/available to attend.

The forum have been asked to bring a panel of Disabled people together to advise on the design of a walkway.

Would you like to attend a meeting on 23rd March, to give your views on the accessibility of some ideas for improving a shared path? It’s a cycle path that’s shared with pedestrians, not a pavement shared with cyclists. I.E. it’s not a situation where we will discuss the route being for pedestrians only.

Your food and travel expenses will be paid for.

Please let us know if you are interested/available to attend.

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Extra Care Housing and Homecare Survey

Bristol City council would like to hear your views on Extra Care Housing and Homecare. We would like to hear from those already receiving care and support, those who are interested in what services are available so they can plan for the future, as well as their friends and families. Your views will help shape how we plan for and arrange Homecare and Extra Care Housing services in the future. Please visit the following link to complete our survey https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/BristolHomecareECH/

Alternatively, to request an alternative format of the survey please contact Steve Wimhurst or Paul Housden of the Adult Commissioning Team. Tel: 0117 903 6189 or 01173576498 Email: adultcommissioning@bristol.gov.uk

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